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Don’t suffer any longer in silence. Project Rachel is here for you

Debra Niesen is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office.

by Debra Niesen

In the spring of 2019, I had an unexpectedly heartbreaking and simultaneously beautiful conversation with a woman whom I had never met before. I’ll call her “Clare.”

We had arranged for a quick ticket drop-off for the screening of the new “Unplanned” movie.

After exchanging thank-yous and as I was turning to leave, Clare paused, lowered her eyes and quietly said, “Though I know it will be difficult, I think the Holy Spirit is moving me to see this movie. I’ve never told anyone this before, but long ago, I had an abortion. I think it is time for me to face what I’ve buried for so long.”

Clare told me she was young and scared when she discovered she was pregnant. She explained when she went to Planned Parenthood, she was not given any information about her options or the risks involved in an abortion. She was simply moved through the process and left to deal with it on her own.

My heart broke for her. I told her that God did not want her to suffer and that he wanted her to find peace in him. I invited her to our upcoming Project Rachel retreat that offers healing and hope for those who have been wounded by abortion.

Clare, who gave me permission to share her story, is like millions of other women — sold a lie when she was most vulnerable. The abortion industry made her believe her only and easiest option was to end the life of her child.

Clare suffered tremendously, in silence, for years. She thought her sin was too big for God to forgive.

It took Clare a long time to gather the courage to connect with our ministry. I was overjoyed to receive the following message from her, after she attended a Project Rachel retreat:

“I wanted you to know that the reason I finally healed was due to the compassion I was shown that day I picked up the tickets for ‘Unplanned.’ I have carried this deep wound for forty years, like forty years in the desert, and am finally free of the shame.

“The key for me this weekend was to realize that my 20-year-old self did not have all the information that my 60-year-old self has. I could finally forgive my 20-year-old self. The Project Rachel retreat leaders worked with me and me alone. They were amazing and compassionate women! God bless them! I had confession and such a special Mass with the priest at Sanctuary of Hope. It was the most amazing weekend and I cannot thank everyone enough for my continued healing.

“Thank God the Catholic Church has this ministry. I will lead people to Christ in honor of my child in heaven and will help people to realize the evil of abortion and Planned Parenthood to my dying days. Thank you.”

If you or someone you know has suffered an abortion, you need to know that Jesus loves you and wants you to know his peace.

Please visit the website at: or call/text (913) 621-2199.

About the author

Debra Niesen

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