Project Rachel

We know there is much controversy in our society over the matter of abortion. We also know abortion can cause intense emotional and spiritual pain. At Project Rachel, we do not judge or condemn.

Through Project Rachel Ministry, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland offers hope, understanding, and healing to women and men whose lives have been affected by abortion. We do this through developing tools for parish leaders and hosting a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Weekend (usually in the Spring) and compiling other resources to help each person become a source of compassion and healing for those impacted by abortion

Hurting, but not ready for a retreat? 

It's O.K. not to feel O.K. about your role in an abortion and be uncertain about what you need to find hope, mercy and healing. Contact us so we can begin a confidential conversation about what Project Rachel can do to accompany you through your struggle.

Next Rachel's Vineyard Retreat Weekend - April 2023

The next Rachel's Vineyard Retreat Weekend in Maine is scheduled for April 14-16, 2023.

The retreat includes two overnights and four meals.  Arrival time is usually 5:30 p.m. Friday, and departure is 11:30 a.m. after Sunday Mass. While the retreat is organized by the Catholic Church, participants do not need to be Catholic to register for the weekend and are welcomed to the healing offered through the experience.

The weekend is experiential, Scripture-based, and non-judgmental, with no more than eight participants. The retreat location is not publicized to provide a safe place for participants.

Anyone personally affected by an abortion, including women, men, relatives, and former abortion workers is welcome.  Pre-registration is required.

To talk about attending a retreat, please leave a confidential message by:

A member of the Project Rachel team with return your message within a day or two, usually in the evening or on the weekend

Benefits of attending a retreat

 Encounter God’s unconditional love and forgiveness
 Strive to forgive self    
 Work to forgive those who contributed to the abortion experience
• Build a spiritual relationship with the baby

Those who have attended a retreat said:

  • “This was a unique and profound experience. The Church doesn’t turn its back on you. There’s a great sense of sharing and solidarity among the retreat participants and team....”

  • “This is a healing process that proceeds step by step and is well prepared and well organized...."
     
  • “The sharing of stories in the small group, including our family of origin and the traumatic events of our life was a big help...I never felt uneasy, and hearing other stories was positive. This retreat will help me a lot in my faith journey."
     
  • “The retreat allowed me a most precious encounter with Jesus...words alone can’t express the importance of this experience for me … Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for such a deep encounter…”

Already participated in a retreat weekend?

Click to Learn about resources for continuing the healing after a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat experience

Additional Resources

Rachelsvineyard.org for further information about the weekend retreats, helpful resources there and comments from some retreat participants

HopeAfterAbortion.com resources and information through national Project Rachel Ministry

How to Talk to a Friend Who's Had an Abortion

Zoe: A Women's Center provides post abortion emotional and spiritual support for both men and women. 

The USCCB's Project Rachel site has parish resources and information, including suggestions on how to talk with someone who has had an abortion. You may also call their nationwide toll-free number at 888-456-HOPE (4673) during regular business hours (Eastern Time Zone) to speak with someone at the national office.

"The Language of Compassion" is a presentation that assists parishes and groups explore ways to minister to those who are post-abortive.  Call 207-321-7897 or email projectrachel@portlanddiocese.org to request more information.

It's O.K. to not feel O.K. about an abortion.

There is hope, mercy and healing available

Those who know said:

  • “I’m told most women go on with their lives. Maybe I’m crazy. I made the biggest mistake in my life, and I can’t take it back...I listened to all the reasons why I shouldn’t have the baby.” 
     
  •  “I now feel that, despite all the overwhelming outside pressure, I was pitiful in my inability to stand up against others’ reasoning, no matter how powerful.  I buckled under fear.”  (Jennifer O’Neill, actress)
     
  • “Abortion promised to free me from two crisis situations [not being able to finish college, and being with an abusive boyfriend] and instead, it has nearly destroyed me.”
     
  • “My ignorance, fear, and youth were used against us. If anyone had told me of the secret shame, fear, pain, and lifelong regret, my baby would be alive today.”
     
  • “Abortion does not just hurt women and their children. It hurts the fathers of the children. It leaves a gap in a family where a child should be, a child who was wanted, and already loved.  It is a pathway of destruction that no woman deserves.” (A Grandmother)

Want to contribute to post-abortion healing in Maine?

  • Start by praying for those who are hurting and sharing info about Project Rachel ministry.
  • If you would like to donate, please make your check payable to "Diocese of Portland" putting "Project Rachel" in the subject line; mail the check to: Office of Lifelong Faith Formation, 510 Ocean Ave, Portland ME 04103.
  • Click to learn about other ways to help.