By Emily Drooby
Back in the 1980s, Pamela had an abortion. For more than 20 years, she held onto the pain she felt and hid it from the rest of the world.
“I suffered for many years, silently, in a culture that basically, really dissuades people from ever really speaking about their abortion experience,” she said.
That was until 2011 when she found a message in her local parish bulletin asking this simple, yet profound question: “Are you hurting from a past abortion?”
“And it was that little blurb for Rachel’s Helpers in my parish bulletin that really changed my life and I’m so grateful for all the people I met,” she added.
Through the help and support of Rachel’s Helpers, a post-abortion healing ministry that offers free 10-week programs in a small group settings with trained facilitators, Pamela finally started healing.
“I just cried my eyes out,” she said. “It was the first time I was really able to reveal all the pain I had been feeling for so long and exactly what had happened.”
Pamela continued her involvement with the ministry and now helps run the group along with several other women.
“I feel that I am able by this to take something horrible that I did and turn it for good for other women,” she said.
The curriculum that Rachel’s Helpers use throughout its ministry is a Bible-study program called ‘Forgiven and Set Free.’ Participants follow Scripture-based readings, engage in writing exercises and guided discussions in order to heal emotionally and spiritually from their abortion.
Julia Chitos helps lead the guided discussions as part of the ministry. She’s also part of the Flushing-based pro-life pregnancy resource center, The Bridge to Life, which shares resources with women, children and families throughout the New York City area.
“And that is our call,” said Chitos, “to help them feel that they have been forgiven and set free.”
Pamela believed that the day she picked up her parish bulletin eight years ago and discovered Rachel’s Helpers wasn’t by luck, but by divine intervention.
“I haven’t seen it very often again, so I do believe, I know, that was there for me and I know the Lord was showing me a way,” she said.
Her hope is that the ministry will help others follow the same path to healing that she did, one day at a time.