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What is Rachel's Vineyard?
Rachel's Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites in Portugal, Australia and New Zealand, Ireland and England. We also offer a 13-week support group model for Rachel's Vineyard. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life
The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.
Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel's Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there.
History of Rachel's Vineyard
Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph. D., started one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-aborted women in 1986 after founding The Center for Post Abortion Healing.
In 1994, Rachel's Vineyard: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Post Abortion Healing was first published. It was a unique support group model for counselors, offering a very concrete, emotional experience for women who were grieving the loss of their aborted children. In 1995, Theresa adapted and expanded the curriculum into a format for weekend retreats. Soon individuals seeking healing began to travel from other states to experience this very effective healing process.
Without a budget, office or advertising, Rachel's Vineyard became a grassroots national outreach. By word of mouth only, the retreats began to spread across the country because of the retreat's dramatic effectiveness, from 18 retreats in 1999 and growing to 35 retreats in 2000. In 2003, Rachel’s Vineyard became a ministry of Priests for Life and its board was structured accordingly.
Currently, Rachel's Vineyard has grown to 600 retreats annually, held in 47 states and 17countries, with many new sites in development.
Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., has lectured and trained professionals nationally on the subject of Post Abortion Healing. Rachel's Vineyard Ministries offers an annual Leadership Training Conference specifically designed for those who currently use the Rachel's Vineyard program. She also trains retreat teams in the method and process.
The Rachel's Vineyard healing models are used by mental health professionals, post abortion ministries, crisis pregnancy centers, pastoral care and faith based outreach programs.
What does the name Rachel's Vineyard mean?
The name "Rachel" refers to an old testament figure who was written about in the book of Jeremiah. The exact biblical quote is this:
Why a vineyard?
There are many images and symbolisms attached to a vineyard. It is a place where grapes are grown, tended to, lifted up and cleansed so they can bear a more bountiful harvest. A vineyard is a place of labor for the making of sweet wine. Perhaps the most significant association with vine comes from Chapter 15 of the Gospel of John:
Rachel's Vineyard takes this scripture to heart; and because of that it is a spiritual process as well as a psychological process. In trying to understand the mystery of death, we look to God in times of personal distress, trauma, and the loss of human life.
There is a saying which came out of Alcoholics Anonymous: "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell; but spirituality is for people who have been there." The unhealed trauma of an abortion experience can create a living hell for those who suffer. The quest for true healing therefore, frequently becomes a spiritual journey.
Death transfuses our veins with blood-throbbing heartache, anguish and intense yearning for someone who cannot be retrieved. We weep. We recall regrets, our role in what has happened and the child we will miss. It is these painful moments of loss that we search for meaning--some greater power beyond ourselves and the reality of something more perfect than our infinitely frail humanity. At funerals and memorials we seek to place our loved ones within the sovereign embrace of the Creator. We see the images in many biblical passages where God speaks of restoring the barren vineyards to their fullness. The following scripture reflects the same journey you will travel in Rachel's Vineyard: