By Kathy O’Connell, Founder
When asked to write a biography, I had to contemplate the question “Who am I, really?”
My journey, like many, has been frightening and lonely. I’ve often found myself in a place of darkness, struggling for the right answers and often denying that I am a victim of childhood and clergy abuse. While these memories remained buried inside of me, I have never been able to truly deny them. Recently, they all came to the surface as strong emotions and upsetting memories, putting my life in turmoil. I had to face the truth that, as much as I wished the abuse never happened, it did. This is who I am: a victim-survivor of child abuse, including abuse by a priest.
This journey toward healing isn’t easy and often puts me in a dark, lonely place. I’m told that it will get easier with time, although I am not convinced. As I work through my pain, I remind myself that, although my faith has been torn and shattered, God is working with me. Knowing our God works in mysterious ways, I remind myself that He’s led many good people to join me on my path to healing and reconciliation.
I am aware that the daily struggles are real.I am connected with my parish and involved in different ministries. With my involvement in these ministries, I find the peace and comfort I need in order to continue this journey and serve as a witness to God’s goodness with others.
Even though my feelings are still raw and sometimes overwhelming, I’m prayerful that this cross I have been given will strengthen my faith and help restore trust between me and my Church—leading to the healing I long for and need.
This process of healing is a daily challenge for me as I am remembering the abuse and coping with my feelings, but, above all, I am a survivor like you and so many others. I may be a survivor still in search of answers, healing and reconciliation, but still a survivor.