Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spiritual Healing After Abortion – Stories from Project Rachel (HopeAfterAbortion.com)

Website is Hope After Abortion, known as Project Rachel: spiritual support for those suffering from the aftermath of an abortion.
Here are some stories, taken from [this page], including:
A woman who was pregnant at 13,
a rape victim and subsequent alcoholic,
a woman who felt inhuman,
a 40 year old who had had an abortion in her 20s.
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I was thirteen the first time I was pregnant. I was scared and didn’t know what to do. HopeAfterAbortion saved my life. I don’t know what I would have done without it.
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In June of 1987, I saw the last thing I ever expected to see — a positive result on a home pregnancy test. I had just turned 18 years old.
I had been raped four weeks before by an acquaintance at my prom. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened to me, and I told no one that I was pregnant. I simply dealt with it on my own. I stood up, went to the phone book, opened it up, and called the first abortion clinic I could find. I didn’t stop to think, to pray, to question. I didn’t consider any other option — I didn’t think I had another choice.
I went to the clinic a couple of weeks later for an abortion. I remember the feeling of complete isolation and utter terror as I sat in that waiting room. I was surrounded by other people, but completely alone.
I promptly put away all of my feelings and thoughts about what had happened to me — the rape, the abortion, the baby. I graduated from college, worked through my twenties, got married, got pregnant with my first child. My pregnancy was joyful but also tinged with fear. I didn’t deserve to have a baby. I had killed my baby — God would take this baby away from me as a punishment.
I went on to have three children. I rocked them to sleep, kissed away boo-boos, pushed them on the swings and caught them on the slide, took them to swimming lessons, soccer, and school. Along the way, I always felt like someone was missing. I thought that loss I felt was that first child. I didn’t realize that loss I felt was God. There was a hole in my soul that could only be filled with God, and I felt separated from Him.
During my thirties, as I was outwardly being a wife and mother, I was also descending further and further into depression, anxiety, and ultimately active alcoholism.
I struggled with alcoholism for almost a decade, looking for help from medical treatment and fellowship with other alcoholics. Nothing was touching it — nothing was helping me put down the bottle and take control of my life. I sought mental health treatment for the trauma I experienced around the rape and the abortion, but I was still suffering, and I was still drinking. It constantly weighed on my mind that I was in a state of mortal sin — I had killed my baby. I needed to go to confession, and so I finally did. Even though my priest granted me absolution, somehow I didn’t feel forgiven. I continued to drink.
I had heard about Project Rachel somewhere, I don’t remember where exactly. Should I call them? I had already been to confession for my sin, how can this be something different? I just hoped and somehow felt that it was.
I finally summoned the courage to contact Project Rachel. I got a call back from a beautiful woman, who simply and lovingly talked to me as if I were worthy of her time, and her help. What a gift!
I attended a one-day retreat in May of 2009. I was a mess, sick with fear and anger. I even took a few drinks that day to get myself to the retreat. Sitting in a room with other women who were in as much pain as I was, hearing their stories, sharing my own out loud, was an indescribable relief. I didn’t know I could say, out loud, that I had had an abortion and have those words be met with acceptance and understanding.
I thought I was sitting in a room with other women. I really was sitting in a room with God, loving me and welcoming me home. His presence was manifest in the physical presence of the others in the room. It was a full circle from the day in 1987 when I sat in an abortion clinic, completely alone.
I didn’t know it then, but that day at the Project Rachel retreat was the beginning of my journey back from the depths of alcoholism. Slowly, with work on my part, and help from others who suffer from the same spiritual malady, I found myself on the path to sobriety and in a relationship with God. I have found peace and forgiveness and mental wellness.
I know that my child is with God. I know that my living children and my husband and I are also with God. We are all together today, in God’s hands. I hold that child and my children in my heart every day, and I am grateful for Project Rachel for bringing me to this place of peace.
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I want you to know I went to Confession tonight. I was terrified. Needlessly.
The priest who heard my confession was not disgusted by me, or angry with me. He never stopped smiling at me even as I revealed my ugliest sins. He was gentle, kind, and loving. Of course, this made me cry. Hard.
He was patient.
He absolved me of my sins. Told me I was worthy of all God’s kingdom.
So not what I expected.
This website planted a seed of hope in my heart that I could really be forgiven. God took it from there.
Thank you so much for being there in a way that didn’t make me feel dirty or contemptible. For making me feel human again.
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I am a single 40-something woman who chose to have an abortion at the age of 27. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. … I went through it alone, never telling anyone at all. It was many years later, after I had got more active in my Catholic faith, that I began having some memories or little flashbacks about the abortion. 
I really didn’t think I would ever forgive myself and I just knew God would not either. 
I was full of guilt, shame, and all the things that are mentioned here on this site [HopeAfterAbortion]. 
I had a lot of anger at myself, the man involved, and many others as well. 
I had finally had enough when every time I was at Mass and the word abortion came up in any way, my heart just ached worse each time. 
I saw Project Rachel listed in our church bulletin many times, but just couldn’t call them for some reason. I guess it was that I thought they would judge me in some way if I did. 
Something made me schedule an appointment with our seminarian at church, and we met, but for what seemed like forever, no words were spoken, at least by me. 
Then somehow and without any eye contact at all, and many tears, I finally told someone my story. 
I was very nervous and anxious and constantly worrying about what he must be thinking about me the whole time. 
His words could not have been any nicer or more supportive. 
It was this man who gave me the information for Project Rachel, and when I finally made that phone call, I talked to the woman on the other end for over an hour, telling her things that I hadn’t thought of in several years. There were many tears as well. 
She gave me names of priests involved in the program. 
… To shorten this story, I met with the priest, and later another newer priest at my own parish (who was also just ordained the year before) and once again after at least 10 minutes of silence, I poured out my heart again, tears flowing freely, and still felt totally supported by these people. 
I went to a weekend retreat in Virginia, and the people I met, from both those of us on the retreat and the leaders, could not have been more wonderful. 
The priest at my own parish, had it not been for scheduling of events, would have been there himself to support me. All of this will never be forgotten by me as long as I am alive. 
I still struggle with things, but have received much support from my church. 
Please know that you are not alone, even though at the time you don’t really feel that way at all.
Hope AfterAbortion

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On Divine Mercy: There is no sin that is too great for God to forgive: "I desire trust from My creatures. Encourage souls to place great trust in My fathomless mercy. Let the weak, sinful soul have no fear to approach Me, for even if it had more sins than there are grains of sand in the world, all would be drowned in the unmeasurable depths of My mercy." 

"Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet."

"No soul will be justified until it turns with confidence to My mercy; and this is why the first Sunday after Easter is to be the Feast of Mercy. [...] On this day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My Mercy [confession]. Whoever approached the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.”

"Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy. My daughter, write about My mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My mercy delight Me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice."

"I lived for you, I died for you, and I created the heavens for you. [...] Everything that exists is enclosed in the bowels of My mercy, more deeply than an infant in its mother’s womb. How painfully distrust of My goodness wounds Me! Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully. […] This distrust of My goodness hurts Me very much. If My death has not convinced you of My love, what will?" – from Devotion to Divine Mercy [ read more here ]

Part of the Divine Mercy devotion is also the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, of which Jesus promised: "Say unceasingly the chaplet that I have taught you. Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy. I desire that the whole world know My infinite mercy. I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy."