abortion regret, rachel's vineyard people image






Rachel's Vineyard Retreats for 2024 in Cork:

• February 9th to 11th

• April 12th to 14th

• July 19th to 21st

• August 23rd to 25th

If you plan to participate in our retreats, you need to book your place asap as places fill up very quickly.

If you would like to find out more about Rachel’s Vineyard or about the Healing Weekends, please call Bernadette:

087 859 2877

Email: bergoulding1@gmail.com

"Rachel's Vineyard Ireland reaches out to women and men have been wounded by abortion. The more we reach out, the more we see a need that must be met. We need your help. Please consider a donation to Rachel's Vineyard Ireland to help us to bring Christ's message of healing to those who have been wounded by abortion".

There is Hope, there is Healing.

Rachel's Vineyard Retreats provide an opportunity to obtain healing for anyone who has struggled with the emotional or spiritual pain of abortion. Our purpose is to allow the participating women and men an opportunity to explore the ways that abortion has impacted on their lives, to deal with the grief associated with their losses, to give them reconciliation and peace and thus to reclaim the life-giving and loving aspects of their dignity and faith.

Rachel's Vineyard can help you find your inner voice. It can help you experience God's love and compassion on a profound level. It creates a place where men and women can share, often for the first time, their deepest feelings about abortion. You are allowed to dismantle troubling secrets in an environment of emotional and spiritual safety.

Rachel's Vineyard is therapy for the soul. Participants, who have been trapped in anger toward themselves or others, experience forgiveness. Peace is found. Lives are restored. A sense of hope and meaning for the future is finally rediscovered. Most of us at Rachels Vineyard are persons who have walked down the same path as you and have experienced the Healing power through a Rachel's Vineyard Healing Weekend. Rachel's Vineyard has a number of powerful rituals that will help you connect with and release your grief and sorrow. The retreat helps you deal with repressed grief, guilt, anger, feelings of abandonment, pressure, and ambivalent attachment to your abortion.

Bouts of crying, Depression
Guilt, Suicidal urges
Inability to forgive yourself
Intense grief / sadness
Anger / rage, Emotional numbness
Sexual problems or promiscuity
Eating disorders
Lowered self esteem
Drug and alcohol abuse
Nightmares and sleep disturbances
Difficulty with relationships
Anxiety and panic attacks
Flashbacks, Multiple abortions
Pattern of repeat crisis pregnancy
Discomfort around babies
or pregnant women
Fear / ambivalence of pregnancy

Retreat Weekends

These week-ends offer a supportive, confidential, and emotionally safe environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortion emotions and begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.

Married couples, mothers, fathers, grand-parents, and anyone affected by abortion have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing.

The weekend is a lot of work, but those who are willing to journey through their grief, will experience the power of resurrection in their own lives. They will find meaning in what has happened, and allow God to transform the experience into something that gives hope, liberation and peace.

Rachel's Vineyard retreats are held at private locations.

087 859 2877

Weekend Retreat Testimonials

Rachel's Vineyard is meant to help those who are trying to fit the very normal epiphany of grief into a world that would rather have them feel numb and blind, so as to maintain a safe distance from the truth.

Mourning and grieving are necessary milestones which must be passed so that our lives can continue. When this process is complete there is re-birth and resurrection. There is new life within our spirit which gives us hope in the future. There is an opportunity to explore our lives, and appreciate our human fragility. Through a very personal and intimate encounter with the Living God, we come to know that God knows and loves us despite our many weaknesses and human failures.

healing retreat image of Eimear Eimear Doe

"Words could never be enough to explain the gratitude that I feel for having the opportunity to attend a Rachel's Vineyard weekend. For the first time in years, It feels good to be ME. I have a huge sense of peace and happiness with myself and also with Jesus. I met such lovely people who had the same experience as me, and who did not judge me. When I went back to work people told me that I looked different. I looked so at peace with myself. Rachel's Vineyard has saved my life".

healing retreat image of Jane Patrick Doe

"I found out that my daughter had an abortion. I was devastated, and felt so guilty. Why didn't my daughter come to me when she was pregnant.? What had I done to prevent her from trusting me with her secret.? I watched her change before my eyes. She was not the same. I tortured myself with guilt. When I heard of Rachel's Vineyard I just had to give it a try. I was amazed at the kindness and compassion that I experienced on that weekend. I was allowed to share my pain and grieve the loss of my grandchild".

healing retreat image of Mike Jane Doe

"I took my daughter to England for an abortion. I thought that I was saving her from a life of misery. How wrong I was. My daughter has never been the same since. She began to drink heavily and take drugs. Her life is in a mess. When I heard of Rachel's Vineyard I knew that I had to come. I was allowed to share my pain in an emotionally safe environment. I was allowed to grieve the loss of my grandchild, and express the shame, the guilt and despair which have been such a heavy burden to carry. I now feel so much peace in my heart. I know that God has forgiven me. I have a new hope in my heart".

healing retreat image of Dan Mary Doe

"Rachel's Vineyard has helped me to move on with hope. When I met other women who had abortions and had suffered just the same as I had, I didn't feel so alone anymore. The healing I experienced on the weekend was amazing and is still ongoing.

