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40 Days of Prayer for Healing

I, like many Catholics around the US and the world, have been shocked and horrified to learn details of abuse at the hands of clergy over the past seven decades in Pennsylvania. Stunned to silence was my first reaction. Numb. Then the reality of it all, the placing myself into the heads and hearts of the victims whose voice was silenced caused a visceral reaction. I found myself unable to eat as the stress of it all bubbled to the top. I was stirred to do something and decided to forgo our seven year anniversary giveaway on August 18, instead focusing on creating a prayer campaign on a wing and a prayer the day before it would start. I don’t have eloquent words that soothe the aching heart. I’m heartbroken for the victims. What I am going to do is share some poignant words by a bishop and former priest of one of my childhood parishes in Austin, Texas. Below, you will find his letter, followed by a prayer, then the list of petitions, graphics, and concluding prayers. Readers and fans alike have full permission to use and share the graphics and petitions on their social media. 


40 Days of Prayer for Healing


PRAYER

by Richard Cardinal Cushing

O Almighty Eternal God our Father, 

look upon the face of Your Son, 

and for love of Him Who is the Eternal High Priest,

have pity on Your priests.

Remember, O most compassionate God,

that they are but weak and frail human beings.

Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them,

so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy

of their sublime vocation. Amen.


THE PETITIONS

40 Days of Prayer for Healing – August 18 – September 26

Day 1: For all victims of abuse, especially those who have been hurt by the Church and her ministers.
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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #PrayForTheCatholicChurch #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 2: Lord, we give you great thanks that you have called many out of silence to name the hidden abuse.
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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 3: For victims who have been traumatized by sexual abuse – may God protect and free you from further abuse, and heal your wounds.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 4: For victims who have yet to come forward – that they will find that inner courage to reach out, call for help, and find a community of support where they can begin to heal.

This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 5: For those who have been sexually abused and who do not know how to find words to name their pain or a way into the future.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 6: For all who have been sexually assaulted, and for whom these scandals are opening up old wounds. May you find comfort in Jesus in the Eucharist – Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 7: For victims of abuse – that they know their suffering is not a punishment from God.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 8: For the laity – help us, too, to be instruments of your peace and to assist the victims of sexual abuse and their families and support them as they move toward a better future.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 9: Lord, we trust that your light will outshine any doubt, despair, or hurt experienced by these victims of sexual abuse. Bring them through these trials to the kindness and goodness they justly deserve.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 10: For a call to conversion, reparation, and purification from within the Church from all evils.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 11: We pray that the Spirit of Wisdom enlightens people to put an end to acts of violence and abuse.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 12: For our parish communities (especially those most deeply affected by these scandals and crimes) – that we become as compassionate and sensitive toward these victims as Jesus would be.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 13: We pray for people who have been abused whether physically, mentally, emotionally or sexually
that the Lord of all tenderness and compassion will restore them and give them peace.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 14: For our parish communities – that we might not judge these victims but offer them the support they need to be free from this abuse.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 15: For right and healthy relationships that can overcome abuse in all its forms.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 16: Let us pray for all in the Church, both laity and clergy, whose faith has been shaken by the abuse scandals.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 17: God of compassion and love we ask you to heal the families and friends of those who have been abused. May Mary, the mother of your son, protect and comfort them.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 18: Help us to hear their cries of pain and to take responsibility for so many broken lives.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 19: For healing professionals who minister to those who suffer from violence and abuse, that God would give them the necessary strength, wisdom, and compassion in their ministry, we pray to the Lord…

