Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Listen to my new talk: “Ways of Bringing the Divine Mercy to Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse”

So sorry to have been so long without a Dawn Patrol update (though I do post regularly on Twitter)! I have been busy with doctoral studies, as well as preparing for the upcoming publication of the Catholic edition of my first book, The Thrill of the Chaste, which I have thoroughly rewritten. You can read about both my studies and the Catholic Thrill in my recent interview for America magazine.

One of the many joys for me upon beginning my studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary was being invited by the seminary's Peace and Justice/Gospel of Life Apostolate to give a lunchtime talk to the 210 seminarians there. The organizers wanted me to share the message of my book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints from a pastoral-care perspective.

The September 22 talk, “Ways of Bringing the Divine Mercy to Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse," was recorded on audio, and now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can listen to it via SoundCloud.

Although the talk is geared toward seminarians, it is relevant for anyone who seeks to reach out to those who bear the wounds of abuse or trauma.

Also available for download are the handouts I provided to the seminarians: "What Forgiveness Is — and What It Isn’t: Five Things to Know and Share" and "Reflections from Pope Francis on Divine Mercy and Healing of Memory."

If you would like to give to support my studies and apostolate, click the button marked "Donate" in the sidebar to the right of this post. To bring me to speak in your area, write to me. Thank you and God bless you.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Priests, lay leaders recommend My Peace I Give You as a vital pastoral resource for healing sexual wounds

A special notice for visitors from ZENIT's Daily Dispatch:

Welcome, ZENIT readers! I am the author of My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, which has been recommended by many leaders in pastoral ministry as a valuable resource for bringing healing to those who have suffered sexual abuse. Click here to read an online sample.

Here are some of the things that priests and other pastoral caregivers are saying about My Peace I Give You:

  • Fr. David Meconi, S.J., editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review: "[Dawn Eden's] efforts ... serve as a microcosm of a greater story—the wounds of Christ’s body being healed by the grace of God—enabling a broken creature to stand up and announce that she is the daughter of an incessantly loving and ever-protective Father."
  • Fr. James Brent, O.P., Director of the Dominican Friars' Angelic Warfare Confraternity: "For anyone who has suffered from sexual abuse, Dawn’s book is a must read. The testimonies of victims who have read it are powerful testimonies indeed. But in my opinion, anyone who suffers from the wounds of sexual sin in any way whatsoever will also find in this book a powerful aid for healing and renewal."
  • Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., Superior General, Sisters of Life: "An inspired work ... powerfully moving and hope-filled. ... It is my hope that this book may become a resource readily available: in churches, schools, counseling centers, young adult ministries, libraries, and hospitals. Through it may many whose human dignity has been offended come to know their beauty in the eyes of God, and learn to sing in joy of His love and His mercy. I pray that for every reader this book will be an instrument of grace and instruction.”

My Peace I Give You has also been endorsed by Jennifer Fulwiler, Alice von Hildebrand, and Fr. James Martin, S.J.

You can find My Peace I Give You and the book's Spanish edition, Mi Paz Os Doy, at Amazon.comAquinas & More, and wherever fine Catholic books are sold.

For more information, write to me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Listen: I speak on "Healing the Memory: What St. Ignatius Loyola and Pope Francis Can Teach Us"

On July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I had the honor of speaking at Washington, D.C.'s Catholic Information Center on "Healing of Memory: What St. Ignatius Loyola and Pope Francis Can Teach Us."

The talk was almost entirely new. My aim was to make the core message of my book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints relevant for everyone seeking healing from painful memories—not only those who have suffered abuse—and to do so by way of Pope Francis's Jesuit spirituality.

Here is a recording of the talk and the question-and-answer period that followed, courtesy of the kind people at the CIC.

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Please pray for me as I prepare to move from Washington to Mundelein, Illinois, to do my doctorate in sacred theology.

Also, if you have benefited from my writing or speaking, please consider making a donation to help me as I continue my studies and as I continue to share the message of My Peace I Give You. Thank you and God bless you.

Monday, August 4, 2014

On the grace that saved an ink-stained wretch like me

Today I join the team at GetReligion, the long-running website that evaluates and critiques religion coverage in the mainstream media.

I tell about my media career—as well as my faith journey—in my introductory GetReligion post: "The inky-fingered Dawn."

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome, Get Religion readers!

I am thrilled to be joining the new Get Religion, which just announced that it will be rebooting and returning to independent status.

When the new Get Religion website launches on Monday, it will include a post in which I introduce myself. In the meantime, here are some articles that tell about what I do and what I've done:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Speaking July 31 in Washington on Ignatius Loyola, Pope Francis, & healing of memory

Please spread the word to anyone you know in the Washington, D.C., area, that I am speaking at the Catholic Information Center next Thursday, July 31—the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola—on "Healing the Memory: What St. Ignatius Loyola and Pope Francis Can Teach Us."