"These week-ends are truly amazing, and women who have felt isolated, ashamed and alone and filled with regret finally get a voice, and are allowed to tell their story in a safe accepting atmosphere and begin the process of healing. This all occurs in a non judgemental atmosphere, where they experience total acceptance,and are truly treated as princesses. They come from all denominations and none where they can safely talk, share, cry, and laugh together. The tears of the catholic, the former catholic, the protestant, the agnostic and the atheist are indistinguishable" (These beautiful words are from one of the wonderful priests who assist at these weekends).

Life Stories

rachel weeping image

Hope for the future, it is never too late.

Almost 30 years ago I found myself pregnant and scared. I couldn’t confide in family or friends. I was raised a Catholic and my mother always told us not to come home pregnant and bring shame to the family. What other people thought was more important; image was everything.

I was living in Dublin and knew in my heart and soul that my family would never forgive me for bringing this disgrace upon them so I chose what I thought was the easiest way out. I had an abortion. My now husband of 28 years was the father, but he had no say in the decision I made. I knew that I could never have this child adopted after carrying it for 9 months; not knowing who would be chosen to be its parents. Whether the child would be happy and well looked after. I couldn’t take that chance and live with it. I thought I could live with this secret instead. How wrong I was.

Alone, I made all the necessary arrangements and traveled to England with my partner. It was so lonely and I was so scared. I had no idea what was ahead of me or what devastating effect the decision would have on my future. From that day forward we never ever spoke of what had taken place.

Afterwards I buried the whole episode in the depth of my sub-conscious and every now and then it would surface to haunt me. No one knows the shame and guilt I felt especially during the Abortion Referendum. Nowhere was safe. Everywhere I went people were talking about it. We eventually got married and some time later I gave birth to a beautiful son. He was perfect and I loved him more than life itself. He was my whole life. Unfortunately that didn’t last very long he was taken from me in a freak accident and I was left alone to punish myself yet again. I believed that God was chastising me for the bad decision I made years earlier.

I fell into a deep depression and from that time onwards I believed that everything bad that happened to me in my life I deserved. My relationship with my mother began to deteriorate because deep down I blamed her for my decision years earlier. If only she was the type of mother whom I could depend on and turn to.What’s surprising is that our marriage survived and I was blessed with more children whom I adore and have a brilliant relationship with. I always believed that God understood and forgave me for what I did. But I could never forgive myself.

A couple of months ago I attended a Mission and got talking to this wonderful Priest. I told him about my abortion and for the first time in my life a man of the cloth had compassion for me. He told me to contact a wonderful organization called Rachel’s Vineyard.

Recently I spent a weekend with my husband at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, and for the first time in almost 30 years I can feel peace and hope in my life. Everyone there was in some way a victim of circumstance. The weekend is also for family members and friends of those who have suffered abortions. The room was consumed with so much pain and suffering only a person who had an abortion would understand. I was so overwhelmed when I arrived on the Friday that I almost fainted. My heart was so heavy with guilt: I couldn’t stop crying. I spoke about my terrible secret after all these years and no one judged me or made me feel tainted. I believe I was blessed the day I set foot in Rachel’s Vineyard. The whole experience of the weekend has changed my life and made my relationship with my husband even stronger. I never knew the guilt and shame he felt all these years until he gave his version of the story. My reason for writing this personal experience is to try and help others who have had abortions and think there is no one out there who understands. Rachel’s Vineyard offers hope, inner peace and above all, healing.

Life Stories

birds escaping cage
How do you mend countless Broken Hearts?
One Heart at a Time

Coming to a Rachel's Vineyard retreat has been a turning point in my life. For many years I suffered, not knowing what to do or where to turn. This feeling became so much worse after giving birth to my two little boys. I felt I was such a bad person for aborting my two babies. I felt worthless, my self hatred grew more and more and my life had no joy or peace.

I read an article about Rachel's Vineyard and felt compelled to attend a weekend retreat, although it took me many months to make that phone call to Bernadette. I thought that she was going to hate me because I had two abortions. When I told her on the phone she didn't sound surprised at all and was very kind and encouraging.

