The First Yikes! I’ve now received TWO review copies of Dawn’s new book — “MY PEACE I GIVE YOU: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints”– from Ave Maria Press. Pre-order HERE, also on Amazon. Her excellent BLOG. And… and… HERE. More on the second copy below…
The Second Yikes! Dawn is writing a post exclusively for this blog — but which you can re-post to your heart’s content! — which is scheduled to be published here on HSH on 1 May, the feast of Saint Joseph. This is way cool, especially because the post will be on saying why Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s life experience is so significant to those who have suffered sexual abuse. This is significant also because Maximilian has not already been featured in the book. Moreover, Maximilian is the patron saint of none other than Pornchai Moontri. More on this below…
Back to the fact of receiving two review copies… Hmmm… What to do with the extra one?
I could give the second copy away to the reader with the best comment to make about healing from sexual wounds, but that wouldn’t work, since there is no “best” comment possible. All healing is wonderful!
Actually, I immediately thought of sending the extra copy to a common friend of readers here and over at Father Gordon MacRae’s These Stone Walls, namely, Pornchai Moontri. That copy will, please God, get speedily sent on 20 April,
hopefully to arrive by 24 or 25 April guaranteed to arrive by 3:00 PM on Monday, 23 April, which just happens to be the feast of Saint George, a great friend of Saint Michael! Those who don’t know Pornchai already will surely be inspired by reading the following articles. I only include a few here, since some of these articles have many other links for you to follow:
Let’s just make three quick citations from the above articles:
(1) My name is Pornchai Moontri, and I am prisoner #38284 in the New Hampshire State Prison. I come to the Catholic faith after a painful journey in darkness that my friend, Father Gordon MacRae, has asked me to write candidly. This is not something I do easily, but I trust my friend.
I was born in Bua Nong Lamphu, a small village in the north of Thailand near Khon Kaen on September 10, 1973. At the age of two, I was abandoned by my mother to be sold. A distant teenaged relative rescued me. He walked many miles to carry me away to his family farm where I worked throughout my childhood raising water buffalo, rice, and sugar cane. I never attended school, however, and never learned to read and write in Thai. Though my childhood involved hard work, I was safe and happy.
When I was 11 years old, my mother re-emerged in Thailand with a new husband – an American air traffic controller from Bangor, Maine. I was taken from Thailand by them against my will, and brought to the United States. This transition was a trauma to be endured. A month after my arrival in Bangor, my new stepfather’s motive for importing a ready-made Thai family became clear. I was forcibly raped by him at age 11, an event that was to be repeated with regularity over the next three years. I was a prisoner in his house, and resistance was only met with violence against me and against my mother. I was all of 100 pounds. I cannot describe this further. Welcome to America!
Being one of only three Asians in 1985 Bangor, and speaking little English, I did not readily comprehend my new names. “Gook,” “V.C.” and “Charlie” meant nothing to me, but I could sense the scorn with which such names were delivered. Because my English was poor, I was treated as though I was stupid. Part of my humiliation was that I had to get a paper route at age 12, and my earnings were taken from me to pay for the “privilege” of living in my captor’s house. Stephen King’s home was on my paper route. Mr. King once gave me a Christmas bonus of 25¢ for delivering his newspaper all year. The horror stories he wrote about Maine are all true. Remember the one with the evil clown? It’s true.
When I was 14, my English was better. I was a little bigger, and a lot stronger – and nothing but angry. Anger was all I had. So with it I fled that house and became a homeless teenager in and around Bangor. One day the Bangor police actually picked me up and forced me to go “home.” I would rather have gone to one of the ones Stephen King wrote about. I just fled again and again, and ended up at the Good Will Hinckley School for people like me. I was there for a year and got kicked out for fighting. I was always fighting. I fought everyone.
Back on the streets of Bangor, I began to carry a knife. At 17 and 18, a lot of people were after me. I lived under a bridge for a while and sometimes my mother would bring me things. I tried to climb out of the deep hole I was in by signing up for night classes at age 18 to finish my high school diploma. I was kicked out of Bangor High School for punching the principal.
One night, at age 18, something that lived in me got out. I got very drunk with friends, and we walked into a Bangor Shop & Save supermarket to buy cigarettes. I barely remember this. In my drunken state, I opened a bottle of beer from a case and started to drink it. The manager confronted me and ordered me to leave. I tried to flee the store, but the manager and other employees tried to keep me there. I tried to fight them off to flee. When I got outside, a manager from another Shop & Save had witnessed the incident and pounced on me. I was 130 pounds and was pinned to the ground by this 190-pound man. I think something snapped in my mind. IT was happening again. I fought, but his dead weight was suffocating me. The newspapers would later tell a different story, but this was the truth, and it is all I remember.
