There are about 40 different post abortion healing programs available to heal post abortion trauma. Most are Christian based. The Rachel Vineyard Model, created by Dr. Theresa Burke, is better than good, it’s the very best program. Here is why it’s the very best. The Rachel Vineyard Model is very Christian! It has high fidelity to the Holy Bible. It is unabashedly Christian, more accurately it is boldly Christian. It participates in the fullness of the Christian faith.
Still there are more reasons why it’s the very best healing program. The program and its retreats are soaked in prayer. Prior to the retreat some teams pray novenas, contact monastaries and convents for prayer, have Masses offered for the retreat. Some teams anoint all door with blessed oil and walk the peremeter of the retreat center dusting it with blessed salt while engaging in spiritual warefare. Abundant healing doesn’t take place because the team prays a lot, and most do pray a lot. The Glory of God is very strong upon this program because of God’s love, kindness, and healing mercy. To some lesser degree the teams ability to cooperate with God’s grace, but most importantly the experiential influences of Jesus’ healing community. Since God himself is behind the models success, fidelity to the model is imperative. With fidelity to the Rachel Vineyard Model, at retreats end, most retreatants will have been significantly purified from post abortion toxicity. Many who attend a Rachel Ministries retreat experience a deep sense of peace, for the first time since their abortion experience. This relief is a testimony of God’s Divine Mercy. They will have transformed more into Jesus’ Sacred Heart and Mary’s Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart.
The Rachel Vineyard Model is the very best healing program for post abortive hurting souls, especially for Catholics. The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is a redemptive community, so the post abortive person experiences sacrificial love, non-judgmental listening, compassion, empathy, nurturing support, all in the context of understanding and caring. The Mercy of God is part of Rachel Ministries testimony. The ministries charism is to help the post abortive experience God’s healing mercy. In addition, the Catholic Church teaches that a partial indulgence is attached to three day spiritual retreats. The Rachel Vineyard weekend retreat meets this criteria.
We make it safe and pleasant for the retreatants as they arrive. This is accomplished by greeting them in the parking lot to escort them to their rooms while carrying their bags. Be the best Christian servant ever. This is also a good practice because sometimes retreatants get scared and drive away.
Before the retreat proper, while eating dinner, significant healing can take place if the time is used wisely. At dinner the counselor usually asks, “Who lives the furthest from the retreat center?’ This isn’t small talk. It’s a therapeutic intervention to get the retreatants talking to each other. It’s usually a lot of fun for everyone. When dinner is rapping up, the counselor gets to the group room before the retreatants and welcomes each retreatant as they get a seat. When the retreatants are seated, the counselor’s next intervention is to ask, “Who was scared coming here today?” It’s very casual, but it primes the pump to get them talking about their anxiety.
At the official start of the retreat we establish therapeutic boundaries and limits. We ask them to limit their introduction to, “What is your name?’ What you do, for fun? Any hobbies?” Most importantly, we ask them what they are hoping to get from the retreat. We ask them to speak only a minute or two and not to tell about their abortion experience since they will be able to tell that story on Saturday. Our intention is not to trigger traumatic reenactment, which would be very scary to the other retreatants. We want Friday to be light and easy. These guidelines are put in place for the retreatants healing benefit.
Once all the retreatants have finished their introductions it’s the teams turn. During the team’s introductions the post abortive team members speak the abridged version of their personal testimony in order to promote retreatant confidence. Call it faith, placebo, or the power of suggestion, it helps instill hope. We also want to build trust. We accomplish this by imparting information about the group process since instilling a clear vision of the goals quells retreatant anxiety.
Explain to the retreatants that the retreat is about 25 hours long and if they were to go to individual counseling once a week it would take about 6 months to accomplish 25 hours of benefit as on this weekend.
After the first guided imagery exercise, let them know it’s common to daydream while doing the meditations. Let them know that when they notice themselves doing this, best practice is not to continue to indulge but intentionally redirect their attention back to the meditation. Do this as often as you drift off. Saturday’s visualization of meeting our children is wonderful for healing a hurting soul. The mother comes to realize with certainty that her child is not mad at her and that her child is in heaven. She experiences meeting her child for the first time. The parent knows they will meet in Heaven. They realize that they have so much time to spend with their child who loves them very much. If the retreatants daydreaming and dissociation were left unchecked they may miss out on experiencing the fullness of God’s healing. Implementing this procedure greatly helps with healing.
Instructing retreatants to change seats is a therapeutic intervention, not a party game. The counselor doesn’t usually implement this strategy on Friday because we intend to instill safety by not taking them out of their comfort zone. On Saturday we change their seats to purposely get them out of their comfort zone, to mix it up, and make them sit next to different retreatants. It’s a good thing.
Retreatants are given a rock. The guidance about the rock is that it is an external representation of an interior burden. They walk around with an abortion burden the size of a mountain and the trauma from abortion is not making mountains out of mole hills. This burden actually stops people who God has called into ministry from accomplishing their assigned ministry work. It’s explained that they carry post abortion burdens within themselves every day and forget that they are carrying them. 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 rock is held until the retreatant discerns having received a healing grace. Then they give their rock back. Surrendering the rock, is surrendering to God.