US author’s message of hope comes to Scotland
A visiting author from the US has a powerful message of hope to share with Catholics in Aberdeen and Glasgow in the coming weeks.
At the invitation of Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Dawn Eden has been invited to speak at a number of events in Aberdeen Diocese. After that, she will address students at Glasgow University’s Catholic chaplaincy. Ahead of Ms Eden’s visit, Bishop Gilbert said: “It is worth stressing that her talks are not relevant only to those who have experienced sexual abuse, nor is she intent on raising spectres from the past,” he said. “It is on the broader theme of the wisdom available within the Catholic tradition for coming to terms with suffering.”
Ahead of her visit, Ms Eden, who has written two books—The Thrill of the Chaste and My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints—told the SCO that her own experiences of childhood sexual abuse, and subsequent healing, are something she hopes can help people who have suffered in a similar way.
“I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse who, after a long journey from the Jewish faith of my birth to agnosticism and near-hopelessness, found healing through Jesus Christ in the Sacramental life of the Catholic Church,” she said. “Before my conversion, I was a rock journalist, writing for the British magazine Mojo and interviewing artists such as Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, and Elton John. Once I entered the Church, I wanted to turn my writing towards helping people draw nearer to the love of God.”
It was during the writing of her second book that Ms Eden discovered her vocation: ‘to help fellow victims of trauma locate their own sufferings in the sufferings of Christ.’ She added that it is ‘very meaningful to me to take part in the Diocese of Aberdeen’s efforts to bring healing in the wake of the scandal at Fort Augustus.’
“My hope for those attending my talks is, first, that people who have suffered abuse or any kind of trauma will learn that they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and they have more friends in heaven than they realise,” Ms Eden, who, last year, delivered Westminster Archdiocese’s annual Theology of the Body lecture in London, said.
“So many adults who have suffered childhood sexual abuse carry around misplaced guilt—the mistaken feeling that they are somehow responsible for the evil that was perpetrated upon them.
“If you have internalised such guilt, discovering that there is a saint who suffered similar wounds brings a sense of freedom. You realise the sin was not yours, it was the abuser’s.
“What is more, you can then begin to trace how, in the saint’s life, God worked all things together for good. Recognising that, it becomes possible to see how, in your own life, nothing that you have suffered can separate you from the love of Christ.”
—Ms Eden will be speaking at Glasgow University’s Catholic chaplaincy on March 6. Prior to that, she will speak at a number of events in Aberdeen Diocese. To find out more about Ms Eden’s programme in Aberdeen Diocese, visit: http://www.dioceseofaberdeen.org/?p=3208