"The Great Healer will begin to put you back together, never the same, but complete in His love.  Then, He will lead you to others who need to know about the 'sometimes'." --  From poem Sometimes by Rachael Rhodes 
Everyone has a purpose in life and everyone has a unique journey.  Our journey creates a story that can be shared with others.  When we share these stories we are giving Testimony.  Today I choose to share my testimony with you in order to give evidence to the Spirit of Faith, Hope and Love.
In the Spirit of Faith, I believe that God can enlighten you with this story, lift you up, and change you into a new creature.  In the Spirit of Hope, I believe that God can heal your wounded heart if you consume His medicine.  He is the only remedy. In the Spirit of Love, I believe that God has a purpose and a need for my testimony to be shared and not hidden.
In order to reveal the TRUTH, I must forget myself, courageously take up the cross that God has given me, and risk loosing my life, as I know it, in order to save it (and others) for all eternity.  I am called to break the long chain of silence and fear that has held my family and many other families throughout the world, in bondage for generations.  Truly, I do this out of bold love for each and every one of you!   For years, I have known that I would have to share this secret, but I have kept silent for a multitude of reasons. Now it is time to open my lips and speak the TRUTH, for the TRUTH will break the shackles and set the captives free!
No doubt, many people will have a difficult time with this TRUTH I speak.  They may deny it, hide it, doubt it, ridicule it, attack it, and even run away from it.  On the other hand, they may admit it, uncover it, believe it, accept it, embrace it, and even, God willing, pick up the splintered cross and walk with it.  However, the TRUTH must be revealed and brought out of the darkness and into the light. This is the first step that must be taken on the pathway that ultimately leads to healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and recovery of the broken and wounded soul.
We can no longer hide from the TRUTH because denial allows it to continue and contaminate future generations.  We must face the ugly TRUTH, take ownership of it, and then, take every step necessary to bind, reject, and rebuke it in the name of the Lord.  We must do this in order to save our souls and those beloved souls yet to be born.  Yes, it is bold, and yes, it will take plenty of courage that only God can grace us with.  I pray that He will anoint you with this gift of courage. My father said, "Pray ... and if God tells you that we must speak about this TRUTH, then ... I will speak with you."  I tell you, "My father speaks the TRUTH with me now!"  Lord ... have mercy on his soul!
O Jesus!  Meek and humble of heart, hear us:
Deliver us from the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver us from the fear of being despised,
Deliver us from the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver us from the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver us from the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver us from the fear of being ridiculed,
Deliver us from the fear of being wronged,
Deliver us from the fear of being suspected.
I have known for a long time now that I have a message that God wants me to share with the world.  God is so GOOD!  He allows bad things to happen in this world, but He can and does take evil and turn it into good.  I know this first hand ... without a doubt because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and my perpetrator was my father.
I know that healing requires TRUTH; therefore, the truth is THE BEST PLACE TO BEGIN.  "The healing will come," but only after dealing with the secrecy, which stunts the healing process.  We must be courageous and open our lips let the ugly truth spill out, and take the first step of many down the narrow path that leads to reconciliation and forgiveness.  We need our Lord's spirit of perseverance to rise above the feelings of scorn, fear and ridicule so we may be released from this bondage.  The sacred trust that was trampled on and destroyed must be restored.
It is important for us to remember ... perpetrators don't grow on trees.  Perpetrators come from families that look just like yours, mine and the guy next door.  We can no longer live in denial or pretend that sexual abuse has not been encountered in our families.  Sexual abuse is a reality in all countries through out the world amongst all nationalities and classes of people.  The evil one, Satan, has control because victims and perpetrators alike live in FEAR OF THE TRUTH coming into the light.  Jesus said, "Be not afraid ... I go before you always ... come follow me ... and I will set you free."
My father, who has passed away, was never suspected by anyone outside the family of being a child molester, but he was.  He was enabled to continue to abuse other children after myself because many of the victims never came forward and revealed the truth; and those who found out his secret protected him from being discovered because of their own FEAR of scandal and FEAR of being ousted and abandoned by friends and family.  We all lived our lives carrying this dark, ugly, shameful secret.  We were afraid for various reasons to reveal the truth but now by the grace of God, I am no longer afraid.  God has given me the courage to come out of the darkness and into the light with the TRUTH.  He has shown me the way and His will is that I must speak ... and no longer be silent.  I can no longer hide my light, His light within me under a bushel; I must reach out to the mystical body of Christ with bold courageous love and minister to His body.
