By Carol Glatz
CNS photo/Paul Haring
By Drew Dillingham
Catholic News Service
(Thirteenth in a series)
ROME — Among all the people I have met in Rome, I was most honored to meet Veronique Garnier on Wednesday. She spoke to me and my classmates about how she was able to rebuild her life after she was sexually abused by a priest when she was 13. For more on her story, you can read her testimony in French in La Vie. She has graciously allowed me to share her experiences on my blog this week.
Veronique’s presentation was the most important of the semester. Thanks to her courage, she was able to share with us what she thinks is valuable in the recovery process for those abused. These are lessons my classmates and I can bring back to our own episcopal conferences, dioceses, parishes and religious communities. For example, one of the most crucial tasks of both clergy and laity is personally accompanying and listening to those who have been hurt.
Veronique was able to come forward to disclose her abuse because of her strength, faith and the grace of God. The personal accompaniment of Bishop Jacques Blaquart of Orleans, France, was also very important in her recovery. The relationship between Veronique and her bishop, which was based on listening, as well as the action of her diocese to hold healing and spiritual services for survivors of abuse (like Anointing of the Sick), was very helpful in her spiritual recovery process.