Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Dawn Eden's new project.



A book of saints who were abused.
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I've always wanted to do a book on the lives of saints who were abused - be it sexually or physically - to be a help to kids who live in abusive situations, as well as those adult children who had been abused.  The saints are truly our help and models in our earthly pilgrimage - their example and intercession can sustain us in any difficulty.  As a kid I read the lives of the saints in every available book from the library - I still do, which is one reason I love Magnificat - the editors always include biographies of the saints for each day.  The lives of the saints certainly helped me endure a difficult childhood.  Devotion to the saints, as well as to the Divine Child Jesus is especially efficacious in healing the wounds left behind by childhood abuse - wounds that always remain as a sort of stigmata, but are transformed by the merciful love of God reflected in the wounds of Christ and his saints.
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New book.
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New York City, N.Y., Jun 7, 2011 / 06:00 am (CNA).- Dawn Eden, a popular Catholic author known for her work on chastity in the modern world, is set to release a new book on the central role of the saints in healing wounds from childhood sexual abuse.

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“I was struck by the sheer number of saints who experienced childhood sexual abuse – there were many more than I had imagined – and how relevant their stories were to people living in the present day,” Eden told CNA in a June 2 interview.
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Eden, the author of the 2006 bestseller of “The Thrill of the Chaste,” said the inspiration for her new book came from her discussions on chastity with thousands of young people.

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“It became apparent to me that a major reason people resist the Church's teachings on chastity and the culture of life is because they have suffered childhood sexual abuse, or have witnessed sexual inappropriateness,” Eden said.
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She said that victims of this kind of abuse often believe that they are impure or have been defiled by what happened to them. - Finish reading here.
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A couple of saints I hope Dawn Eden might consider including in her book:
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Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio:  Born in Pescosansonesco, Pescara, on 13 april 1817 - died Naples 5 may 1836. The short life of the young blacksmith was marked by a series of tragic losses (his father, then his mother) and a painful disease in a leg, as well as severe abuse from his employer. In Pescosansonesco there is a sanctuary, and behind the altar there is still the spring used by young Nunzio to wash his wound. That water is believed to be miraculous. His shrine is one of the most famous and popular in the Pescara Valley. - Source 
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Santo Nino Cautivo:  Protector of the kidnapped or abducted, especially those children of any age who have been similarly caught up in vice, drugs, slavery, difficult circumstance and life problems. - More information.
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Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha:  She certainly suffered abuse from pagan tribesmen.
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The Uganda Martyrs.
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Albertina Berkenbrock: Albertina Berkenbrock was born on 11 April 1919 in São Luís, Imaruí, Santa Catarina, Brazil. She was baptized on 25 May 1919 and confirmed on 9 March 1925. She made her First Holy Communion on 16 August 1928.   Albertina grew up in a devout family. She willingly helped her parents at home and on the land.  At an early age she learned to pray with deep devotion and was strong in the practice of her Catholic faith. She spoke of her First Communion Day as the most beautiful day of her life and had special devotion to Our Lady and to St Aloysius Gonzaga, a model of purity and the Patron Saint of São Luís.  Albertina was murdered by a would be rapist. - Vatican website.
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Prayers and best wishes to Dawn for the success of her book - I think it is very much needed.
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Art: Blessed Albertina Berkenbrock

19 comments:

  1. Now *that* is an awesome idea.

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  2. How wonderful, Terry. Were it not for the church and the Saints I would never have survived my childhood. I cannot imagine my life without the Saints. It is how I press on... Thanks, Terry.

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  3. Fantastic idea!

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  4. Certainly heroic souls, and God bless Dawn Eden for her project.

    Terry, something I don't understand about saints dedicated to purity is that there seems to be an absolute morbid fear of the opposite sex. St. Aloysisus Gonzaga, a "model of purity" is said to have never looked at his own mother in the face (after early childhood, I'd presume) or embraced her, and never looked at any woman ever (he didn't even know what his queen looked like, just the sound of her voice). There's endless stories of saints who never looked women in the face - of Padre Pio it is said that he didn't know what the women in his congregation looked like towards the end of his life.

    So if all the "models for purity" seem to treat the opposite sex as a radioactive bar of sin-uranium, how are we to take it seriously when the Church says the natural attraction and interaction of men and women is a good thing, when great saints thought there was impurity in even looking at one's family members?

    Once again, I am not knocking these holy people, only trying to understand a major disconnect as I see it. I mean, if this is how so many people saw sexual attraction, how can not be somewhat impure by its nature?

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  5. Aloysius suffered great tempation. I would imagine he attempted to avoid occasions of sin. Custody of the eyes...He was a Jesuit and not about the dating scene, lol.

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  6. Maria, I have no doubt he suffered great temptations and was trying to avoid the occasion of sin.

    But it also appears that he thought any and all attraction to the opposite sex was somehow impure, somehow a step down the road of unchastity. I mean, would any mother in the world not be appalled if her son refused to touch her or look at her? The truth is that some people, even saints, saw the opposite sex as sin-uranium.

