I decided that I want to share this story with my newer followers. Almost a year ago I entered a writing contest at AlwaysCatholic.com where I was to tell of some profound experience in my life where divine providence played a role in my life. It is such awesomeness that I won third in the writing contest. Hope you enjoy my true story. This is a shortened and more simplified version of true events. I hope to write a booklet or a little something that tells my story, that encourages young women, girls et al. to come forward and tell what happened to them. The truth will set you free. Having the courage to tell what happened to you releases an immense weight and helps to heal the person. That is what I experienced.
When writing a personal story about Divine Providence, one should make sure not to omit the information that would answer certain simple, straightforward questions in the mind of the reader, such as the following: What did God do for you? Why did you need that? How bad off were you before God intervened? What would have happened if He had not stepped in? What good came of what God did?
For me, the answers to those questions are ultimately as simple as the questions themselves. God saved my life and my soul, literally. When our Lord acted to save me, I was at the lowest point in my life and seriously considering suicide. If God had not stepped in, I would have lost both my life and my salvation.
As I said above, at the lowest point in my life a ticket came into my hands by what some would call chance but what I know was divine providence. The ticket was to attend a Catholic Conference celebrating the Millennium. It was well after the cut off date so I couldn’t have gotten it on my own efforts. I know in my heart that God was calling me to that conference.
I am a cradle Catholic. Having been raised in the faith I had knowledge of it, but that knowledge was superficial, just memorized facts. I believed what I was told because that was how I was raised but I had no understanding of the fullness of the Catholic faith in my heart. In my late teens I started attending a Catholic university which was faithful to the Magisterium. It was at this place that I began to experience and know the fullness of the Catholic faith.
Due to health issues I had to live off campus and attend the university part-time. Over the next couple of years I began to feel lonely. I wasn’t able to see my friends nearly as much as I was previously able to, and I felt detached from my friends who were living on campus. I ended up renting a room from a lady professor, which led to my becoming acquainted with her handyman. My main focus at this time was my studies but I have to admit it was a nice feeling knowing a man was paying attention to me. After conversing with this guy for a couple of months he asked me out to lunch. We went out and I enjoyed myself. Then one afternoon He asked me to hang out with him and some of his friends at night. At the time I didn’t see any harm in going out with him.
I went out that night and let’s just say that events didn’t go as planned. Unfortunately, some of the options I was given to choose from that night were not good ones. I was so scared and I didn’t know how to get out of the situation I was in. Because of my being scared I made some bad choices in trying to avert something worse from happening to me. By the end of the night, the handyman I went out with sexually assaulted me. At the first available time I told the professor that her handyman had sexually assaulted me. Well, one would think one would respond with understanding but what came out of the professor’s mouth next shocked me. She said “I thought he didn’t have the greatest outside life but I didn’t warn you because I didn’t want to be your mother.” After having heard her response I was both shocked and upset.
At the college I started seeing a counselor to help me deal with the fact that I was sexually assaulted. At the beginning she seemed like a good counselor. I had a very frustrating experience with the police department being less than helpful to say the least. unfortunately, I didn’t know my perpetrators last name. In addition, the police refused to ask the professor for his last name. As the semester continued tensions mounted. A couple of months later this professor forced me to leave her residence. This happened right before my last exam was to take place. This caused me great stress but thankfully I found a couple of friends who were willing to put me up for a couple of nights.
During the next semester I continued with counseling. I finally heard from the police in mid-march. I picked out my assaulter’s picture out of a photo lineup. Fast forward a bit…. During the summer I the police informed me that the guy who assaulted me moved to the state where I attended college. This wasn’t good news. I was scared. After I returned to college I continued with counseling.
The previous year I had filed a complaint against the professor for her awful treatment of me after she found out that I had been sexually assaulted and for being unwilling to give up my perpetrator’s last name. During the previous year my counselor asked me to write a feelings letter and to write a journal of my feelings over a short period of time, so I did. When a person is violated, having that person write a feelings letter or journal is a therapeutic tool to help that person vent their feelings about the incident.
