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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please note: you can come to Mass, and in fact you need to go to or watch Mass on EWTN or EWTN online or some legitimate Catholic source online, if you are in a state of mortal sin. You can also pray and need to pray. (See below, Divine Mercy Devotion.)
But you cannot receive Communion if you have had an abortion and have not gone to confession yet.
Please remain seated in the pews when people go up for Communion, and use this time for prayer.
The completion of an abortion procedure results in automatic excommunication until the sin is absolved in the sacrament of confession. Receiving Communion in this state will only compound grave sin upon grave sin.
You need the baptismal robe of your soul sacramentally washed in the Blood of Christ, Who took all sin upon Him, and this washing of your soul is done in the Sacrament of Confession.
After this I saw a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and tribes, and peoples, and [languages], standing before the throne [of God], and in sight of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands: And they [called out] with a loud voice, saying: "Salvation to our God, who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb."
And one of the ancients said to me: "These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? and [from where have they come]?" And I said to him: "My Lord, you know."
And he said to me: "These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
"Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple: and He, that sits on the throne, shall dwell over them.
"They shall no more hunger nor thirst, neither shall the sun fall on them, nor any heat.
"For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall rule them, and shall lead them to the fountains of the waters of life, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
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."
Some of those graces from prayer include the courage to go to Sacramental Confession with a Catholic Priest to have one's souls washed of sin by Jesus.
The woman in the first story received the healing of her soul in Confession – the mortal sin was fully gone, she was fully forgiven of her sin, she was reunited with God – but either refused to believe or didn't have full knowledge of God's Mercy in this Sacrament. Surely, it was a temptation to keep her in an addicted state and separated from God.
God gently guided her to knowledge of His Mercy, healing her because she kept depending on Him, kept coming to Him.
I recommend, in addition to Project Rachel and – of course, Confession, of which there is no substitute – is studying the Divine Mercy, detailed in the Diary of Saint Faustina (linked above).
Saint Maria Faustina, the mystic, relates in her diary this incident with a nun:
On the evening of the last day before my departure from Vilnius, an elderly sisterrevealed the condition of her soul to me. She said that she had already been
suffering interiorly for several years, that it seemed to her that all her confessions
had been bad, and that she had doubts as to whether the Lord Jesus had forgiven
her. I asked her if she had ever told her confessor about this. She answered that
she had spoken many times about this to her confessors and....”the
confessors are always telling me to be at peace, but still I suffer very much, and
nothing brings me relief, and it constantly seems to me that God has not forgiven
me.” In answered, “You should obey your confessor, Sister, and be fully at peace,
because this is certainly a temptation.”
But she entreated me with tears in her eyes to ask Jesus if He had forgiven her
and whether her confessions had been good or not. I answered forcefully, “Ask
Him yourself, Sister, if you don’t believe your confessors!” But she clutched my
hand and did not want to let me go until I gave her an answer, and she kept asking
me to pray for her and to let her know what Jesus would tell me about her. Crying
bitterly, she would not let me go and said to me, “I know that the Lord Jesus
speaks to you, Sister.” [Due to the fact] that she was clutching my hand and I could not wrench
myself away, I promised her I would pray for her. In the evening, during
Benediction, I heard these words in my soul: Tell her that her disbelief wounds
My heart more than the sins she committed. When I told her this, she began to
cry like a child, and great joy entered her soul.
At other times, Jesus complained to Faustina:
How painfully distrust of My goodness
wounds Me! Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully.
I wait for souls, and they are indifferent toward Me. I love them
tenderly and sincerely, and they distrust Me. I want to lavish My graces on them,
and they do not want to accept them. They treat Me as a dead object, whereas My Heart is full of love and mercy.
Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in
the Tribunal of Mercy [Sacramental Confession, also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation]. There the greatest miracles
take place [and] are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is
not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external
ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to
reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully
demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human
standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already
be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in
full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of
God’s mercy! [(God's Mercy is in Sacramental Confession.)] You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.
Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My
insides. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite My
inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me. Even My death is not enough for
them. Woe to the soul that abuses these [gifts].
My heart is even more wounded by their distrust after a fall [from grace].
...[W]hoever approaches the Fount of Life [the Sacrament of Confession] on this day [the Feast of Divine Mercy, the first weekend following the weekend of Easter] will
be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.
+Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.
+Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness.
Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.
My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.
Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are
crowned with mercy.
I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners.
Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me –
clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls.
The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamoring to
be spent; I want to keep pouring them out upon souls; souls just don’t want to
believe in My goodness.
The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls.
Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them! My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I
will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My
merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul
approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot
contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.
At that last hour [of life before the Judgement at death], a soul has nothing with which to defend
itself except My mercy. Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in
the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.
From all My wounds, like from streams, mercy flows for souls, but the
wound in My Heart is the fountain of unfathomable mercy. From this fountain
spring all graces for souls. The flames of compassion burn Me. I desire greatly to
pour them out upon souls. Speak to the whole world about My mercy.
After receiving God's Mercy in the confessional and through prayer, of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and consoling yourself in this great work, consider those who were in your previous condition, alone and without knowledge of God's Mercy, and consider Jesus' words, maybe link back here or to Project Rachel, or a site of Divine Mercy, or consider prayerfully something else you can do (even if all that is in your power to do is to pray that others discover God's Divine Mercy – prayer is sometimes our most powerful tool, especially if we feel we are incapable of speaking or are weak):
My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I
will make up for what you lack.