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 20: We pray that within their communities and families, victims may find understanding and support so that with the help of your grace their wounds may be healed, and they may again know peace.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 21: Let us pray for forgiveness for the crimes and sins of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse perpetrated by clergy and servants of the Church against children and young people.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 22: For our priests be faithful to their vocation.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 23: God of compassion and love, we pray for healing and peace for all those who have been abused and whose suffering is ongoing.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 24: For priests who are weak; strengthen them, O Lord.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 25: For your faithful and fervent priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 26: “Suffer the little children to come unto me”, we pray that your Church may be a secure home where all children and vulnerable adults are brought closer to your Beloved Son.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 27: God of compassion and love help us to cherish, respect and protect the young and the vulnerable at all times.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 28: For your tempted priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 29: God of compassion and love we ask your forgiveness for the deaf ears, the blind eyes and the hard hearts of those in authority in your Church.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 30: May the hands of our priests know only how to bless.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 31: For priestly renewed commitment to rightly ordered sexuality through the virtue of chastity.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 32: For Your unfaithful and tepid priests.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 33: Let us pray for forgiveness for all those in authority in the Church who failed to respond as good shepherds to those abused by priests and religious.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 34: Let us pray that we may be a community that actively cares for and protects children and vulnerable members of our society.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 35: For the perpetrators of sexual abuse – that they would stop their abuse immediately, seek professional help, and call down God’s grace to overcome their sinful actions.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 36: God of compassion and love heal the hearts of all those in our Church who have been saddened and whose faith has been shaken by the abuse scandals.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 37: Let us pray for the survivors of abuse who have been psychologically harmed and spiritually damaged by people claiming to be followers of your Son.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 38: For the perpetrators of sexual abuse, may they know God’s love and seek help for conversion and healing.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 39: Lord, we are so sorry for what some of us did to Your children: treated them so cruelly, especially in their hour of need. We have left them with a lifelong suffering. This was not Your plan for them or us. Please help us to help them. Guide us, Lord. Amen.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//

Day 40: God our rock and our strength on whom we lean, help us to create an atmosphere of trust which allows the unspeakable to be said. Help us to live with our painful memories. May we support each other and be safe places for each other. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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This petition is part of the prayer campaign 40 Days of Prayer for Healing by Catholic Sistas, and in response to the decades-long abuse of over 1000 victims by over 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania.
#PrayForTheCatholicChurch #40DaysOfPrayerForHealing #Catholic //full permission given to repost//


LINKS TO PETITIONS AND GRAPHICS

I have saved the graphics and petitions to a dropbox folder. Please click here to download and use however you see fit.


THE GRAPHICS

 


CONCLUDING PRAYER

Dear God, we ask You to help all those who suffer from abuse. Help them find healing and peace in their life. 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. Grant us Your Love that we might reach out to them in Your Name with hope in times of trial. As Maria prayed for her attacker, grant us the grace to pray for the true conversion of all involved with the abuse, 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 had found in Christ and in the love of his mother Mary.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Categories
Ink Slingers Michelle Motherhood Parenting Spiritual Growth

What to Do When Your Mother Betrays You

tearsI remember the day like it was yesterday and yet it’s been over 30 years ago. I was only 10 or 11 years old and I was feeling down. I would easily cry and often spent my time worrying about things that no child should ever have to worry about. Those years were tough ones for me. I wondered where God was when things were so terrible and questioned whether or not He would help us through the horrible events that were occurring within our family. I felt like I was in an unending nightmare and no one was going to ever save me. Sexual abuse had invaded our family and left most of us kids wondering how we were going to survive the repercussions of allowing it to come to light. Night terrors haunted my sleep and tears flooded my days.

I longed to draw close to my mother during this time and yet she kept her distance. She wasn’t an overly affectionate woman to begin with, but during this time it seemed she was even less so. It hurt to feel completely shut out.

Fed up with my despair, my mother took me aside one day and demanded that I tell her what was wrong. I started to cry. She asked again, “What is your problem?” Through my tears I quietly responded, “I don’t think you love me as much as you love everyone else.” Tears streaked down my cheeks and embarrassed, I brushed them away.

My mother took one look at me, removed my glasses, and then proceeded to slap me across the face over and over again saying, “I love you just as much as everyone else!” When she finished she told me to go to my room to sit on my bed so I could think about what I had just said. I sobbed and sobbed into my pillows. Her reaction was all the proof I would need that I was right… she didn’t love me as much as she loved everyone else.

My mother was always one to volunteer in our classrooms as room mom and she ran us everywhere for scouts or gymnastics or volleyball. From the outside she was very involved. From the inside things were different. Her heart was guarded and our true needs were often ignored; some of us more than others. As I got older I would see this time and time again. Still, she was my mom and I loved her. I wanted us to have a good relationship and so I worked at it tirelessly.

But then, when I was 30, something happened in our family that made me sever ties with her. She refused to stand up for what she knew was right and instead let me take the blame for something that was clearly not mine to take. My heart was broken and I knew I could not allow her to hurt me in this manner anymore. For several years I just stopped trying.

