Healing Circle Shrine of St. Anthony, Arch Street Boston, MA
On June 7, 2015, VOTF and the Restorative Justice Committee held its third Healing Circle, the second in Boston, MA. This one took place in a meeting room made available by the Franciscan friars at the St. Anthony Shrine.
`As with the two prior Healing Circles, the 10 participants all experienced and continue to suffer harm in their own unique experiences of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. They included victims/survivors; the parents of and advocates for victims/survivors; lay people that left the pews and others who have stayed in the pews as they struggled to respond to the harm; and church workers who were caught in the middle of the scandal.
The participants engaged in a deep process of speaking and listening to the stories each shared, and they drew much welcome support from the commonalities in their own experiences, regarding not only specific instances of abuse, but also hierarchical malfeasance in response to them. They left the 7.5 hour conversation with a strong sense of validation about their stories, a great relief to have found a safe and nurturing space in which to hold the pain from their harm, and a renewed hope in their own journeys towards healing.
VOTF and its partners remain convinced that Healing Circles can help fill the void that has been largely absent in the life of the people of God since the sexual abuse scandal broke into public consciousness in Boston in 2002.
The Shrine plans to continue to offer Healing Circle opportunities on a continuing basis. The Healing Circle is no merely a workshop session ; rather it is a living tool designed as a step toward healing from the fallout from the clergy sexual abuse reality.
If you are a candidate or know of individuals communities for whom a Healing Circle might be a good fit, please contact Bill Casey (703-568-3438; [email protected]), or Jayne O’Donnell (860-335-4259; [email protected]).