By the end of the weekend I didn't want to leave, although it had been an emotional rollercoaster, I felt safe there. Sharing our stories with these other hurt women was a difficult but amazing experience. Facing our lives with such honesty and knowing that we were not alone. There were lots of tears and plenty of laughter and I made some very good friends.

The best part for me was finally acknowledging my children, naming them and finally being able to symbolically lay them to rest at the beautiful memorial service. For anyone who is suffering from a past abortion, no matter what your story is, how many abortions, or why, you will find a very supportive, compassionate and encouraging place at Rachel's Vineyard, to begin to heal your broken heart, but most importantly , you will not be judged.

My life is so much better now, I have forgiven myself and I have so much Hope.

Life Stories

birds escaping cage
Rachel's Vineyard helped me to move on from regret, despair and grief, to Hope and Healing

I had an abortion 20 years ago, and despite having gone for help both professionally and spiritually, it was something that ate into the core of my being on a daily basis. It simply did not go away.

I found Rachel’s Vineyard during a period of despair through a girlfriend who had trod a similar path. The retreat provided an understanding and healing that has been transforming to my heart and daily living. In real terms it has brought me back to an alignment of my true nature thereby anchoring more clearly in the job of rearing my surviving child as a lone parent. The grief of loss and shame, of silent mourning, was honoured through ritual and word in an environment of extraordinary service and compassion. I cannot recommend it enough to any man or woman experiencing pain or undermine from an abortion experience of their own or another person.

To all who served me with such grace dignity and quiet knowing, I can only offer my immense gratitude that you were there and remain there for all suffering in the silence of their hearts Rachel’s Vineyard saved my life.

If you would like to find out more about Rachel’s Vineyard or about the Healing Weekends, please call Bernadette:

087 859 2877

Email: bergoulding1@gmail.com

Life Stories

birds escaping cage
No more tears to cry

My name is Nadia, I had an abortion many years ago, and since then, there have been times of unspeakable pain and loss. I have had a lot of healing and prayer and have had Mass’s offered over the years, and really believed that there were no more tears to cry. Three years ago I was returning from Ireland with a friend who began to speak of Rachel’s Vineyard, and how she had participated in a retreat. Immediately I was interested and knew that I also wanted to participate. The opportunity arose when I heard that a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat was going to be held at Pantasaph in North Wales.

This retreat was beyond anything I could have imagined. Jesus Himself was present and the mercy of God flowed over us. It was as though Jesus opened a door for me and took me to that place that I dared not enter alone. From the beginning, Scripture was used and the Word of God, which is so powerful, brought into the light everything that had influenced my decision, and completely healed many dark and painful memories that I had carried for years.

Rachel’s Vineyard was for me, like entering a very beautiful garden of graces, with healing streams, and fountains of living water. There was no judgment, no condemnation, just love and acceptance. We each had an opportunity to tell our story, and there was a very special time when we named our children, prayed for them and lit a candle for them---the candles burning all together is a moment that I will never forget. The retreat ended with a memorial service that was so beautiful and anointed, it could only have been from heaven, and finally with Holy Mass. Our leader was a most caring, sensitive, and compassionate lady, who understood from her own experience, and led the retreat in such a way that each person was able to be open to all the graces that God had for them.

My journey is not yet over, but I am left in awe of the boundless mercy and love that God has for me.

Life Stories

birds escaping cage
The terrible Lie, that they call abortion

I want to thank the team at Rachel's Vineyard for all the help and support they gave me at the retreat, regarding the terrible pain and suffering that I went through as a result of an abortion. Without them I do not think that I could have moved on with my life.

The shame and guilt that was building up inside of me was terrible, every day was a struggle, trying to live with what I had done. I was constantly beating myself up over what I had done. I felt so alone, couldn't, wouldn't talk to anyone about how awful I felt. I thank our Lord for Rachel's Vineyard and for Bernadette and her team. Without them I would still be in a very big black dark hole.

I heard about Rachel's Vineyard from a spiritual director. Initially I was very frightened at the prospect of attending a retreat, and kept saying to myself, I wont go, I will just have to live with what I have done. Then I took the bull by the horns and eventually went. It was a turning point in my life.

The retreat lasted a weekend. I was met at the door by such warm and welcoming people. I was welcomed with open and compassionate arms. I didn't feel like a leper, and as the weekend progressed I realized that I was being healed. I finally had my pain, my feelings, legitimized. I have been able to openly and publicly acknowledge my child's very real and precious existence. I have been able to welcome my child as part of my family, and have finally been given permission to own my baby to acknowledge him as a real person, and to grieve his loss.

Abortion is a Lie. With abortion, one Heart is stopped and another Heart is broken.

ABOUT US: A history



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 counsellors, 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 over 1000 retreats annually, held in 48 states and 57 countries, 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.