The topic is an adaptation of the message of my book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wound with the Help of the Saints that opens it up to anyone with painful memories, not only victims of abuse. It also brings in the wisdom of Pope Francis—who has much to say on healing of memory—and the Jesuit spirituality from which he draws his insights.

If you are planning to attend and are on Facebook (which I am not), could you please do me the favor of RSVPing there? I ask because I have found that often the people who need my message most—those who have suffered abuse and are locked in misplaced guilt—are reluctant to attend my talks for fear that they will be "found out." If victim/survivors see that a number of people will be there—and that, moreover, the event is advertised for "family and friends" of those who have suffered trauma—it will help them gain the courage to attend. Thank you and God bless you.

What a Holocaust scholar can teach us on moral cost of admitting divorced & remarried to Holy Communion

On a recent visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibit on collaboration and complicity in the Holocaust, "Some Were Neighbors," I saw a sign at the entrance bearing a arresting quotation from historian Raul Hilberg: "At crucial junctures, every individual makes decisions and...every decision is individual."

The words set the tone for the exhibit, which is, in the words of the museum's special-exhibits curator, intended to make visitors "think about their individual choices." And they succeeded in making me think, as a child of divorce and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse—abuse which is exponentially more prevalent in broken homes—about how parents' choices affect their children. It is an issue worth pondering at this time when some Catholic bishops, during the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, are suggesting the Church should admit civilly divorced-and-remarried Catholics to Holy Communion.

Robert Spaemann points out in the latest issue of First Things that those who argue it is more pastoral to change the Church's teaching are effectively saying that the most charitable thing to do is to pretend that decisions made out of disordered self-interest do not have human costs:

The Church admits that it handled the sexual abuse of minors without sufficient regard for the victims. The same pattern is repeating itself here. Has anyone even mentioned the victims? Is anyone talking about the woman whose husband has abandoned her and their four children? She might be willing to take him back, if only to ensure that the children are provided for, but he has a new family and has no intention of returning.

Another new article on the topic, this one in the journal Nova et Vetera by a team of theologians analyzing "Recent Proposals for the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried," observes that some arguments for admitting the divorced-and-remarried to Holy Communion are based on "a broad version of 'fundamental option' theory, which claims that one can distinguish a person’s concrete behavior from his or her basic orientation towards or away from God."

The article's authors respond that
St. John Paul II’s encyclical letter Veritatis Splendor condemns just such a “fundamental option” approach, denying that one “could, by virtue of a fundamental option, remain faithful to God independently of whether or not certain of his choices and his acts are in conformity with specific moral norms.” “With every freely committed mortal sin, [one] offends God...; even if he perseveres in faith, he loses ‘sanctifying grace,’ ‘charity’ and ‘eternal happiness.'
They add that, even if one accepts fundamental-option theory on its own terms,
a fundamental option is likely in play when one makes basic decisions about the orientation of one’s life. A decision regularly to engage in sexual relations outside of a valid marriage is surely such a decision. It is a chosen habituation and a way of life. It is hard to describe this as a fleeting sin of weakness or passion.
In other words, at crucial junctures, every individual makes decisions, and every decision is individual—and every decision says something about who we really are.

For more reflections on abuse, healing, and Catholic sexual teaching, see Sean Salai, S.J.'s interview with me in America.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Jesus did not live according to his fear"
I talk to Rachel Balducci about what it means to suffer in union with Christ

Today, Rachel Balducci, co-host of Catholic TV's "The Gist" and best-selling author of How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? And Other Delightful Mysteries of Raising Boys, has an interview with me on her Testosterhome blog about my book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints.

At one point, Rachel gives me the opportunity to talk about how Jesus, through his sufferings, shows us how to live authentically:

I love this quote from the book: “We begin to see that even our most painful times contain beauty, inasmuch as they led us — however tangled our path — to our present life in the love of God.” So are you saying we shouldn’t be afraid to suffer?

Fear of suffering is part of being human. St. Thomas Aquinas points out that Jesus himself was fearful of suffering; he quotes Augustine, who said that the One who had the true body and the true spirit of a man did not have counterfeit human feelings. What harms us is when we live according to our fear. Jesus did not live according to his fear. He lived according to his Father’s will, and he had confidence in that will. We need to have that same confidence. It is very hard–it means taking up our cross daily–but it is the only way to live authentically, learning to pour ourselves out in love of God and neighbor.

Read the full interview for more on redemptive suffering and healing. Many thanks to Rachel for the opportunity to share the message of My Peace!