The Bishop's Bulletin

Rachel’s Vineyard retreats seek to help those troubled and in pain from a past abortion

Catholic Family Services staffers and other professionals and volunteers are working to prepare for the latest Rachel’s Vineyard retreat being offered in May.

The retreat is a weekend opportunity for any person who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion.

The next Rachel’s Vineyard retreat will be May 12-14.

Because of the subject matter and the people the retreat seeks to help, there is absolute confidentiality connected to the retreat. Participants are notified for the location once they sign up to attend.

“Abortion is not just a woman’s issue,” said Margi Culhane, RN, special programs director for Catholic Family Services. The program has proved to be helpful to a range of men and women including grandparents, moms and dads.“We know that it directly affects women in a number of ways.”

Culhane points out that Rachel’s Vineyard is not in any way aimed at judging others.

“We’re here to help you get through the grief, the sorrow, the sadness that you are feeling,” she said. “We hope to be the hands and feet of Christ for a weekend for those who attend.”

The Rachel’s Vineyard retreats were started in 1984 in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since then, they have expanded to 350 sites in almost all 50 states and 70 other countries around the globe.

In the Diocese of Sioux Falls, Catholic Family Services hosts Rachel’s Vineyard retreats twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall.
The retreat is led by a team of trained professionals including counselors, a priest, men and women who have experienced the pain of abortion as well as other loving, caring, non-judgmental individuals.

The retreat begins on Friday evening at 7 p.m. and concludes Sunday after lunch. The weekend includes spiritually based retreat exercises, is open to men and women of all faiths and includes the sacrament of reconciliation for those Catholics attending who wish to receive the sacrament.

There is cost involved but scholarships may be available. People interested in learning more about the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat or attending the next one in May should call Catholic Family Services at 605-988-3775 or 1-800-700-7867. Interested people can also e-mail to find out more.