Geschiedenis Rachel’s Vineyard


Rachel’s Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites around the world. Rachel’s Vineyard is a ministry of Priests for Life

The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.

Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there. To learn more, please read about our weekend retreats. Also, please see comments from people who have attended the weekends, as well as our explanation of the name “Rachel’s Vineyard.”


History of Rachel’s Vineyard


Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph. D., started one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-aborted women in 1986 after founding The Center for Post Abortion Healing.

In 1994, Rachel’s Vineyard: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Post Abortion Healing was first published. It was a unique support group model for counselors, offering a very concrete, emotional experience for women who were grieving the loss of their aborted children. In 1995, Theresa adapted and expanded the curriculum into a format for weekend retreats. Soon individuals seeking healing began to travel from other states to experience this very effective healing process.

Without a budget, office or advertising, Rachel’s Vineyard became a grassroots national outreach. By word of mouth only, the retreats began to spread across the country because of the retreat’s dramatic effectiveness, from 18 retreats in 1999 and growing to 35 retreats in 2000. In 2003, Rachel’s Vineyard became a ministry of Priests for Life and its board was structured accordingly.

Currently, Rachel’s Vineyard has grown to over 1000 retreats annually, held in 49 states and 70 countries, with many new sites in development.

Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D., has lectured and trained professionals nationally on the subject of Post Abortion Healing. Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries offers an annual Leadership Training Conference specifically designed for those who currently use the Rachel’s Vineyard program. She also trains retreat teams in the method and process.

The Rachel’s Vineyard healing models are used by mental health professionals, post abortion ministries, crisis pregnancy centers, pastoral care and faith based outreach programs.

Who funds Rachel’s Vineyard?

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries is an outreach run by Kevin and Theresa Burke. Theresa is the author of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Manual and support group models and the founding director of Rachel’s Vineyard. Rachel’s Vineyard is a Non-Profit 501 C(3) organization, which is funded by private grants, individual donations, and the assistance of Priests for Life. The Burkes presently operate as a training resource for any group who wishes to offer this beautiful program for spiritual and emotional healing after abortion. [If you would like to make a donation towards our work, we would be most appreciative.]

Each Rachel’s Vineyard site is independently operated by a sponsoring organization. The Rachel’s Vineyard weekend for healing after abortion is presently being offered by 375 sites across the world and in over 70 countries with more in development! Some Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are hosted by church based ministries, counseling outreach programs, Project Rachel offices or Respect Life groups, and crisis pregnancy centers. It is offered in both Catholic and Interdenominational settings.

Rachel’s Vineyard also provides resources for those in post abortion ministry. In addition to the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend manuals and support group model, Theresa Burke, Ph.D., is the author of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, with David Reardon, the nation’s leading post-abortion researcher. Forbidden Grief is an extensive study and analysis of the trauma experienced by thousands of women, men and couples she has helped after their abortions.

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