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My abortion healing

I was a divorced woman with a child, far away from the Catholic Church I was schooled in. He was a married man with a young baby.

One lonely night Joe and I met in a bar, and several months later into the relationship, I became pregnant. We both agreed abortion would be the easiest way to take care of “our problem.” We would just make it go away.
The day of the abortion, he dropped me off. I felt no emotion; neither did he, or if he did, we never spoke of it together.
A few months later, I got pregnant again. This time it was different. Somewhere in our closed, cold hearts, a tinge of conscience burst through, and we realized we could not abort another child.
Joe divorced his wife, and we got married. Our family consisted of his child, my child and our child, which we considered burdens to our social life. Alcohol, drugs and rock and roll were our gods, and our life filled with psychological, mental and physical abuse of each other.
The child we aborted was never discussed. Only in drunken fits of rage and anger would I blame him for allowing me to abort our child. Somehow we remained together in that very tumultuous relationship for 30 years.
One day God called us to come back home to the Catholic Church. I made an appointment with the parish priest and asked him to explain to me just how one comes back to the Catholic Church.
We spoke for quite awhile, and as I got up to leave, I casually mentioned that I had an abortion years before, which had long been confessed and forgotten. He then suggested I come back to him for another meeting and to consider going on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat with my husband, as he handed me their brochure.
Well, 30 years of psychiatric therapy, psychologists, marriage counselors and 12-Step programs couldn’t heal the wounds that were healed at Rachel’s Vineyard in one weekend. Joe and I fell in love with each other all over again, but this time in a new way. It was as if both of us had been resurrected from the dead.
Our gratitude for the team of Rachel’s Vineyard is best expressed in a poem written for a testimony Joe and I once shared for those loving, caring and nurturing people who pulled us out of the culture of death and back to the land of the living and into the arms of a merciful loving God. I would like to share that with you now.

Angels of the Vineyard
When we meet the team ... those angels of the vineyard again one day
What can we possibly tell them?
What on earth can we say?
How do we thank them for their gifts of fasting ... for prayers, for sufferings, for works and pain
For gifts that were everlasting?
They had met us at the door that day, with love-filled, open hearts
To heal the wound inside
That once kept us apart
To heal the pain that was once so deep
To dry our eyes from the tears we’d weep
For the loss of the child we did not keep
But their love healed our pain
It gave us new life again
And now with a reason to live
We both have something to give
So together my husband and I will travel
Whenever He may call
To carry the love the angels gave us
To carry that love to all

May God bless you all for your support, participation and prayers in the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry.
Love to you all,
Terry and Joe

The next Rachel’s Vineyard retreat will be Oct. 31-Nov. 2, at the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center in Metairie. Priest facilitator: Father Joseph Palermo. Cost is $170 a person, but financial assistance is available. 460-9360, (985) 809-0773.

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