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This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.

Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
Learn More: Saint Eugene De Mazenod and Saint Fabiola

Has anyone been through BE? Did you find it helpful?

I attended a retreat this fall and left midway, because the trauma brought up from my brief marriage was still too fresh. I'm thinking of putting the BE weekend offered in the late spring on my calendar to try again now that I've grown quite a bit. However, I questioned some of the suggestions by lay advisors, such as that a participant whose husband of 30 years had died only 16 months earlier already start to date again. I'd appreciate feedback on your experiences.
Feb 17th 2014 new
I went thru BE after about two and a half years seperation just after the divorce was final from a 25 year marriage. It was recommended to me by a preist. I had a tremendous amount of healing. About a year later I became a facilatator for the BE weekends. I'd highly recommend it to anyone greiving from their loss.
Feb 17th 2014 new
(quote) Nicole-911816 said: Has anyone been through BE? Did you find it helpful?

I attended a retreat this fall and left midway, because the trauma brought up from my brief marriage was still too fresh. I'm thinking of putting the BE weekend offered in the late spring on my calendar to try again now that I've grown quite a bit. However, I questioned some of the suggestions by lay advisors, such as that a participant whose husband of 30 years had died only 16 months earlier already start to date again. I'd appreciate feedback on your experiences.
Nicole, I did my first BE weekend 6 months after I separated from my husband. I became a facilitator after that, and over the next 10-12 years I served in a number of roles, including trainer and local Board President. I was involved heavily and for so long because I simply loved it--nowhere else had I seen the Holy Spirit at work so concretely! It also fed several other areas of my soul which had been starved for, well, decades. So, I would highly recommend BE. But it is not for everyone. Some people may be too raw to benefit from the process (and the length of time of rawness will vary from individual to individual). The ministry is best for those who are stuck in the grieving process, not simply just for anyone who's marriage has died whether through divorce or actual death--but it can be of service to anyone in those circumstances.

The BE ministry is for helping people learn to live and love again, but that does NOT mean it's for getting a person to date again! Not knowing all the details surrounding the one facilitator's suggestion to the participant that she start dating, I can't say whether the comment was inappropriate or appropriate. However, I will say that people involved in BE are all at various stages of the journey, and some may be more healed than others; some may also have certain personality dysfunctions which, while being fairly healed from grief, may serve to override the guidelines of the BE process and thus say or do something not so good. Mistakes can happen anywhere. But those mistakes don't condemn the process.

hug theheart
Feb 17th 2014 new
John & Lina:

Thank you for your comments. Everyone I met at BE was very kind. I thoroughly believe them to be well-intentioned and considered the suggestion I mentioned to be overzealous and based on where the facilitor was rather than where the participant was.. The leaders invited me back for another weekend whenever I was ready, and I was touched to receive a Christmas card from one. I just don't know how to ascertain whether BE might be fitting now. How can I tell whether I'm "stuck" grieving or whether my progression of grief is normal and healthy? Thank you,
Feb 17th 2014 new
Nicole,

I'm also on a BE team. I actually didn't make my weekend until 10 years after my divorce. I did so despite feeling like I was completely healed, because I wanted to be on the team and help others. Turns out there was a little bit of healing left for me to do, so it was well worth it. As for someone suggesting you date again; from my experiences in BE, I've seen a clear message that people who have lost a spouse should be very careful about it because it's easy to get into a relationship for the wrong reasons. I can verify that from my own experience. Even 2 years after my divorce I really wasn't in the right mindset to enter another relationship and I ended up in some unhealthy ones. When are you healed, or when will you be healed? I wish I could give you an easy answer. It's not like you can say, "I've reached this point, now I'm healed." I can point to a sign in my healing that I had at least "crested the hill" so to speak. After the divorce I hated going to the grocery store because the wrong song coming over the p.a. would bring tears to my eyes. One particular shopping trip I caught myself humming along to a song and realizing that, despite it being a sappy song that used to put a lump in my throat, I was dry eyed and experience no negative emotional effects. I wish I could tell you when you'll be healed. I can tell you that going through the grief on a BE weekend will be tough, but before the weekend's over, you will have done the majority of the heavy lifting. I hope this helps. God Bless you on your journey through this trying time.
Feb 17th 2014 new
When I attended BE I almost left after the first night but hung in there mostly to support another woman in my small group. Unfortunately I was placed in a small group in which a woman's children suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her former husband. It was very disturbing to me as well as the other women in the group. There really needs to be professional counselors available. Also some of those attending were not divorced/widowed because they also allow those who are "separated". In fact one of the leaders was not divorced/widowed, only separated. It is definitely a different emotional state to be separated as opposed to divorced/widowed. I met a woman whose brother met his future wife at a BE weekend; both were separated at the time. They did not encourage annulments for those who were divorced, in fact it was never mentioned. I asked one of the leaders about annulments and she said that she wasn't going to wait to get an annulment as she had already started "dating". The attendees and leaders were "nice people" however I felt there wasn't strong leadership (all positions are unpaid and voluntary). It reminded me a lot of Retrouvaille, with lay people taking on roles that would be more effective if filled by professionals. I did have a healing experience on a retreat for divorced (no separated or widows) Catholics at a local retreat house with professional counselors. It was very professionally done with followup support meetings every week afterwards. Blessings to you.
Feb 17th 2014 new
I'm sorry to hear your experience wasn't what it should have been Joan. The group I'm in does have a professional counselor on call during each weekend including a scheduled check in call during which the professional can make a judgement call based on the observations of the team. As for the discussion of annulments, that depends on the members of the team. Personally, I talk about the importance of annulments and their healing power in my talks, and when the appropriate opportunity presents itself, in small group, but always within the context of my own experiences. Part of the issue is that (at least here anyway) the retreats are open to non Catholics as well. As for whether those running it should be professionals; BE is, at it's core, a peer to peer ministry based on the concept of wounded healers. At the same time, we need to make it clear that we're not professionals and that's not what we're there for. I can't speak for the group in your area, but we do that here and it's a part of the script that all BE groups should be following.