In 2003, Bernadette Goulding founded the Irish chapter of Rachel's Vineyard.

Abortion and Men

For men also, there is hope and healing

Share your experience with those who will listen and understand. Learning how to forgive others that were involved can be very hard. Recognise that they may have been misled or misinformed. Accept your role in the decision, whatever it was, and learn how to forgive yourself. Finally, acknowledge your child as member of your family. Giving your child a name and creating a memorial in his or her honour can help you find closure and bring peace and restoration to your life. From the moment your child was conceived, you created new life. Even though your child was never born, you will always be a father.

Have you experienced any of these feelings? Anger, Helplessness, confusion, anxiety, depression, guilt, alcohol / drug abuse, suicidal thoughts, impotence, insomnia. Do you feel alone? Perhaps you feel that no one understands what you are going through. You are not alone. We care. We can help you.

For many men abortion is a traumatic experience of loss, and the thought of speaking out can be very intimidating. ● Perhaps you feel that you have no right to grieve. ● Perhaps you had not supported the mother of your aborted child, in fact you had encouraged her to abort. ● Maybe you had no choice in the decision. ● Perhaps the abortion was in your past, a secret kept hidden for years, not even shared with your wife. There is hope, there is healing. At a Rachel's Vineyard retreat you will meet other men who have who have been through the same experience.

Men's Retreat Experience

Seamus Seamus Doe

"The sense of relief that I felt" after participating in the Rachel's Vineyard retreat was beyond description. It was obviously noticable, as a few of my friends said that I looked so much happier and lighter. During that memorable weekend I was allowed to grieve for my children. I now know that God has forgiven me, and that my children are with him".

Finbar Finbar Doe

"As the weekend progressed I was able to share my story without fear of being judged. I had paid to have my child aborted. The layers of grief, guilt and shame just melted away, and I thought I would never stop crying. I now feel so much peace, and know that God has forgiven me, and that my child has also forgiven me. Rachel's Vineyard has given me a new hope, a new beginning".

Peadar Peadar Doe

"One decision, one single moment, can have such a detrimental impact on so many people, living and dead, born and yet to be conceived." Abortion doesn't just hurt women and children, as these men can attest to. Abortion hurts men, it hurts families, it hurts communities. And as my soon to be 2-year-old daughter, Olivia, gives testament to, abortion ends the lives of not just those that are already conceived, but those that would never then be conceived in the future".

Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion

It's Time to Listen and Help

book on abortion regret

Through individual counseling and group therapy sessions, Dr. Burke has devoted the last 18 years to the research and treatment of women struggling with post-abortion issues. Many of the women she treated came to her because other therapists refused to believe that an abortion could cause significant trauma. Other women came to her because their family and friends failed to understand the reality of their pain and suffering.

In Forbidden Grief, Dr. Burke explains the importance of listening to those who are struggling with past abortions, and suggests ways we can create a more understanding and healing society, where women will no longer be required to hide their pain.

Drawing on the experience and insights of hundreds of her clients, Dr. Burke shows how repressed feelings may be acted out through self-destructive behavior, broken relationships, obsessions, eating disorders, parenting difficulties and other emotional or behavioral problems.

Abortion causes conflict. It fragments political parties, churches, schools, neighborhoods and families. These conflicts mirror the division within the post-abortive person. Many women have said they faced a daily, internal battle between condemning themselves and defending their choice.

Forbidden Grief gives the reader a better understanding of the nature and origin of unresolved abortion issues and what steps can be taken to find healing.

Order from: www.rachelsvineyard.org

Redeeming a Father's Heart

by: Kevin Burke, LSW, David Wemholl & Marvin Stockwell.

Men Share powerful stories of abortion loss and recovery.

book on abortion regret

Redeeming a Father's Heart presents the powerful stories of 10 courageous men with the common desire to present the truth of their abortion experience and the consequences of this life changing decision. These accounts are inspirational testimonies that journey deep into the heart of male post abortion pain; ultimately revealing the miraculous manifestation of God's transforming power.

After you read these stories you will have a greater understanding and appreciation of male post abortion grief. The stories in Redeeming a Father's Heart provide a special roadmap for men and their loved ones, pointing the way to deeper understanding, hope and healing.

Order from: www.rachelsvineyard.org

MEDIA: Sample ads and suggested music



We know that the pain of abortion has impacted and effected women and men alike. We also know that there are many who are not yet ready to speak about the ways it has impacted them. We made these videos as a way to help start the conversation.

We are here for you and you are not alone!

Please reach out to us confidentially at bergoulding1@gmail.com or simply share these videos with your family and friends.

Peace, Bernadette at Rachel’s Vineyard Ireland.


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