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Featured Grant Stories

“Return to Wholeness,” a Retreat for Female Survivors of Human Trafficking

March 12, 2019

Katie Berkedal, Program DirectorBy Katie Berkedal, Program Director

Franciscan Spirituality Center received a $6220 grant in 2018 to support their annual retreat for female survivors of human trafficking. Each woman invited to the second annual Return to Wholeness retreat had her own story of heartbreak, fear and abuse. Participants ranged in age from 21 to 62 and represented a range of cultures, races and belief systems.

Brought together for a weekend of rest and renewal, they became fast friends who bravely shared their pain and their hopes.

“I’ve been running for so long, it’s just nice to feel calm. I know he can’t hurt me here,” one survivor commented at dinner.

Many of the women expressed a desire to heal so that they could help others. A couple talked about what kind of mothers they hoped to be. One woman shared her dreams of finishing school and entering politics. Some of them expressed how surprised they were that anyone wanted to offer them this retreat, and how nice it felt to have their own room and a private shower.

Franciscan Spirituality Center will host the retreat again in 2019 and has invited all survivors of trauma to participate.