One day she called to say she had cancer. I’m sure you’re thinking at this point in the story I am about to say her cancer changed everything, but that’s not how it went. During her battle with cancer I did my best to check up on her, but because we lived 800 miles away, calling was all I could do and so I called often to check up on her. She would eventually be declared cancer-free. I hoped her brush with cancer would help her understand what was truly important. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Our relationship was civil, but strained.

I lost our sweet Joseph in March. I called to tell her he was gone and she showed no emotion. When I told her we planned to bury him on our land she questioned the legality of it but never once offered her condolences. In the months that followed she didn’t call to ask if I was doing ok. I was devastated. When she finally did call to wish our son a happy birthday I asked her what was going on. I told her how hurt I was that our loss didn’t matter to her. My heart poured out with every word I spoke. I couldn’t stop myself. Peppered with anguish and despair, I asked her some very hard questions. Most importantly I wanted to know why she had always treated me the way she did and why I was always pushed to the back burner.

That day I heard words I never thought I would hear… “You’re right, Michelle. I did. I am guilty of everything you are accusing me of. I had no choice though. The circumstances of our life just meant that I had to choose and I chose the others over you. It was necessary.” There was no apology, only recognition of the hurts she had heaped on my heart. Now I knew… it was necessary.

forgivenessDespite the hurt, that day I decided to forgive her. I didn’t forgive her because she asked me to or because she had admitted she was wrong. She did neither of those things. I forgave her because I knew if I didn’t I would never begin to heal from the hurts she had caused me. I vowed to try again to have a relationship with her. That was June.

In November my mom called to tell me that her cancer was back and that it was bad. The doctors hoped they could give her 3-5 more years. I told my husband she would be gone in a matter of months. We lost William in December and a week and a half later my mother entered into hospice care. I went to be by her side and help take care of her. I spent as much time with her as I could but eventually I had to leave to take care of my own family. She died shortly after I left. She died surrounded by my other siblings and my step-father. My brother was the only one besides myself that was not there. I’ve often wondered if she waited until we left before she died. I’m not sure. I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

I tell you this story because I learned a few valuable lessons throughout the years and I hope they will help you as well. Perhaps you dealing with a toxic relationship with your own mother and you just don’t know what to do about it. I’d like to offer you some advice…

  • Love her even when she’s unlovable. Try to have a relationship with her. Be kind and respectful even if she is not. Talk to her to find out why she acts the way she does. There may be a story you don’t know that could help you understand her.
  • Pray for her. There is true power in prayer. Ask God to open her heart to you. Ask God to bless her. Pray that she opens her heart to God.
  • Give yourself permission to leave the relationship if it truly is toxic. Just because she is your mom doesn’t mean you should have to endure abuse, neglect, or hatefulness. We are taught not to challenge our parents as a sign of respect but we have to remember to respect ourselves too. If your relationship is toxic you can (and should!) cut ties without feeling guilty.
  • Forgive her. Don’t wait for her to ask you for forgiveness, just grant it to her. You cannot heal if you are holding onto to hurts from the past. When your heart is full of hate, despair, or worry you have no room for God’s love. Empty your heart of those hurts and allow God’s love and forgiveness to heal you.
  • Remember that God will provide you with other earthly mother figures that will help you through when you need it most. Really look at your life to see who those mother figures are. I promise they are there. Cherish them!
  • Turn to our Holy Mother. As Christ hung suffering on the cross He gave us the gift of His mother. “Woman, behold your son!” and then to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” By giving His mother to John He also gave her to us. He knew we would need her. Turn to her in your time of need. She understands all that you are going through. She loves us and wants to help us. She longs to cradle you just as she did Christ as a baby. Run to her loving arms!

We don’t expect our mothers to betray us, but sometimes they do. Sometimes because of their own life circumstances they are unable to give us what we truly need to grow and they are unable to be the mothers we need them to be. We have to trust that God has a plan to use these struggles to help us become the people He knows we can be. Practice patience, love, and forgiveness. You will find that your heart will begin to heal from the hurts inflicted upon it. It will take time, but He will heal you.

Thank you, Father for the gift of our Holy Mother. Help me to cling to her when I am in need of consolation, love, and hope. She is not only the mother to Your Son but she is our mother as well.

mother mary 1