|poison sumac, coming into bud,
A priest passed this link on to me: a site “dedicated to the spiritual journey and prayer life of all those who are in need of healing, and in a special way, all those who have suffered sexual abuse by clergy, religious, or lay ministers of the Catholic Church.”
The site was created and is maintained by a young woman who for the duration of her childhood was sexually abused by her semi-fanatically religious Catholic father, became a Carmelite nun for awhile, and along with the rest of the family had her life blown apart when the father was arrested. At which point she was forced to re-visit the wound and writes movingly and deeply about entering into a St. John of the Cross “dark night,” where God seems to exacerbate the original wound almost past endurance.
The woman’s name is Carrie Bucalo (she is married now, with three children) and her site is called Healed by Truth.
“Through my love-hate relationship with the cross, I am finally relieved to be experiencing many of its fruits. I’ve had to face other’s and my own darkest sins. I was, and am, very weak, I cannot even begin to tell you just how weak I really am”…
“My father was an active lay minister at our parish. He helped with RCIA classes and sponsored many people into the Church. He was an usher, scripture study leader, marriage enrichment leader and Eucharistic minister. Unfortunately, my father abused the Church’s teachings to sexually abuse me. It would seem that this kind of revolting situation would logically end up in my hatred for my father, and as a result a hatred for Christ and the Church. After all, every time I saw a cross, or went to mass, or read the scriptures, or prayed the rosary I was reminded of what my father did to me”…
‘The Holy Spirit is the Church’s living memory’ (CCC 1099). By participating fully in the Church’s sacramental life and liturgy, we access the very memories of God, which are the source of God’s healing and grace for each one of us: ‘The Son of God heals the whole man, soul and body, through the sacramental life’ (CCC following 1065).
But what if we were wounded by someone who is intimately connected with the sacraments of the Church, and what if we experience PTSD and pain when we try to draw close to the sacraments? This is a very valid question for anyone who has been sexually abused or molested by Catholic clergy, religious or lay ministers in the Church. I do not want to beat around the bush, so I’ll get straight to the point. Christ has an answer for anyone in this unfortunate circumstance, and it is a dangerous and difficult answer. But it has the power to transform, heal and restore to victims all that has been lost.
The answer is the ‘Way of the Cross,’ in the deepest sense possible”…
“I’ll be honest, when I let go of my very self in Carmel, I felt like I was letting go of everything, even the good parts of myself and of God. But, God was always there to hold tightly onto these things, for they really weren’t mine to let go of anyways, they belonged to him.
From our experiences of the Dark Night, we can all learn one simple thing: we learn what exists outside the edges of our being. When God moves us far beyond our limits, beyond our power, beyond our knowledge, beyond our strength, beyond our existence, we will collide with something wonderful, something eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, mighty and strong, namely God Himself. He is what lies waiting for us in the silence of the heart and soul. He is the one who lies outside of everything we know and yet at the same time within everything we know. And what a comfort this is!
It is along this dark road of the spiritual journey that we eventually learn to rely totally on the graces of prayer and the sacraments. It is moving forward into a greater spiritual maturity, with only darkness to guide us”…
Carrie hopes to make her story into a book.