One of the reasons the Rachel's Vineyard retreat is so effective is because people can become honest about their abortion for the very first time, knowing everything is very confidential. Generally, the more open and honest people can be on a retreat, with more full disclosure, the better the outcome.
The retreat is a redemptive community. We surround the post-abortive person with sacrificial love, non-judgmental listening, compassion, empathy, and, most importantly, the experiential aspects of Jesus' healing community. The more we can help them experience God's grace, not just tell them about it, the better.
The more we can help them experience God's grace, not just tell them about it, the better for them. Whenever we can correctly perceive the power of a Holy Spirit-filled new life that replaces estrangement with enthusiasm, this interior evangelism is sparked by the Holy Spirit through the intervention of the retreat.
On our retreats we anoint all door with oil, sprinkle the buildings perimeter with blessed salt. The retreat is soaked in prayer. Team members pray for the retreats success in healing souls. We contact monesteries for intercessory prayer, we also have a prayer partner for each retreatant. We prepare like soldiers going to war. There is also ample prayer time structured into the retreat.
Effective retreats rest on prayer and fasting as well as on faith, hope and love. Therefore, retreats can fail miserably by neglecting these duties. Some teams anoint all doors with blessed oil. Others walk the perimeter of the retreat center dusting it with blessed salt while engaging in spiritual warfare prayers. This is the faith behind your works.
One of the reasons the Rachel's vineyard retreat is so effective is because people can become honest about their abortion for the very first time and everything is very confidential. Generally the more open and honest people can be on a retreat, with more full disclosure, the better the outcome. If you apply yourself fully to the retreat, often God's kindness can be absolutely totally amazing.
Validation is different than agreement which is when we agree with the position. First and foremost, we represent the teachings of the Catholic Church. We never compromise those teachings, but we can validate that the mother is really feeling bad.
The retreat is a redemptive community, so you will experience sacrificial love, non-judgmental listening, compassion, empathy, nurturing support, all in the context of understanding and caring.
Retreatants are given a rock. The guidance about the rock is that it is an external representation of an interior burden. We give them insight that every day since their abortion they have been carring their post abortion burdens. This burden has become so much a part of them that they forget that they are carrying it. This burden actually stops them from having peace of mind. We instruct them that the rock can't be given up until the next day because there is a natural tendency to treat the rock like a hot potato. The team is instructed not to verbally prompt retreatants into giving up their rock. The rock is held until the retreatant discerns having received a healing grace. Then they give their rock up. Surrendering the rock, is surrendering the burden to God.
Co-ed group work is more difficult for men than for women. This is evidenced to me by what happens on breaks. Because of the highly emotional work during group sessions it appears men become overloaded and overwhelmed by talking about their grief in public, especially when women are sharing their pain. During breaks, the men scatter to their rooms or leave the building or just in some way separate themselves from the group, while most of the women are very social.