God Bless,

Pat
Feb 18th 2014 new
Personally, I think Catholics should have an only-Catholic related divorce recovery group. When I was going through my divorce there was only 1 program available with any Christian background at all: DivorceCare. While this protestant group offered a little direction, I really needed to hear what my Church has to say: sacraments, spirituality, healing, forgiveness, mercy, annulments, etc. These topics are not discussed in mixed religion support programs. Separated, divorced and widowed do not belong in the same group. Our grief and issues are very different. Separated Catholics should be in counseling to repair and restore their marriage if at all possible. Widows have grieving and permanent loss issues. Divorced have ongoing issues (betrayal, feelings of failure, perhaps having to maintain some kind of relationship with the former spouse for the sake of children, ex-inlaw family issues). The losses come in waves, not at all once. The support system crumbles as married couples and families that were once considered 'friends', seem to vanish. Seeking new moral friendships and support for children in this environment has been another emotional challenge. My experience has not been good. My faith continues to waiver and while I know Jesus is presemt in the Eucharist, sometimes, that just isn't enough. As a Catholic, I would not attend a BE program unless there were breakout groups specifically targeted to the unique circumstances of separated, divorced, widowed.
Feb 18th 2014 new
(quote) Nina-927863 said: Personally, I think Catholics should have an only-Catholic related divorce recovery group. When I was going through my divorce there was only 1 program available with any Christian background at all: DivorceCare. While this protestant group offered a little direction, I really needed to hear what my Church has to say: sacraments, spirituality, healing, forgiveness, mercy, annulments, etc. These topics are not discussed in mixed religion support programs. Separated, divorced and widowed do not belong in the same group. Our grief and issues are very different. Separated Catholics should be in counseling to repair and restore their marriage if at all possible. Widows have grieving and permanent loss issues. Divorced have ongoing issues (betrayal, feelings of failure, perhaps having to maintain some kind of relationship with the former spouse for the sake of children, ex-inlaw family issues). The losses come in waves, not at all once. The support system crumbles as married couples and families that were once considered 'friends', seem to vanish. Seeking new moral friendships and support for children in this environment has been another emotional challenge. My experience has not been good. My faith continues to waiver and while I know Jesus is presemt in the Eucharist, sometimes, that just isn't enough. As a Catholic, I would not attend a BE program unless there were breakout groups specifically targeted to the unique circumstances of separated, divorced, widowed.
Nina, I too attended "Divorce Care" and as good as it was, it definitely lacked in areas that are very dear to me. It was facilitated by an unpaid volunteer however because everything is on DVD and scripted, the volunteer had very little impact. Also the program itself is run by a paid adult minister at the church who sponsored the program.

I agree with you in regards to the different emotional states of the various "single" states; widowed is not like divorce and neither one is like separated. The retreat house where I attended the Catholic Divorce retreat also has a widowed retreat once a year.

The professional coordinators of the program at the retreat house said they would even like to separate the sexes; a divorced women's retreat and a divorced men's retreat. Unfortunately they would never be able to fill the spaces for the men's retreat and would have too many women to fill the spaces for the women's retreat. The Divorce Care program separated the sexes during discussion time, which I thought was an excellent idea. The BE program does not separate the sexes in small groups, probably because there are usually so many more women than men.
Feb 18th 2014 new
And may I suggest an additional angle: that the help administered during any sort of program, be it BE or another, is coming from the Holy Spirit, flowing THROUGH the facilitators? So, healing happens when the Spirit gives and the wounded person receives, even though the conduit may be a bit faulty. Our God is a dang big God, and He can work through what appears to be imperfect, not ideal, maybe even supposed distasteful means. So much depends on the person's viewpoint!

Like the man with twin sons, who have very disparate personalities. So, for one, he filled the boy's bedroom to the ceiling with gifts of all shapes and sizes. Upon seeing the presents, that son put his hands on his hips and said, "Is that all there is?" The second son went to his bedroom, and when he opened the door, he saw the biggest pile of manure possible for a room that size. Immediately, that son dropped to his knees and began digging. The father questioned him about that, and the son replied, "With all this poop, there must be a pony!"

I know it can be frustrating, disappointing, even painful, when our expectations aren't met and we think a particular avenue has failed us. Maybe in regards to the various divorce-help groups, conditions may be less than ideal, but nuggets of gold can yet be mined, and help and healing can still be experienced. ??

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