2007 STORY #41: “TEACH ONLY LOVE”
I was raised in Missouri and went to Catholic schools. I went into therapy when I was 31 years old and remembered being sexually abused by priests and nuns when I was 6. I contacted the diocese and they offered to pay for my therapy. I felt support and compassion from the church when they said they believed me. When I remembered more memories and specific names they did some investigation and said they did not believe me and said they would only pay for my therapy if I recanted and they would only pay for six months. I felt victimized and betrayed by the church and by God. I was angry. I made a statement in the newspaper and contacted an attorney. I did not pursue any legal action because of the statute of limitations. I never received any compensation after that and I struggled financially for approximately 15 years in therapy and supporting my family as a single parent. I left therapy in 2005 giving up feeling like I was wasting my time and money because I didn’t feel any better. I cheered on all the lawsuits that have been continuing living vicariously through the battles that ensued between victim and church.
In 2005 I was blessed with a miracle. On my last visit to my therapist he suggested I read a book called “Teach Only Love” by Gerald Jampolsky. From this book I received messages of love and forgiveness. I learned that I was not a victim unless I chose to be and I could release myself from the past and heal my wounds through forgiveness. Last year I wrote to the Diocese offering forgiveness and love. Father X responded back to me with kindness and compassion. This year I decided to visit and offer in person a gift of my art and a card representing my forgiveness and willingness to join with the Catholic Church in love instead of fear. I also planned to meet with Mike Hunter who represents SNAP.
On November 29 I called the Chancery and learned Father X was not in. I decided to drop off my art and card to the Chancery before I met with Mike Hunter. I did not tell Mike what I was doing because I did not think I would have his support or the support of SNAP. As I was standing outside the Chancery, Mike Hunter called to confirm our meeting time. I knew this was no coincidence and I asked myself do I choose love or fear. I chose love with my shaking knees and I walked into the Chancery with a smile and left my art and card for Father X. Afterwards I met Mike Hunter and shared my story with him.
My fear of him not understanding disappeared as I saw the tears in his eyes knowing what I did for myself.