Hi Sister Mary Martha, I love your blog! I've been following for a long time, but never commented before. I'm writing to ask for your prayers and for a patron saint suggestion. I have been outcast from my family and so the holidays are a difficult time for me. You see, my father molested me when I was little. At the time, my mother knew, but she refused to help me or protect me. I told my siblings and husband about it only after my father died. It seems they all blame me for what happened. It doesn't make sense; as if a little girl was supposed to be able to fight off a grown man. My husband left me because he thought, if we had children, that I would abuse them. (I know first hand the horrors of abuse and would never do that to anyone!) Anyway, I am kicked out of the family, written out of the will, and not welcome at any Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings. Please pray for my family, that they can some day realize their mistake. And please pray for me, that I might some day be at peace about all this. Do you have a patron saint you can suggest for me? Thank you SO much!
It might be that they don't so much blame you as they simply don't believe you. They can't deal with the idea that what they think to be true about their father and the life they lived in your family is not true. If they let the truth in even for a second, they cannot blame their beloved father.
All of this is a tragedy. For you and for them. But tragedy cannot be the prevailing wind of our lives. They may never come around. You need to forgive them, which I think is extremely difficult to do when they aren't trying their best.
So for now, don't try. Put them on the back burner, but don't let them simmer. Turn the heat off of those pans back there. Concentrate on the front burners. Your life. What it is going to be, how to be fulfilled in life. When you eyes float to the back burners, pull them back to the front.
You CAN do that. There are people who need you. People who also, for a wide variety of reasons, have a difficult time over the holidays. They need your help and your love. They already have your understanding, don't they. They are surprising easy to find.
Start by volunteering. A soup kitchen, the Catholic Charities, a nursing home. Cook, visit, help. The gratitude you will receive will fill the empty spaces.
Find a support group. If you can afford therapy, get some, but at least find a support group and go.
And, of course, I have a patron saint for you! She is so perfect for you! And only recently canonized. Mother Mary MacKillop, founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (also known as the Josephites).
Kicked out of your family? She was excommunicated (and still made it to canonization).
Why was she kicked out of the church? For exposing a sexual abuser.
Yes, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. You know what else it is? Thursday. A great day to find those people who need you. You need them.