Rachel’s Vineyard

Rachel’s Vineyard is an American organization offering spiritual retreats to women who have had an abortion and those who believe they have suffered from an abortion. 1 Appointed by Rachel of the Bible, who weeps “for her lost children.” 1 The program offered by Rachel’s Vineyard provides an opportunity for women to examine their experience of abortion from a pro-life perspective and to identify the ways in which abortion has affected them. 1 2 3

Rachel’s Vineyard is sponsored by Priests for Life . 4 Rachel’s Vineyard maintains a Catholic atmosphere, with Eucharistic celebrations held as an integral part of the retreats, but also offers non-denominational retreats for non-Catholics. 5 6 7


In 1996, Theresa Karminski Burke started one of the first therapeutic support groups for women who had aborted. She later founded Rachel’s Vineyard, 8 along with her husband, Kevin Burke. Theresa Burke wrote the book Rachel’s Vineyard: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Post Abortion Healing (along with Barbara Cullen), which was published in 1994 as a model model for post abortion pain relief guides. In 1995, four retreats were held at Rachel’s Vineyard, and by the end of 2002 more than 130 were held. In 2003 Rachel’s Vineyard was reorganized and became part of the Priests for Life ministry with Frank Pavone as Pastoral Director. 9 A retreat is usually organized for a dozen clients, typically attended by a priest and an accredited therapist. 10 11 12

In June 2002, Burke and David Reardon published the book Forbidden Grief , a summary of Burke’s experience as a counselor for women with emotional issues related to abortion. In it he discusses what in his opinion is the great pressure and coercion that many women face before performing an abortion, everything related to abortion itself and the obstacles that post abortion must solve. 13 14

In 2014, Rachel’s Vineyard will hold over 1,000 retreats annually, in 48 states and 70 countries. 5 10 15 The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Manual has been translated into 10 languages. 10

The Burkes have lectured and trained professionals on the subject of trauma and post-abortion healing. Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry offers an annual Leadership Training Conference designed for those using the Rachel’s Vineyard program. [ Citation needed ]


The Rachel’s Vineyard ministry offers retreats on weekends, saying it’s a way to get away from the daily work and family pressures to focus on emotional development and the pursuit of healing. According to the group, the retreats are intended to provide the opportunity to enter the grieving process and identify the ways in which abortion has affected them individually. 16 Retreats are carried out by ministries based in churches, secular programs, Rachel Project offices, Respect Life groups, and pregnancy crisis centers. Offered in both Catholic and non-Catholic formats. 6


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c Ellie Lee (2003). Abortion, Motherhood, and Mental Health: Medication Reproduction in the United States and Great Britain . Transaction Publishers . Pp. 23-24. ISBN  0202364046 .
  2. Back to top↑ Genevieve, Peter Maher, and Thomas Ryan (2009). ‘Healing abortion’s trauma and’ Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat ‘: From three participants ». Australasian Catholic Record 86 (2): 200-211.
  3. Back to top↑ Ann Rodgers-Melnick (January 20, 2002). «Groups support those who regret abortions» . Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  4. Back to top↑ Cherie Black (July 1, 2007). «Is post-abortion syndrome real? – Proponents of grief theory add fuel to debate . Seattle Post-Intelligencer . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b Joseph O’Brien (April 21, 2011). Rachel’s Vineyard begins to bear fruit in central Wisconsin . The Catholic Times , reprinted in the West Central Wisconsin Catholic . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  6. ↑ Jump to:a b Ramon Gonzalez (September 7, 2005). Rachel’s Vineyard offers new retreat for non-Catholics . Western Catholic Reporter . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  7. Back to top↑ Jennifer Warner Cooper (August 13, 2006). «After The Abortion, Redemption» . Hartford Courant . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  8. Back to top↑ Emily Bazelon (January 27, 2007). “Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?” . The New York Times . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  9. Back to top↑ Rachel’s Vineyard. «Website» . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  10. ↑ Jump to:a b c Rachel’s Vineyard. «Our Story» . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  11. Back to top↑ Bonnie Miller Rubin (November 4, 2005). «Spiritual healing after abortions: A psychologist’s retreat for those battling unresolved feelings uses religious guidance» . Chicago Tribune . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  12. Back to top↑ Theresa Karminski Burke (September 5, 1996). “Post-Abortion Healing: Reconciling an Abortion in the Catholic Church .” Rachel’s Vineyard . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  13. Back to top↑ Johannes L. Jacobse (2003). “Women are Abortion’s Second Victims” (review of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion ) . OrthodoxyToday.org . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  14. Back to top↑ Rachel’s Vineyard. « Forbidden Grief (book information)» . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .
  15. Back to top↑ Melissa Lin (March 26, 2013). “Having had two abortions as a teenager, Jennifer Heng now helps others heal .” The Straits Times . Accessed July 27, 2013 .
  16. Back to top↑ Rachel’s Vineyard. Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat . Archived from the original on November 22, 2015 . Retrieved on July 27, 2013 .