    I remember I stopped going to the Catholic Answers forum shortly after some jackass was on there telling young men they should train themselves to be revolted by the female body so as to avoid unchastity. Lots of guys were on there saying how their FSSP priests told them its de facto a grave sin to go to the beach or the pool because there would be women in swimsuits, and of course its a mortal sin for a woman to wear a swimsuit.

    And you know what? These people may be prudes, but they seem awfully in line with Catholic tradition. The model for young people is a guy who refused to look at or show affection to his own mom because he was afraid of sin involved in it? And we're told not to disdain the natural attraction God placed in us - yet so many saints DO disdain it. Told there's nothing wrong with thinking a girl is pretty, and yet, there is, there is.

    The tradition is schizophrenic, it seems. I will never understand it. When we listen to the radical puritan crazies, they're only repeating sentiments the saints themselves would have approved of.

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  7. And I am not disparaging the Saint or his struggle - I am juts honestly trying to figure out how to apply the lives of the saints to my own without becoming a nervous wreck.

    It really does seem that prudery of the most extreme form is the only answer.

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  8. Mercury, I agree with you that some of the saints seem to go over the top. It almost seems as if they sin against charity in their attempt to avoid the sin of unchastity. As a mother that would break my heart if my own son couldn't even give me a hug. Maybe it it just goes to show that you don't have to be well-balanced to get to heaven. In Kathleen Norris' book "The Cloister Walk" there is a chapter on the virgin martyrs which shed some light for me on this subject.
    I think this book sounds interesting, and I hope I get the chance to read it. One saint that I hope she includes is St. Germaine Cousins. I never heard that she was abused sexually, but she certainly suffered physical abuse, to the extent that her stepmother excluded her from the house and made her sleep in the barn. She was ill from birth and the stepmother was afraid that "her" children would catch her affliction. It is a very sad, touching story, and she could be a patron to those whose step-parents are mean to them, and whose biological parent doesn't have the backbone or the desire to stand up for them. She only lived to age 22; her neighbors were impressed by her holiness and sweet nature.

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  9. Mercury--We need Terry. Remember what Terry said--there are all kinds of nuts out there. The thing w/ Aloysius to remember is that he was very young. I think he died when he was 24. Also. remember too that he needed St. Robert Bellarmine to help him w/ what Hardon referred to as "penitential ardor". Moderation in all things. But, hey, I am no Saint, lol!

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  10. Melody--Thanks. I never knew about Germaine Cousins. Isn't it wonderful that we have the Saints to help all of us, in such a particular way, for our own particular problem?

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  11. Terry: It will be interesting to see who Eden includes in the book. The trouble I have w/ Saints like Maria Goretti and Bl. Albertina Berkenbrock, is that they were virgin/martyrs. They are lauded for resisting rape as children,even unto death.

    I wonder though, what message does it send to those, who as children, were unable to overcome their abusers/rapists? For those w/ histories of abuse/rape in childhood, wouldn't this just lead one to conclude that somehow, if they were holier, that they might have been able to overcome their abusers via martrydon? I don't know. It is just a thought.

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  12. That's a good point, Maria. Maria Goretti's story, so beautiful in so many ways, can really lead to erroneous conclusions (it's better to let the guy with the gun kill you than be raped, etc.)

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  13. Thanks for this, Terri. I love the saints too & think those who can model endurance in this area are more needed today than we know. I never would have found my way to healing without them..

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  15. I can't imagine what life at court in Renaissance Italy was like that could be worse than going to the grocery store today, haha.

    I'm 28 now - maybe it's easier to be chaste than it would have been had I tried at a younger age, instead of just giving in to lust. I just don't know.

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  16. I don't know about anyone else, but I thought from the description that the midwife who verified after Bl. Albertina's death that she hadn't been violated was, in a sense, a kind of a violation. Very creepy.

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  17. Mercury-- I agree it is a bit difficult to find "saints of our day" that can relate to our modern issues. A good modern example of a loving wife, mother, doctor is St Gianna Molla. And Blessed Louis and Zélie Martin, parents of St Therese, had nine children. These saints were laypeople, just like you and I, focused on loving their spouses, and raising up their families, but always with their eyes on Jesus.

    Sara

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  18. I think it might be important to remember here that most of the early Saints who are honoured as "virgin martyrs" probably suffered rape in prison beforehand almost as a legal requirement. The Romans were afraid of divine retribution if they put a virgin to death. . . We do have later accounts of some individual holy women being protected miraculously from violation. The fact that such accounts exist tells us that such interventions were not the norm. . .
    In honouring them as virgin martyrs, the Church does not look to the physical integrity of their bodies as the proof of holiness, but to the spiritual integrity of their will and soul.
    In the case of Maria Goretti, we have an extraordinary instance of purity radiating forgiveness -- that is why she was canonized in the 20th century, that was the true nature of her victory.
    With regards to Saint Aloysius: it is now conjectured in recent biographies that he himself was probably the victim of sexual abuse on the part of women courtiers when he served as a page while still a little boy at the Spanish Court. This would account for his extreme physical shyness, modesty and almost pathological inability to raise his head when speaking to people. [During his noviciate, his superiors made him wear a large papier-mâché collar to force him to keep his face up].

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    1. Fr. Thank you very much for this comment, if you don't mind - I'm trusting you won't - I will publish it as a post.

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