During the summer our previous president had retired from his post. At the beginning of the fall semester our new president was introduced to the students. I felt the need for justice to be done, to get this criminal off the streets before any other girl or woman was hurt. It had been almost a year since my sexual assault had occurred but I had hit some road blocks along the way, with regards to both the police and the university. One day I happened to see the new President, a priest, walking around campus and I asked whether I could talk with him. He said Yes. I informed him about both my situation and the complaint I had made against the professor. I asked him to look into this and he agreed to check it out. I made it clear to him that I didn’t want my complaint to be swept under the rug. Over the following week a series of events unfolded that was unexpected to say the least. Before I knew it the staff at the university had falsely accused me of the unthinkable, and had decided to suspend me for something I didn’t do. They used my feelings letter against me and accused me of threatening this professor. I didn’t do this. I never thought of doing anything of the sort. All I ever really wanted was for this man who assaulted me to be taken to court in order to prevent him from harming anyone else. I didn’t want any other woman to have to experience the horror that I experienced. In addition, I thought that the university should at least talk to the professor since she had treated me so badly.
I had formed a number of friendships at this university. This university helped me to experience the fullness of my faith. I loved and enjoyed attending this college. Its beliefs were in line with my beliefs. After I was suspended I felt like my heart was ripped right out of me. I began to ask, why did this happen to me? How could God let this happen to me? How could this university which I loved and adored treat me so horribly? I became severely depressed. I thought this college would handle my problem the correct way but they didn’t. The staff at the college stabbed me in the back, scapegoated me. It was the year 2000, and our diocese was getting ready to celebrate the millennium with a huge conference located about a half hour drive away. But, unfortunately there weren’t any tickets left. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was meant to attend this conference. I was friends with my parish youth minister at the time so I talked with her about getting a ticket to the conference. She said that she would keep her eyes open for a ticket. Then a couple of days later she gave me a call, and told me that her father became ill so I could have his ticket. This was divine providence. Now I was able to go to the conference. The millennium celebration conference took place a week after I was suspended. But, during that week I became very depressed. I was in so much pain that I thought life wasn’t worth living. I was seriously contemplating committing suicide.
I attended the Sunrise 2000 Conference. I was able to see some friends of mine from the diocese who I hadn’t seen in a long while. Seeing them was good. I really enjoyed the praise and worship in the different workshops. There was also some people from my parish who gave me support and cared so much for me during this conference it was so touching. While at the conference I felt this very strange awesome, soothing feeling come upon me. The presence of the Holy Spirit calmed me, soothed me and gave me this feeling that I was loved. God showed that he loved me. I do believe that it was divine providence that I was given a ticket when there was none left, and that it was divine providence that I attended the conference. I knew I was exactly where God wanted me.
After this I struggled. Then I shelved my issues and anger and pretended I was okay, when I wasn’t. Anger built inside me, anger specifically toward the Church and the Church officials who wronged me like never before. Plus, I didn’t feel like I could trust that another counselor wouldn’t violate my rights as a patient, the confidentiality between the client and counselor. I could not understand how much my counselor as well as others minimized my traumatic event. It was like they were saying that I should have been over this within a year even though this guy seriously violated me. I could not grasp how those in power at this university did not walk the walk and scapegoated me in order to hide the truth. Universities tend to hide the true number of sexual assaults as well as other crimes that happen on campus or those that involve a faculty member. All I ever wanted to do was to bring justice to this man in order to prevent him from hurting any other women. I can attest to the fact that anger eats inside of you. It only hurts you and not the person(s) who wronged you. About four years ago I became a member of twitter and then started blogging. Throughout this period I still had anger inside me and was still struggling. I had this love-hate relationship with the Church. Unfortunately, my anger came out in words not so friendly toward the Church. Or at least some things that I could have toned down or worded in a better way. Then I met some wonderful Catholics on twitter which started my healing process. I never stopped believing in what the Church teaches but it was just very hard for me to attend mass and see a priest and not think of how another priest wronged me. In essence I had trust issues with the Church. How could I ever trust those in the Church again? Through my corresponding with other Catholics on twitter and on various blogs God restored my faith and helped me to trust the Church again. My husband played a big role in my reversion to the Catholic faith, too. My husband kept on saying to me that “these people are human, and are sinners. They wronged you but the Church itself did not wrong you”. It was extremely hard for me to separate the people who wronged me, who worked for a Catholic institution, from the Catholic Church. But, I did eventually. Now I am a reinvigorated Catholic or renewed in my faith and I am proud to be a member of the Catholic Church. Now, I want to learn as much as I possibly can about my faith. I am proud to defend my faith with vigor. Blessings and Glory to God. He is the Great Healer. God Bless!
Crossposted at both AlwaysCatholic and Teresamerica