I am a "friend of the Cross," that cross which God, in His Infinite Wisdom, designed for me.  With His grace, I have taken up my cross joyfully, embraced it lovingly, and carried it courageously on my shoulders.  I continue to embrace the four dimensions of its length, breadth, thickness and depth and I will continue to carry it until my last breath on this earth.
I am so thankful that I am no longer held in the bondage of fear and silence, for now I am a new life in Christ through Mary.
I was born November 26, 1957, in Oceanside, California, to my proud parents.  I became the oldest sibling of two sisters and one brother from my parent's marriage, and a half-brother from my father's third marriage.  At approximately nine years old, my mother and father's rocky marriage ended in divorce.  Sadly, my childhood memories are tainted with more bad times than good, scarcely recalling any peace and tranquility.  Dad drank too much, came home too late and became abusive when under the influence of alcohol.
One day, dad packed up his clothes and left.  Someone told us that we (the children) were too much for him; consequently, I thought we caused his desertion.  However, his next epic changed my perspective.  Dad nearly emptied our home of its contents, which included our dishes, utensils and the stereo that I practiced tap dancing with.  First, I was hurt, but then ... I became angry, resentful, and even thought I hated him.  Determined to never see my father again, no one encouraged me to feel any differently.
Within months everything changed ... we moved out of our home, mom started dating and she hired a live-in baby-sitter.  Single parenthood took its toll as she struggled with assorted disciplinary problems, limited finances and stress.  Following a friend's suggestion, mom enrolled us in Catholic school in the hopes of finding family support and needed discipline.  Unknowingly, someone's faithful prayers were applied to our broken family.  Before attending Catholic school, I never received religious education and prayers may not have ever graced my lips.  My parents never spoke of God; although, dad's father was a lapsed Catholic and his mother a practicing Baptist.  Seemingly, seeds of faith had been sown in previous generations but not in good soil.
At nine years old, I began Catholic school and the seeds of faith were sown.  Unbeknownst to me, a raging battle also began.  The highlights of that eventful year were as follows:
I moved two or three times and attended different schools.  Mom introduced my siblings and I to her boyfriend and she married him a few weeks later.  At my stepfather's insistence, I joined my siblings in weekend visitations with dad at his girlfriend's house where he resided.  In ignorance and indifference, mother replaced one abusive spouse with another, and so ... the mental and verbal abuse raged on in our family.  Apparently, there was no escaping it.
Immediately, Dad's girlfriend began weekend instruction in the Jehovah Witness faith, resulting in my questioning the Catholic faith I was lovingly embracing at school.  The nuns never knew what prompted the questions and they kept telling me, "that's a mystery of faith ... you just have to believe," so ... I believed and received the gift of faith.
Dad persisted in his attempts to regain my trust, affection and forgiveness and succeeded for a fleeting moment in time before he ultimately destroyed the most sacred bond of trust between father and daughter.  He molested me and took away my childhood innocence.  Satan was determined to destroy the seeds of faith that had been sown.  Silenced by a multitude of raging fears, an engulfing ocean of confusion, shame, and secrecy ... I persevered, but the young plant that had sprouted from the seed was scorched, and nearly burned up.  I remember sneaking into church at recess, praying in front of the statue of Mother Mary, and once, I saw tears running down her cheek as I shared the dark secrets that no one else ever heard.  Finally, the molestation stopped, but the damage was done and the sins of the father were passed on.
As a young child, out of control, I molested several children.  In sixth grade, my best friend invited me to the Legion of Mary, and I enjoyed participating and praying the rosary, as more seeds were sown.  In eighth grade, I asked for Baptism and received the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation with my class; but that summer, I made new non-Catholic friends, drifted away from church, and my religious education ceased as I finished Catholic school and entered public high school.
Throughout my teen years, I wrestled with sins of rebellion, abuse of drugs and alcohol, lying, stealing and sexual promiscuity.  Repeatedly, I attempted to mend my ways, but failed miserably because I was drowning in the muck of mortal sin.  By the time I graduated mid-term at seventeen years old, I had aborted two babies and was one month pregnant.  In spite of my sinfulness, God sent me the precious gift of a child so I dared to resist sin and reform my licentiousness.