In jail that night, I was questioned for three hours. I was told that I had stabbed a man and was charged with attempted murder. I have no memory, to this day, of stabbing the man. The next morning, I awoke in a jail cell and was told that I was charged with Class A murder. The man had died during the night. I was told that I blew a .25 on the Breathalyzer, but the result was so high it was discarded as an error.
My stepfather could have hired expert counsel, but it was clearly not in his best interest that my life be evaluated so I was left in the care of a public defender who wanted this high profile murder off his desk.
(2) I was a teenager when I went to prison. Over the years, I was sent back to solitary confinement over and over, for up to three-and-a-half years at a time, because I was so hostile. The longer I was there each time, the more inhuman I felt and became. Living for years on end in solitary confinement joined with the guilt I felt for the life I took during a struggle when I was 18 years old. So I just gave up on myself as a human being. I sank to the very bottom of the prison I was in, and stayed there.
(3) Over the next few years, G [Father Gordon MacRae] and I discussed a lot about the life of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and about Saint Padre Pio. I drifted like an iceberg that was ever so slowly melting, and before I realized it, I was caught up in what happened to Saint Maximilian. I never had a hero, and he became one. I suddenly felt as though I was no longer just adrift at sea; the ice was all gone. Four years after my arrival in this new prison, on the day before Divine Mercy Sunday in 2010, G and I walked to the Prison Chapel where Fr. Anthony Kuzia, a nearby priest, Baptized and Confirmed me.
The next morning, Divine Mercy Sunday, I received my First Eucharist. I stepped that day out of the Dark Wood of Error into the light of day – the light of Christ. If anyone had told me of this just five years earlier, I would have thought them insane. Every demon that once controlled my life was expelled, and I was free.
(4) I dream of having an opportunity to reach those who are lost like I was, and broken, and brokenhearted, and lead them to Christ. I dream that I will be able to help young people who have had all trust broken and taken away from them. I dream that I will be able to live my life in freedom and in service to others. I dream that I will have the chance to honor someone who sought only my good despite his own captivity. I dream that I will live this life as a Catholic. I dream that I will be led to where I am supposed to go and that I will not be all alone when I get there. What used to be just a nightmare is now my dream.
I wonder if Pornchai might offer us just a sentence or two, whatever he wants, about Dawns book. That would be just so very wonderful… Not to put any pressure on you, Pornchai!
* * *
Dawn will be giving a talk and having a book signing at the launch of her book on Monday, April 23 [WAY COOL! = The Feast of Saint George!], 6:30 p.m., at the Catholic Information Center, 1501 K St. NW, Washington, DC.
My Peace I Give You (Ave Maria Press, 2012) is the first book ever to offer a Catholic spirituality of healing for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. It bears an Imprimatur (ecclesiastical approbation) from Washington Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl.
Here’s more from the Ave Maria Press website:
Eden uses her own story as a backdrop to introduce numerous holy people— like Laura Vicuña, Thomas Aquinas and Bernard of Clairvaux—who suffered sexual abuse or sexual inappropriateness, as well as saints such as Ignatius of Loyola who suffered other forms of mistreatment and abandonment. Readers seeking wholeness will discover saints with wounds like their own, whose stories bear witness to the transforming power of grace. Eden explores different dimensions of divine love—sheltering, compassionate, purifying, etc.—to help those sexually wounded in childhood understand their identity in the abiding love of Christ.
Sisters of Life Superior General Agnes Mary Donovan S.V. writes in the book’s foreword:
“An inspired work . . . powerfully moving and hope-filled. . . It is my hope that this book may become a resource readily available: in churches, schools, counseling centers, young adult ministries, libraries, and hospitals. Through it may many whose human dignity has been offended come to know their beauty in the eyes of God, and learn to sing in joy of His love and His mercy. I pray that for every reader this book will be an instrument of grace and instruction.”
The book has also received endorsements from Father James Martin S.J., Alice von Hildebrand, Barbara Nicolosi Harrington, and others.
======= And just to say:
Location:Washington, District of Columbia, United States
IP Address:Pontifical Faculty At The Dominican House Of Stud
Referring URL:(No referring link)
Our readers will know that I frequently push the Master’s Thesis of Dawn, which was wonderfully, successfully defended at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, the famous Saint Joseph Provence of the Dominicans! Here’s the PDF of this superbly written, spot on thesis: (Thesis).