Here is hope.
Post-traumatic suffering is the untold story of abortion. Although the very real and frighteningly devastating phenomenon of post-abortion syndrome has been reported by those who suffer, until very recently nearly all medical and psychological health care professionals, and the academic groups that represent them, have ignored the human suffering associated with the practice of abortion. There are literally millions of women and men who, alone and abandoned, suffer some of the most serious psychological and spiritual consequences of abortion. If you are one of these many, we are here to help.
Lumina: Lumina provides referrals for peer group support, post–abortion ministers & clergy, professional counselors. Serves men, women, and siblings who are affected by abortion. Contact Theresa Bonapartis for more information – (718) 881-8008 or (877) 586-4621
Sisters of Life Hope and Healing after Abortion: The Sisters of Life provide one-on-one accompaniment, day/weekend retreats, & morning gatherings for women. Toll free: 866.575.0075 or email [email protected].
Entering Canaan: A Sacramental Journey to an Inheritance of Mercy: a post-abortion ministry developed by the Sisters of Life and Theresa Bonopartis. In the Bible, the Israelites set out for Canaan seeking a new life of peace and joy. A fulfillment of God’s promise to them. The Entering Canaan Ministry reflects that journey to the Promised Land.
Part I: Day of Prayer and Healing
“I was deeply touched by the atmosphere of support and understanding.”
The journey begins with a Day of Prayer and Healing. It is a huge step out into faith for those who come and requires great courage. It is an answering to the invitation by God voiced in the Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation 2: “God of love and mercy, You are always ready to forgive. We are sinners, and you invite us to trust in your mercy.” He does not force us, He tells us His love and mercy are there for us and that he is “always ready to forgive”. He extends an invitation that we are free to accept or reject. Those who come to the Day have said “yes” to that invitation in the midst of any fear they are feeling. Most are filled with anxiety and for many this is the first time they will admit to anyone that they are post abortive. All retreatants are new and goal of the day is to instill hope where none existed. Hope of healing, hope of joy, hope of peace, hope of reconciliation and a new life.
Part II: The Gatherings
“I experienced God’s love and mercy in a very profound way. In my heart I knew I was forgiven before this weekend.”
The second part of the journey is The Gatherings. Here the spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects of post abortion healing are integrated as the participants meet each month to pray together and meet in-group for discussion. This group, held once monthly, consists of participants in all stages of the healing journey. Here issues such as shame, guilt, forgiveness, and anger are prayed upon before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with a scripture reading relating to the issue and direct questions to reflect upon. These questions are then discussed in-group. It is here that community is further built as the women and men aide one another in the journey, fight their personal battles, identify their personal abortion connectors, share their victories and the tools that they have learned with one another and what has worked for them along the way to healing.
Part III: Weekend Retreat
“This weekend meant much more than I thought it would. I didn’t think I really needed much healing… but as usual, the Lord knew.”
The Weekend Retreats are a culmination of the two prior phases of the journey. On these retreats, held twice a year, more intense work is done as they spend the weekend in silence with Our Lord who speaks to their hearts. A group discussion is held on Saturday night where they are invited to share their experience with one another. It is God’s desire that this mission is ongoing, an open invitation to continue as long as it takes, 40 days or 40 years. There is no timetable for their healing. Like those on the journey to Canaan, some may come consistently preserver until the end, some come for a while, take a break and return, and some give up the journey unable to surrender their lives to God. We however, remain constant giving them tools and relaying the unconditional love of our God who is there for us no matter where we are, even if we are unaware of His presence, always loving and supporting us in our journeys. May each of us reach the fulfillment of Canaan.
Nervous about whether a Day of Prayer and Healing with the Sisters of Life is right for you? Wondering what to expect? Check out testimonials of other women who attended and answers to frequently asked questions here.
“Go, pick up the pieces lest they be lost. (Jn. 6:12)”
With these words of Christ, John Cardinal O’Connor directed the Sisters of Life to a ministry of reverence for women and men who suffer following the tragedy of abortion. Those who suffer abortion are awaiting a word of invitation, especially from the Church’s consecrated religious and priests, to “Come home!” Through sacramental retreats, that very invitation has been extended since 1996. Hundreds of both women and men, suffering from the emotional, relational and spiritual wounds of abortion, have attended these Entering Canaan retreats. They, not we, proclaim that the healing that has eluded them — often for years or decades, is found only in Christ Jesus, through His Mystical Body on Earth and in the power of the Sacraments.
Theresa Bonopartis, a cherished friend and collaborator of the Sisters of Life, plays an essential role in God’s eternal design for this healing mission. She is a nationally recognized spokesperson for the women and men who suffer the effects of abortion. Her talents and heart for others find many outlets. Theresa is currently the Director of Lumina: Hope and Healing After Abortion in New York City. Additionally, she speaks, writes and networks with groups throughout the pro-life community. Theresa’s generous presence to those suffering, and her witness to the healing power of God’s grace make her an eloquent messenger of hope for spiritual healing following abortion. To contact Theresa, please call (877) 586-4621, or email [email protected].
From our earliest years it has been Theresa and the women and men who have come to the Sisters seeking spiritual healing who have taught us, as none others, the breathtaking truth of the wideness and beauty of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Project Rachel Ministry: It’s normal to grieve a pregnancy loss, including the loss of a child by abortion. It can form a hole in one’s heart, a hole so deep that sometimes it seems nothing can fill the emptiness. You are not alone.
Abortion: An Unacknowledged Grief: On this episode of Women of Grace, Theresa Bonopartis shares about the hidden grief of abortion and her own journey towards the healing mercy of God.
“Abortion is normal, they insist. Abortion is freedom.
But for countless women, abortion is anything but normal or freeing. Abortion has committed them to a life of misery, a life of fighting depression, guilt, shame, and grief…As I read [Shout Your Abortion], I stepped into another world, so contrary to the one I personally experienced with abortion, and to the experience of thousands of other women I have come to know and love in my past thirty years of working with those whose lives have been affected by abortion.”
– Theresa Bonopartis
For the full blog post click here.
How to Speak to Post-Abortive Men & Women
Here are some suggestions about how to speak to someone who has had an abortion:
What to Say
- Ask how she is
- Show care and concern
- Say you are sorry she felt she had to do this
- Allow her to talk
- Allow her to express anger regret and remorse
- Watch her for isolation
- Allow her to grieve
- Keep her confidentiality
- Be there for her
What NOT to Say
- “Forget about it; it is in the past, move on”
- “You did what was best at the time” (she knows this is not true)
- “Abortion is wrong” (she knows this too)
- “You can have other children” (this does not make up for baby she aborted)
- “It was not a baby yet”
- Don’t tell he how she should feel
- Don’t try to find a positive
- “It was your decision”
- “You should be over this by now”
- Don’t say you understand if you don’t
- Don’t tell her she was not ready to have a child
- “It is for the best”
- “You will get over this”
- “At least you only had one” (how do you know?)