Miraculously, I averted marrying my son's father and at nineteen years old met my future husband.  Still away from the Sacraments and ignoring the virtue of Chastity, I moved in with him after six short months.  Lacking trust and bearing doubts and fears from the past, I was convinced that I needed to know what kind of a father he was going to be before I made a commitment, although we had never spoken of marriage.  After a year of living in sin, my conscience pierced my heart and I knew that I should marry him or break off the relationship.  In hope, I mustered the bold courage to share my deepest feelings and ask for marriage.  One year later at a Nuptial Mass, we exchanged our vows and received the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony resulting in a blessing of nearly 23 years of marriage and five beautiful children who are now ages twenty-six years, twenty-two years, fifteen years, twelve years and seven months old.
Marriage brought me back to the Sacraments and more seeds were sown, but without strong roots and burning love and desire for the Lord, I continued to fall from grace ... failing to attend Sunday Mass and years could go by without my receiving the Sacraments.  Inevitably, God would bless my family with the gift of another child and I would return to Church as they received Baptism, Confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Through God's grace, all of my children have attended Catholic schools through high school.
Grappling with the aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse, my marriage took direct hits from my jealousy, fits of anger, lack of trust, feeling out of control, need for perfectionism, social drinking and random bouts of depression.  In early marriage, my husband would say, "relax, trust me, and let me take care of you," gently coaxing me into holy submission.  However, as a child, my virtue of TRUST was annihilated, resulting in a total loss of control, which carried consequences, as an adult ... complete trust was inconceivable.
In spite of my wounded heart, God was and is ever present.  Unknowingly, He was within my grasp and waiting for my embrace, even as I pushed Him away, closing the door to my heart.  In my ignorance, I searched everywhere for His love, consolation, forgiveness and happiness that He willed to complete me with.  Infinitely patient, loving and merciful, my Lord endlessly called me to Himself and shined through the darkness of my sin with His light.  With power and might, he waged war and broke the chains that enslaved my very soul.  He brought me to my knees and showed me that "all things are possible with God!"
In April of 1999, as my husband and I journeyed to Ireland on holiday, our family business was in financial turmoil.  Once again, I had shut God out of my life; so while in Ireland, He lured me into His domain like a magnate.  I remembered the Irish nuns from school saying, "If you ever visit Ireland, you must visit our beautiful Churches!"  As I gravitated into every Catholic Church in sight, I reverently prayed a "Hail Mary" before departing.
On the eve of St. Louis Marie De Montfort's feast day and our leaving Ireland, my husband and I visited a Church in Kalarney adorned with a beautiful Legion of Mary Altar.  Gazing upon it, I lovingly reminisced about the Legion of Mary.  Upon exiting, a short, gray-haired Irish man dressed in black approached me.  He said that he knew me and he had been watching me.  He said that I knew him as well.  I smiled politely and insisted that I did not know him because I lived in the United States.  His eyes twinkled with delightful self-assurance as he handed me a prayer card with a strung Miraculous Medal attached to it.  He said, "Take this and put it on and say these prayers when you have a chance."  I thanked him and obediently put the Miraculous Medal around my neck as I left the church.  A few minutes later, I ran back into the church to talk with him but he was gone.
Months passed before I noticed the Miraculous Medal hanging around my neck and removed it with the intention of purchasing a chain.  Within a few weeks, my father-in-law confirmed my intuitions and announced that our business was failing and we could loose our jobs within weeks. Overwhelmed with juggling bills and dodging bill collectors at work, I anxiously wondered how my family was going to make two house payments with no income.
Two weeks later, I fell into a deep depression complicated with panic-anxiety attacks, post-traumatic stress syndrome, insomnia, fleeting suicidal thoughts and more.  I had no control over the uninvited flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse that tortured me throughout the day.  Having lost control over my mind and body, I desperately wanted to be protected because I felt there was no safe place in this world for me.  I could no longer trust the creatures and things of this world ... not even my husband, children or family.
Overwhelmed with thoughts of suicide, I confided in a friend who compassionately suggested a safe place with God ... NO!   What about the Blessed Mother?  YES!  And what about a great warrior ... St. Michael the Archangel ... and St. Jude?  YES ... YES ... THEY WILL PROTECT ME.  Returning home, I anxiously searched for the Miraculous Medal I discarded several weeks before.  Finding it, I placed it around my neck and went to sleep.
The following morning I awoke and began to pray, "Mother Mary ... please help me ... please help me to get out of bed and out from under these covers ... I am so afraid."  Finally rising, I spent hours searching for the prayers that the little Irish man had given me, persevering until I found them.  Then, with the truest and most tender devotion of a child, I entrusted myself to my Blessed Mother and the heavenly warriors as I began to pray a perpetual novena throughout the day consisting of ... a Prayer to the Holy Spirit, a Prayer to our Lord Jesus, the Memorare, a Prayer to the Virgin Mary and An Act of Consecration to our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.  It was the beginning of a faithful journey that culminated with the spiritual renewal of my soul.
