“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
-Ida B Wells-Barnett
First Steps For Survivors To Take:
- File report to civil authorities (extremely important for the sake of accountability and justice)
- Share your experience with someone close to you that you trust, ensuring that you are not alone in your journey and the aftermath.
- Contact your local bishop’s office and inform them- ask for diocesan resources
- Ask if the diocese has a Victim Assistance Coordinator, and if not, ask if there is someone who is managing abuse situations
- Seek counseling- may want to consider asking if the diocese will cover the costs, and inquire about Catholic therapists or psychological services associated with the diocese.
- Consider finding a community of support/attending a retreat (see support tab)
Spirit Fire builds up the Church in confidence and renewed strength as she moves through the crucible of her own recovery.
The Healing Voices Magazine is an online publication by Catholic survivors of clergy abuse, for the benefit of survivors of abuse and trauma as well as their families, friends, and others who minister to them. With a mission to reconcile faith “with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual harm” inflicted by clergy.
Based out of Texas, and similar to a 12 step program, they offer support groups for survivors of abuse.
Catholic retreats for healing the wounds of abuse.
A Christian, non-denominational peer to peer support ministry that aids the long-term recovery of survivors of abuse through peer support sessions, programs, counseling, and public awareness events and videos.
Carrie Bucalo, a Catholic survivor of childhood sexual abuse, offers advice based on her personal journey of recovery, drawing heavily from the Carmelite tradition.
A non-denominational Christian outlet providing support, hope, and healing for victims of pastoral sexual abuse.
A non-profit organization specific to the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, whose mission is to help bear the burdens of victims, put an end to sexual abuse and misconduct by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Lansing, and advocate for justice through canonical and secular means.
A podcast about the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, looking at the history behind it, and figuring out where to go from here. Available on most mainstream podcast outlets.
- National Sexual Assault hotline info
- 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline number: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
*Inquire whether your diocese has a support group for survivors of clergy abuse and/or sexual abuse
*Some dioceses provide retreats for survivors of clergy abuse or sexual abuse in general, consider inquiring.
Offers a national directory of Catholic therapists, searchable by state. If the site does not list a therapist in your area, you can also use it to search for therapists who counsel by phone or video.
The branch of Catholic Charities in your area may be able to help you find a therapist. Visit this site to find the office of the nonprofit nearest you.
- “My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints” by Dawn Eden
A book on healing from a Catholic perspective. Eden shows how the lives of the saints have given her hope and aided her journey of spiritual healing after childhood sexual abuse.
- “Remembering God’s Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories” by Dawn Eden
A follow up to My Peace I Give You. Through her own story, as well as the examples of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Peter Faber and Pope Francis, she shows how the mercy of God, who holds all of our life in His memory can bring healing and inner peace.
- “Restoring Sanctuary” by T. Pitt Green.
A memoir from a survivor of clergy sexual abuse. A story of healing and forgiveness.
- “Hurting in the Church: A Way Forward for Wounded Catholics” by Father Thomas Berg
Along with his own story, Fr. Berg intertwines the stories of other Catholics who have themselves experienced life-changing hurts, but who, in Jesus found healing.
- “33 days to Merciful Love” by Fr. Michael Gaitley
Drawing on the spiritual guidance of St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Faustina, this book draws you into a deeper understanding of God’s unfathomable Mercy, and ends with a consecration to Divine Mercy.
- “Veronica’s Veil: A Spiritual Companionship for Survivors of Abuse”
Offering spiritual support to adults who wish to integrate their Christian faith into psychological recovery from child abuse by clergy and other persons in authority. This book can help transform encounters with survivors into turning points in healing. An essential guide for priests, sisters, deacons, other ordained and lay ministers, and therapists-as well as families and friends of abuse survivors. Features over 175 essays on topics that commonly arise in therapeutic work or other recovery settings.
- “Shattered Soul: Five Pathways to Healing the Spirit After Abuse and Trauma”
Reveals five pathways of healing for survivors of abuse and guides readers to wholeness, to experience life and faith anew. Included are inspiring stories of survivors who reflect on pathways of courage, holy anger, grief, forgiveness, and transformation.
We ask you to help us find healing and peace in our lives. Grant us hope in these times of trial. May Maria Goretti, who was strengthened by Your Grace, join with us in prayer for healing of all victims of abuse, particularly those abused as children or young adults.
Fill us with Your Love so that, as Maria prayed for her attacker, we too might have the courage to pray for the true conversion of our abusers, that they might seek Your Mercy through prayer and penance.
Loving God, pour into our hearts and lives Your healing Spirit, that the sacredness of every human person might be respected and protected as the precious image of God. Help us to live in the peace which Maria Goretti found in Christ and in the love of His mother, Mary.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
– Prayer courtesy of mgoretti.org, author unknown
Praying For Healing
God of endless love,
ever caring, ever strong, always present, always just: You gave your only Son
to save us by the blood of his cross.
Gentle Jesus, shepherd of peace, join to your own suffering
the pain of all who have been hurt in body, mind, and spirit
by those who betrayed the trust placed in them.
Holy Spirit, comforter of hearts, heal your peoples’ wounds
and transform our brokenness. Grant us courage and wisdom, humility and grace,
so that we may act with justice and find peace in you.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen
– author unknown
Prayer For Healing Within The Church
Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of your Church,
In your mercy come to the aid of your flock, burdened by the weight of sin and tribulation.
Heal the victims. Protect the innocent. Expose the guilty. Rebuke the demons.
Purify your Church of sin and scandal. Make her radiant in the Spirit of your holiness. Bring good out of this moment of shame. Guide Her and your shepherds in the ways of renewal.
Mary, our loving Mother, pray for us. Walk with us. Hold our hand through this valley of darkness.
Through all this, lead us closer to the Father through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
– author unknown
The Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from Christ’s side, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto thee
That I may praise thee with thy saints
and with thy angels
Forever and ever. Amen