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Divorce can have a profound impact on individuals and families, affecting their choices and relationships. The wounds and effects of divorce on children, whether experienced in childhood or adulthood, often go unaddressed. Recognizing this gap, Life-Giving Wounds was founded in 2018 by Daniel and Bethany Meola. This ministry aims to provide support and healing for adults who have experienced their parents’ separation or divorce. Through retreats, online resources, and support groups, Life-Giving Wounds offers a path to healing and a way forward for individuals impacted by divorce.
The Impact of Divorce on Marriage Preparation
Gabriela Ross, the director of the Indianapolis Archdiocese’s Office of Marriage and Family Life, has observed the impact of divorce on individuals’ readiness for marriage. The wounds from their family of origin often manifest as discord in their own families. While there has been some awareness and response to the needs of Catholics who experience divorce, there has been a lack of ministry focused on addressing the wounds and effects of divorce on children. This void is where Life-Giving Wounds steps in to provide the necessary support and healing.
The Founding of Life-Giving Wounds
Daniel Meola, who experienced his parents’ separation and divorce as a child and adult, became involved with the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family’s pastoral initiative focused on adult children of divorce. Inspired by his own healing journey, Daniel helped create a weekend retreat in 2015 for adults who had experienced their parents’ separation or divorce. This retreat, called Recovering Origins, became the foundation for Life-Giving Wounds.
Retreats and Resources Offered by Life-Giving Wounds
Life-Giving Wounds offers three-day retreats for adults aged 18 and older in multiple locations across the United States. These retreats are divided into three topics, addressing the layers of wounds experienced, accepting one’s identity as a beloved child of God, and discovering a way forward to sustain healing. The retreats are led by a traveling team, composed mostly of adult children of divorce who can provide a personal witness to the healing power of Christ.
In addition to the retreats, Life-Giving Wounds offers online resources such as blogs and support groups. The blogs address topics similar to those explored in the retreats but do not delve as deeply. The support groups provide a space for individuals to connect and find support from others who share their experiences and faith.
Testimonials and Impact
Amanda DeRoche, a participant of Life-Giving Wounds’ online retreats, shared her positive experience with the program. She appreciated the integration of psychology, science, and theology in the retreats and the opportunity to connect with others who share her faith. DeRoche emphasized the importance of acknowledging and healing from the wounds caused by divorce, regardless of the circumstances. The retreats, blogs, and support groups provide a comprehensive approach to healing and moving forward.
The Role of Life-Giving Wounds in Marriage Preparation
Bethany Meola, the vice president of operations, communications, and development for Life-Giving Wounds, highlights the significance of addressing the impact of divorce on individuals’ call to marriage. Those who come from divorced families are more likely to struggle in their own marriages, be less open to having children, or experience a fear of commitment. By offering support, mentorship, and a witness to the possibility of a happy and fulfilling marriage, Life-Giving Wounds aims to guide individuals towards embracing the vocation of marriage.
Life-Giving Wounds fills a crucial void in the ministry of the Catholic Church by addressing the wounds and effects of divorce on individuals and families. Through retreats, online resources, and support groups, this ministry provides a path to healing and a way forward for adult children of divorce. By recognizing the impact of divorce on individuals’ call to marriage, Life-Giving Wounds aims to support and guide individuals towards embracing the vocation of marriage and building strong, resilient families.