At the beginning of my journey ... I had no knowledge of Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.  I had never read the writings of St. Louis Marie De Montfort and learned that "Our Lady is only a means to an end, that perfect means that leads us directly to Christ and Christ Crucified."  I was ignorant to the fact that "Our Lord is the end of all our love and devotion to Mary."  When I entrusted myself to Mary, she answered all my prayers and mercifully led me on a cross-ridden path to Jesus.
Before dad died, I forgave him of his trespasses against me.  I spoke with him about the molestation and he was willing to reveal the truth with me to the rest of our family, although he feared the inevitable "carrying of the cross."  He was a courageous man and I believe that he begged God's forgiveness with his last breath in his final hour. 
I speak now with love, compassion and forgiveness because God has healed my splintered soul and enabled me to love my father the way I was never allowed to love him as a child.
I can now honor my father.  AMEN.  ____________________________________________________________________________________________
It was about 2 years after the Legion of Mary was started at our parish, that I discovered who the mysterious Irish man was.  I was in my office typing up Legion of Mary paperwork when my husband came into the office and stood behind my chair.
Suddenly, he asked me in a strange sounding voice either "how" or "where" ... " did you get that picture?"
Well, I had lots of holy card pictures plastered all around me on the computer cabinet, so I asked, "Which picture?"
He pointed directly to the one and only that hung dead center in front of my face above the computer monitor.
Then I turned and asked in a curious and concerned voice, "Why?"
He said, "Because ... that's a picture of the Irish man who gave you the medal in Ireland.  Now, tell me how you got his picture."
I quietly answered as I felt my heart beat loudly in my chest, "Are you sure?"
He answered, "Yes."
I said that I didn't remember him being there when the Irish man gave me the medal, I thought he had already gone outside the church.
Then ... he said, "No.  I was with you when he gave you the medal and then I went outside after you started talking with him."
I asked again, "Are you sure that's him?"
He said, "Yes."
Then ... I told him it was a prayer card of Frank Duff, the founder of the Legion of Mary and he didn't seem so surprised, but rather satisfied with my answer.
Then I said, "There's just one more thing though.  Frank Duff died November 7, 1980 and we were in that church on April 27, 1999."
After a moment of thought, my husband's jaw dropped and his mouth gapped open with a look of total surprise.
Then he said, "Well, it sure looks just like him."
This is when I discovered who the jovial, Irish man was.  It was Frank Duff himself who had been watching me for a very long time.  Frank had come to place the Miraculous Medal in my hand and deliver the prayers that would one day save my soul and extend my life on this earth:-)
I am forever grateful for this awesome and miraculous grace!

This picture of Frank Duff is the SAME PICTURE that my husband identified on the holy card.

   The Servant of God Frank Duff
Frank Duff

Founder of the Legion of Mary
Frank Duff was born in Dublin, Ireland, on June 7, 1889. He entered the Civil Service at the age of 18. At 24 he joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul where he was led to a deeper commitment to his Catholic faith and at the same time he acquired a great sensitivity to the needs of the poor and underprivileged.
Along with a group of Catholic women and Fr. Michael Toher, Dublin Archdiocese, he formed the first praesidium of the Legion of Mary on September 7, 1921. From that date until his death, November 7, 1980, he guided the world-wide extension of the Legion with heroic dedication. He attended the Second Vatican Council as a lay observer. His profound insights into the role of the Blessed Virgin in the plan of Redemption, as also into the role of the lay faithful in the mission of the Church, are reflected in the Legion Handbook which is almost entirely his composition.

Prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God Frank Duff
God our Father, You inspired your servant Frank Duff with a profound insight into the mystery of Your Church, the Body of Christ, and of the place of Mary the Mother of Jesus in this mystery.
In his immense desire to share this insight with others and in filial dependence on Mary he formed her Legion to be a sign of her maternal love for the world and a means of enlisting all her children in the Church's evangelising work.
We thank you Father for the graces conferred on him and for the benefits accruing to the Church from his courageous and shining faith. With confidence we beg You that through his intercession you grant the petition we lay before You . ............... We ask too that if it be in accordance with Your will, the holiness of his life may be acknowledged by the Church for the glory of your Name, through Christ Our Lord,
with ecclesiastical approval

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