Saturday, January 12, 2013

Catholic ministry expanding post abortion, reconciliation services

January 12, 2013. ( A woman's decision to have an abortion, by force or free will, can be mired in pain and guilt. It can also have consequences long after the ordeal is over.

While the Catholic Church is firm in its pro-life stance, it has also made inroads reaching out to women and men that have suffered through trauma as a result of an abortion.

Front and center in that mission is Vicki Thorn, an American laywoman and founder of the Project Rachel Ministry.

Founder, Project Rachel
“This is a piece that sort of flies under the wire if you will. It's not political, it's not designed to be political. The people who are involved are there to be absolutely safe for women and men to come to. No judgment, no condemnation, no anger, we're simply here to companion them to healing.”

The ministry began about 28 years ago in Milwaukee. But it has quickly spread across the United States and into nearly 160 Catholic dioceses.

The group provides special training to priests, and gives women and men affected by abortions one-on-one access to mental health professionals to help them heal mentally and spiritually.

The purpose for their work is highly rooted to  voids left behind during an abortion.

Founder, Project Rachel
“We would help to answer the special spiritual questions that are there. One of the questions are, is this an unforgivable sin? Even the woman who may be agnostic or atheist has a fear she offended something greater than she is in the universe.”

According to the Rachel Project, many women who undergo an abortion and suffer from it do not seek help until five to 12 years after the abortion.

In the meantime, they are susceptible not only to guilt, but also depression and anxiety, which can lead to greater problems.

All the reasons more why Thorn feels compelled to continue her work.

Founder, Project Rachel
“It's very critical in this time of the new evangelization because women who have had abortions, and men, are away from the Church. They're afraid to come home and this is an invitation to them.”

Despite being around for nearly three decades, their work still remains largely under the radar.

Part of the reason is that they mostly rely on referrals, given the sensitive and personal nature of the topic.

Thorn, however, is confident the work of healing and reconciliation will not only continue, but grow as it expands to even more American dioceses, and over 20 countries world wide.

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