O Mi Jesu
A Maria Goretti Network Chapter
A Survivor’s Prayer
We ask you to help us find healing and peace in our lives. Grant us hope in these times of trial. May Maria Goretti, who was strengthened by Your Grace, join with us in prayer for healing of all victims of abuse, particularly those abused as children or young adults.
Fill us with Your Love so that, as Maria prayed for her attacker, we too might have the courage to pray for the true conversion of our abusers, that they might seek Your Mercy through prayer and penance.
Loving God, pour into our hearts and lives Your healing Spirit, that the sacredness of every human person might be respected and protected as the precious image of God. Help us to live in the peace which Maria Goretti found in Christ and in the love of His mother, Mary.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
I have shared my story at Missio Dei about being abused by nuns in the convent. When I left my first community, an active-contemplative Benedictine community, I thought I had a unique experience, that the horror and trauma that I endured, could not possibly be the norm for so many women and even men who enter religious life. I continued to search for another community, but this time I was specifically looking for a more traditional convent, a CMSWR (Council Superior of Women Religious) community, that I was assured by both laity and priests alike, would be a “safe” community.
After leaving a contemplative-missionary community, the supposedly more traditional community, and the second community that I had entered, I came to realize that there was no way that being abused twice in two different convents could simply be pure coincidence. I began searching on social media and on google for others who had been abused in religious life, and I found a group on Facebook, where a multitude of women would share their stories with one another. I also found a number of testimonies by women who had been traumatized in the convent. Sadly, I came to the conclusion that I was not alone, and that convent abuse was a serious problem, that was not being addressed at a higher level in the Church.
There were so many women that I began to encounter who no longer considered themselves Catholic and were even dappling in the occult. It broke my heart to see the incredulous amount of women who walked away from the truth, and no longer believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist because of being hurt by nuns in the Church.
There was no peer support group in the Church at the time of my departure for women or even men who had left religious life, and in my heart I knew that there needed to be one. I prayed to God to help me to know what to do so that I could help those who had left religious life to heal, and to be able to keep their faith.
God answered my sincere and heartfelt prayer because I came across a website called “Call for Convent Reform,” and the young woman who ran the website shared her own experience of abuse in the convent throughout the pages of the website. After some time I reached out to her, and she shared with me the strong desire to help men and women who had left religious life after being abused by superiors and formators.
One of my friends already ran a Virtual Maria Goretti Network Chapter, and she suggested that myself and the other young woman begin our own virtual chapter, specifically for men and women who had experienced trauma in the seminary or religious life. “The Maria Goretti Network is a self-help support network for victims of abuse.” After a time of discernment we reached out to the coordinators of the Maria Goretti Network, and within a short amount while, “O Mi Jesu,” a Chapter specifically for those abused in the seminary or religious life, our new ministry, was born.
The O Mi Jesu Chapter meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7PM EST, and we provide peer support for one another to help with the healing process. To learn more about the Maria Goretti Network, which is for all abuse victims, please check out the website. If you have been abused in the convent or in the seminary, first and foremost please know that you are not alone, and if you are interested in a peer support group please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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