Entering Canaan: A Sacramental Journey to an Inheritance of Mercy, is a post-abortion ministry developed by the Sisters of Life and Theresa Bonopartis. In the Bible, the Israelites set out for Canaan seeking a new life of peace and joy. A fulfillment of Gods promise to them. The Entering Canaan Ministry reflects that journey to the Promised Land.
Part I: Day of Prayer and Healing
I was deeply touched by the atmosphere of support and understanding.
The journey begins with a Day of Prayer and Healing. It is a huge step out into faith for those who come and requires great courage. It is an answering to the invitation by God voiced in the Eucharistic Prayer of Reconciliation 2: “God of love and mercy, You are always ready to forgive. We are sinners, and you invite us to trust in your mercy.” He does not force us, He tells us His love and mercy are there for us and that he is “always ready to forgive”. He extends an invitation that we are free to accept or reject. Those who come to the Day have said “yes” to that invitation in the midst of any fear they are feeling. Most are filled with anxiety and for many this is the first time they will admit to anyone that they are post abortive. All retreatants are new and goal of the day is to instill hope where none existed. Hope of healing, hope of joy, hope of peace, hope of reconciliation and a new life.
Part II: The Gatherings
I experienced God’s love and mercy in a very profound way. In my heart I knew I was forgiven before this weekend.
The second part of the journey is The Gatherings. Here the spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects of post abortion healing are integrated as the participants meet each month to pray together and meet in-group for discussion. This group, held once monthly, consists of participants in all stages of the healing journey. Here issues such as shame, guilt, forgiveness, and anger are prayed upon before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament with a scripture reading relating to the issue and direct questions to reflect upon. These questions are then discussed in-group. It is here that community is further built as the women and men aide one another in the journey, fight their personal battles, identify their personal abortion connectors, share their victories and the tools that they have learned with one another and what has worked for them along the way to healing.
Part III: Weekend Retreat
This weekend meant much more than I thought it would. I didn’t think I really needed much healing… but as usual, the Lord knew.
The Weekend Retreats are a culmination of the two prior phases of the journey. On these retreats, held twice a year, more intense work is done as they spend the weekend in silence with Our Lord who speaks to their hearts. A group discussion is held on Saturday night where they are invited to share their experience with one another. It is God’s desire that this mission is ongoing, an open invitation to continue as long as it takes, 40 days or 40 years. There is no timetable for their healing. Like those on the journey to Canaan, some may come consistently preserver until the end, some come for a while, take a break and return, and some give up the journey unable to surrender their lives to God. We however, remain constant giving them tools and relaying the unconditional love of our God who is there for us no matter where we are, even if we are unaware of His presence, always loving and supporting us in our journeys. May each of us reach the fulfillment of Canaan.
If you are interested in attending a day of prayer and healing, please call (866) 575-0075, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Message from Mother Agnes Mary, SV
Go, pick up the pieces lest they be lost. (Jn. 6:12)
With these words of Christ, John Cardinal O’Connor directed the Sisters of Life to a ministry of reverence for women and men who suffer following the tragedy of abortion. Those who suffer abortion are awaiting a word of invitation, especially from the Church’s consecrated religious and priests, to “Come home!” Through sacramental retreats, that very invitation has been extended since 1996. Hundreds of both women and men, suffering from the emotional, relational and spiritual wounds of abortion, have attended these Entering Canaan retreats. They, not we, proclaim that the healing that has eluded them — often for years or decades, is found only in Christ Jesus, through His Mystical Body on Earth and in the power of the Sacraments.
Theresa Bonopartis, a cherished friend and collaborator of the Sisters of Life, plays an essential role in God’s eternal design for this healing mission. She is a nationally-recognized spokesperson for the women and mend who suffer the effects of abortion. Her talents and heart for others find many outlets. Theresa is currently the Director of Lumina/Hope and Healing After Abortion in New York City. Additionally , she speaks, writes and networks with groups throughout the pro-life community. Theresa’s generous presence to those suffering, and her witness to the healing power of God’s grace make her an eloquent messenger of hope for spiritual healing following abortion. To contact Theresa, please call (877) 586-4621, or email email@example.com.
From our earliest years it has been Theresa and the women and men who have come to the Sisters seeking spiritual healing who have taught us, as none others, the breathtaking truth of the wideness and beauty of God’s mercy and forgiveness.