SNAP: Stories for Living

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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.

Note: this story is from 2007. View other 2007 stories and 2007 voting results. View current stories.