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Retreat for adults from divorced families

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OCEANSIDE — A healing retreat for adults with divorced or separated parents will be held from March 1 to 3 at the Mission San Luis Rey Retreat Center.

This will be the first time that Life-Giving Wounds, a nationally known ministry focused on adult children of divorce, has presented a retreat in Southern California.

The event was made possible through the collaboration of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the dioceses of Orange and San Diego.

Founded by Dr. Daniel Meola and his wife, Bethany, Life-Giving Wounds is a 501c3 nonprofit that offers peer-led retreat ministries and support groups, and online ministry and outreach, among other things. The Meolas wrote a book, titled “Life-Giving Wounds: A Catholic Guide to Healing for Adult Children of Divorce or Separation,” recently published by Ignatius Press.

“We brought this retreat to San Diego because we’ve heard so many powerful stories and testimonies from this ministry,” said John Prust, director of the Diocese of San Diego’s Office for Family Life and Spirituality.

Janelle Peregoy, who oversees separated and divorced ministry, said she is “really excited” about Life-Giving Wounds because it acknowledges that divorce doesn’t only affect the ex-spouses.

“The reality is that divorce is a fracturing of family,” she said, “and so, the Life-Giving Wounds model really helps give voice to adults from divorced families.”

Peregoy said that many children of divorced parents are forced “to grow up faster than we would have naturally done,” and statistics show an increased likelihood of substance abuse and mental health challenges among this demographic.

As a young adult, Peregoy found herself uncertain whether she even believed in marriage, as a result of her own parents’ divorce.

She recalled her experience attending a Life-Giving Wounds retreat two years ago in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

“It was so nice to be in a room … with other people that had similar experiences,” she said. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, but we just found that it was really easy to talk about emotions and not having to explain ourselves.”

According to the organization’s website, the retreat schedule includes presentations by retreat leaders, guided small-group discussions, guided journaling, and opportunities for Mass, confession and prayer.

A licensed counselor and a priest are present at every retreat, so that participants’ psychological and spiritual wounds can be addressed, Peregoy said.

She said that the upcoming retreat will be followed by the formation of a new Southern California chapter of Life-Giving Wounds. The plan is to be able to hold additional events in the near future.

Prust said, “It’s almost impossible to overestimate how many lives can be benefited from people taking the time to look at their woundedness and allowing God’s grace to begin to heal them.”

The cost to attend the retreat is $375 for single-occupancy or $325 for double-occupancy for those who register by Thursday, Feb. 1. After that, there will be a $50 increase.

For more information, call (858) 490-8292 or email jperegoy@sdcatholic.org.

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