Rachel’s Vineyard is a global ministry that facilitates emotional and spiritual healing after an abortion through Scripture-based retreat weekends.
“The support team … is specifically trained for this ministry,” said Lori Becker, coordinator of diocesan outreach. “It’s a ministry of walking with and leading (participants) to forgiveness, helping them to accept that they deserve forgiveness, that they deserve to forgive themselves.”
The weekend is a very specific process designed to help participants experience the mercy and compassion of God. It is also an opportunity to surface and release repressed feelings of anger, shame, guilt and grief.
“It’s just an incredible blessing to watch someone make that transition and know that they will receive some healing,” Lori said.
Often, when a person or couple contacts Lori, they are afraid and apprehensive about the retreat, yet feel drawn to it. All her communications with a person participating in Rachel’s Vineyard are strictly confidential, and the entire retreat is private.
As the weekend retreat progresses, participants come to realize they are in a safe and sacred environment, surrounded by gentle and respectful support.
“Their barriers break down, and they do finally realize that God has forgiven them,” Lori said. “Sometimes it’s more difficult for them to forgive themselves than to accept God’s forgiveness, so we work on that as well. It’s a profound experience for them to be able to finally let it go and be free of that chain.”
In addition to Lori, who previously served as the Diocese’s respect life coordinator, a social worker, a priest and a couple who experienced an abortion serve as facilitators for the weekend. The retreat includes time for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, as well as Scriptural meditations, letter-writing, a memorial ceremony and other therapeutic practices.
“It’s vital to go through that grieving process, to let the feelings out, to let the stress out, to talk about it. Because if we keep all of those things inside and try to squash that pain, the more it’s going to hurt, and the longer it’s going to hurt,” Lori said.
As a sign of the prayerful support of the Catholic community, a knitting group from Holy Spirit Parish, Shields, donated handmade prayer shawls for Rachel’s Vineyard participants. These shawls are a reminder that those receiving them are covered in prayer.
If she could talk to a person considering a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, Lori said she would ask them to “take a step in faith.” Reaching out takes courage, she said, but once someone does, their life changes.
RACHEL’S VINEYARD POSTABORTION HEALING RETREAT
Friday, Nov. 18 – Sunday, Nov. 20
Confidential Location in Saginaw
$150 (Scholarships are available. No one is turned away.)
To register, call Lori Becker (confidential contact) at 989.797.6652 or email her.
For more information visit saginaw.org/healing-after-abortion-you-are-not-alone