by Eileen Kuhlmann, Director of Healing After Abortion Ministry with the Catholic Pro Life Committee of Dallas
It was Christmas Eve Day… and the email came in. She had been on our radar for some time and came very close to attending a Rachel retreat this past year, yet even when a driver was sent to her she could not find the courage. She remained on our “care radar” as we continued to encourage her yet she remained in silence.
Then the email came in…”I need a priest. I want to confess this sin.”
My immediate mental reaction was… oh no… how am I EVER going to find a priest on Christmas Eve Day. But I told her I would do everything I could as I began to mentally choose the priests I had a better chance of locating and who might be willing. Then the guidance of searching for the RIGHT priest and not just ANY priest came to my mind. I knew exactly who we needed.
I reached out to him, realizing it was a far reach and decided if I didn’t hear from him within a few hours I would reach out to the others. Within 30 minutes the phone rang. It was Father!! “Do you still need a priest?” He said. His voice was like the shining star in the dark night calling her to new life.
So I set up the time for them to meet in his parish just a few hours later.
I asked her if she would like some company and she said: “ I was alone when I had the abortions and I have been alone ever since. I guess so…I have never had anyone to walk through anything with me. I never had the expectation”
I engaged 5 of our Vineyard Keepers who immediately began to pray.
I looked at our GRIP (Graduate of Rachel In Parish) list for that parish and contacted two of them. They both responded immediately. Permission was granted and one of them called her and encouraged her and then told her she would be in the front of the Church waiting for her.
I continued in text communication with her letting her know how much she was loved by God to have a priest, two graduates, and 5 vineyard keepers focused on her! She said: “I have lived in such isolation and have avoided people, and relationships because I feel so bad about my life and choices made.” I pointed out how much God wanted her back and she said: “I know..He won’t let up…The Holy Spirit has been stirring my soul these past 10 months with a vengeance.”
I got a text a few hours later from our graduate telling me that Father and the two graduates were waiting for her at the door. As Father said….”tell her I am the one with the collar on”. Regina and I texted back and forth prayerfully wondering if she would have the courage this time…hoping and praying this would be the time. Then I got the best text I could have ever received…” She is here!!! She is now with Father! We are waiting for her in the pew.”
I heard later from our potential retreatant that she feels so much better and is now committed to attending a retreat. Her first words to me were: “ I have friends now! Father and two wonderful ladies who have invited me to coffee! It was GLORIOUS and WONDERFUL! And my job is actually very close to his parish so I will begin to receive direction from him on my lunch breaks ”. I knew then, that this priest chosen to help on this day was NO COINCIDENCE AT ALL!!! God actually cared enough to find one that was just a few miles from work so she could easily continue under his care. I asked her if she could see how much God loves her and she said: “ Yes…. I can now… He really wanted me back!!” The graduates contacted me and told me they want to sponsor her retreat and will accompany her to the door that day too.
Christmas Eve. Our Lord was born in the heart of a woman who so desperately needed him. We had the star… we had the shepherds… and the manger this time was a confessional. Praise God! Christmas Eve can happen all over again in ways we never expected!
For more information on Healing After Abortion go to the CPLC Healing After Abortion Ministry