International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
PTSD and SPIRITUAL HEALING
A week-end retreat for Combat Veterans and Spouses or Significant Others
An expression of ICWVM's Pastoral Care for Trauma Survivors Program
Did your experience of war cause spiritual wounds that are still unhealed?
Do you wonder where God was in combat? Do you have questions about forgiveness? Do you find yourself estranged from God and those closest to you? Do you feel spiritually dead? Is part of you waiting to come home? Whether one year or forty years after combat, veterans still have lots of unresolved questions. Spouses and significant others have questions as well. This retreat will provide an opportunity to raise some of these questions and explore possible avenues to new life.
- November 4 - 6, 2012, at the Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Mariottsville, Maryland.
- The retreat begins with Dinner on Sunday and ends with lunch on Tuesday.
- Price for the Weekend for one person is $350. We encourage you to bring your spouse or significant other for an additional $75. All rooms at the Bon Secours Retreat Center come with double bed and a private bath.
- Your date, your location -- If you can organize a minimum of six couples plus up to five singles for a weekend, we will help you set up a spiritual healing workshop in your part of the country.
- Cost includes all meals plus lodging Friday and Saturday nights. For further information contact our officers. Scholarship funds are available for some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and to assist other persons who are not able to cover the full cost. In the past, some scholarship funds have been provided by the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund as well as from other sources. Make your need for scholarship assistance known when you register and we will provide as much help as possible.
What to Expect.
The spiritual healing workshops begin typically Friday afternoon and end Sunday at noon, however ther 2012 Mariottsville retreat begins Sunday afternoon and ends Tuesday at noon. The workshops contain three major threads:
- Sharing our Sacred Story. Each participant has an opportunity to share his or her experience -- to tell his or her story. For many of us, there are few settings where others want to hear our story--or provide a safe space to do so. This is one of them. We begin our sharing of stories where all, veteran and spouse, are present. Sometimes when it seems helpful, we may have separate break-out groups for women and men, or veterans and spouses.
last evening at the Retreat. Symbols on the altar. along with a Bible, plate of bread and chalice of wine, include a model of a soldier, a "boonie hat", a POW/MIA emblem, a candle. A brass bell at left was a gift to Alan Cutter from the community of Vietnam Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
- Receiving a Context. Our experience is looked at from the perspective of spiritual wounds in the Bible, and we create a safe space in which Biblical persons like King Saul can tell their own stories of PTSD. We hear about the working of grace in the healing process. At the end, facing the question, "where do we go from here?" we look at 'survivor missions' and the role of wounded healers.
- Expressing Community. At key points we celebrate our community in liturgy, sharing those experiences that we can let go and those that will nourish us for the future. Typically, most of the participants as well as the leadership are from Christian backgrounds, and Christian liturgies are used. We would welcome an opportunity to develop liturgies appropriate to persons from other backgrounds.
Final morning at the retreat. The chalice was used in the Central Highlands of Vietnam from 1968-1969..
The Leadership Team
Workshop leaders are drawn from the following ICWVM members:
Join a team drawn from these veterans for this week-end experience!
- Father Phil Salois, M. S., , National Chaplain, Vietnam Veterans of America and Chief of Chaplains, Boston VA Health System. Fr. Phil served in Vietnam as a foot soldier with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in Bien Hoa, Xuan Loc, Ham Tan and Tanh Linh and was awarded the Silver Star for Valor for a rescue mission he led on 1 March, 1970. After returning from Vietnam, he began studying for the priesthood and was ordained a priest on June 9, 1984. Phil's input focuses on the telling of the sacred story and the last evening liturgy.
- Rev. Dr. Alan Cutter, most recently General Presbyter of the Presbytery of South Louisiana, served with the Navy assigned to the Naval Advisory Group in the First Coastal Zone, working in and around Danang and points north. He is primary author of the memorial service used by many VVA chapters. Alan's input focuses on a fresh look at traditional concepts of evil, grace and resurrection through his own story and the "tripod and lense" perspective on how we react to combat and how our family, nation and church react to us.
- Rev. Dr. Jack Day, pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Baltimore County, Maryland, served as Assistant Brigade Chaplain with the First Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam in the vicinity of Dak To, Pleiku, and An Khe. He worked most closely with the 3rd Bn, 8th Infantry, 1st Bn, 8th Infantry, 3rd Bn, 12th Infantry, and 6th Bn, 29th Arty. His story, including his return to Vietnam in 2004, is on the web at Vietnam Chaplain: Central Highlands Journal. He is a founding member of Baltimore Chapter #451, Vietnam Veterans of America. Jack focuses on the three healing uses of Scripture and the final morning liturgy.
- Sister Linda McClenahan, O. P., , who served in Vietnam as a sergeant working in communications in the southern area of Vietnam, is now a Dominican Sister working with veterans in Wisconsin. "Sister Sarge" is a Racine Dominican Sister and focuses on healing uses of Scripture and the final morning liturgy.
- Patience Mason, a Vietnam wife, is author of the award-winning Recovering from the War.
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©1999-2012 International Conference of War Veteran Ministers, founded 1989 as the National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers. All Rights Reserved. The International Conference of War Veteran Ministers and National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers are registered trademarks. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ICWVM is funded by membership dues, donations, and major grants from organizations believing in our work. Contact information for officers and webmaster on separate page. This page last updated June 14, 2012.