A journey of hope and healing
One of the counsellors from Catholic Social Services shares her story of walking the journey with Maria*, a victim of family harm.
“I am blessed to be part of an organisation that stays on board with victims like Maria for as long as we are needed.”
Maria came to Catholic Social Services through the Police Family Harm Team due to episodes of family harm she was experiencing with her partner Jack.
Jack and Maria had only known each other for a short time when Maria helped him out by letting Jack board with her and her young child when he needed a place to live.
As a result, they ended up in a relationship. Jack was very protective of Maria. At first, she thought this was lovely, but soon Jack became abusive. Maria endured ongoing incidents of physical and psychological abuse. She was confused as she had strong feelings for Jack and yet was also putting up with his abusive behaviour.
Maria came to Catholic Social Services for counselling so she could work out why she was feeling this way. She soon learnt that she was stuck in the Cycle of Violence.
However, Maria had now fallen pregnant. Jack was loving and protective and all the positive things we hope for from a caring partner. But this too would eventually fade, and his controlling abusive behaviour started again.
When things got really bad, Maria would either call the Police or flee from Jack.
He would be remorseful and apologetic and say he would change and not do it again.
Maria thought things were going well when she got a job, however Jack would stalk her and made things very difficult for her. Her involvement with work colleagues was a trigger for Jack, and Maria became concerned for the safety of her work colleagues.
At one stage, when they were both doing better, Maria had asked me for Jack to come in for couple counselling. We tried it but decided it was not going to work out. We did not want the sessions to put Maria at risk. Her safety was our priority.
We did our best to connect Jack with another provider so he could work through his own historical issues.
Maria kept coming in for counselling and kept in touch via the phone.
After Jack was arrested, Maria quickly moved to have his things removed from her home and dropped off to his family. She also applied for a Protection Order to protect herself and her daughter.
We worked in collaboration with the Police to make sure Maria, her daughter, and her family received ongoing support and monitoring.
Maria was emotional and vulnerable and still feared Jack. She was also afraid that she would cave in if she saw him and once again be drawn to his charm and manipulation.
With ongoing support and encouragement, Maria became brave and stronger again.
She used her creative skills to create artwork to reflect her journey.
Now Maria has two daughters and is living in her own home.
She absolutely loves being a mother – she always dreamt of having a family of her own.
During our last session, Maria came in with a little rock with a kingfisher painted on it. She said it was her way of saying thank you to me for walking alongside her on her journey towards hope and healing. She chose the kingfisher because for her it represented a new beginning! I loved that and now it sits on my desk. My work is to help others like Maria. Catholic Social Services have counsellors and social workers who work with many women like Maria
They walk the journey with their clients to help them on their path of hope and healing. During COVID-19, they see first-hand the reality of families and individuals struggling to cope with the emotional, psychological and financial impact of lock-down.
*not her real name.
My gift in my Will is where my heart is
Christine Thomson a long-time supporter of the Caring Foundation, shares why she has left a gift in her Will.
Why do you support the Caring Foundation?
I’ve been donating to the Foundation for over 20 years. I’ve had experience of working with an organisation that is supported by the Foundation. And when I read about all the organisations that my donation helped, I was totally supportive. It answered my question whether these were good places (agencies), for my donation to go, too.
I’m particularly interested in helping mothers and babies. When I had my children, I had a very supportive family, but I thought what happens to mothers who don’t have this kind of support? That’s when I offered to help SPUC and then later Pregnancy Help.
I believe that the comprehensive list of charities that the Caring Foundation supports is really relevant to the needs of so many people today.
Why did you decide to give a bequest to the Caring Foundation?
Simply because I read the accounts of where my donation goes every year and I felt on an emotional level that I wanted to help them, too. The organisations bring help to many people across a wide range of issues and needs. These issues are where my heart is.
From personal experience over the years, I’ve always felt empathy with mothers and babies and for the safety of women and their children, in particular. And I find the Caring Foundation very active in this type of support and so many other areas, too.
What would you say to other supporters who might be considering a gift in their Will?
If you seriously wish to help those who are suffering in some way or other, so often through unfortunate events, please think seriously about leaving a bequest to the Caring Foundation. It’s a wonderful charity. I can see it gets to so many places of need in our society. This latest COVID-19 lock-down has expanded that need greatly.
A message from Bishop Pat – Be Not Afraid
My dear Sisters and Brothers,
COVID-19 is impacting people and families in so many ways. Some of you may be feeling isolated and alone, and others with family at home may be feeling quite stressed.
During these times, I often think of my motto: “Be not afraid”. I am told it appears over 365 times in the Bible. That’s one mention for every day of the year.
They are the words that Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection.
By reflecting on these words, no matter how challenging the situation, I put my trust in the Lord. I do not feel afraid.
For those feeling lonely or isolated another passage which may be helpful is “Be still and know that I am God”. During this lock-down, perhaps there is an opportunity to be still and to be aware of God’s presence in all the struggles and the worries that this pandemic is bringing.
I know that there are many in our community who are struggling deeply with the loss of jobs and income, and the insecurity of not knowing if they have a roof over their heads. Many have reached out to the agencies that the Foundation works with. For some of our agencies, the surge in demand for help has increased three-fold from last year.
I ask you to join me in keeping these agencies in your prayers for the work that they are called to do and the support we are called to offer them.
Our care-givers and support staff have no greater example of care than that of Christ himself. He healed the sick and the broken and he showed the beauty of having a servant’s heart.
When you care for others, you are caring for Christ.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.” (Matthew 25:40)
If you are able to support my Foundation in these challenging times, your gift will be supporting the hands of Christ that care for our vulnerable and distressed.
With every blessing,
A targeted and rapid response to lock-down
Thank you, our compassionate and generous donors, for supporting our emergency appeal. Donations from this appeal have already been distributed to parishes and some of our partner agencies who are working directly with people and families impacted by the Delta variant during this long and challenging lock-down.
A snap-shot of your support Your donations have gone to Kerikeri parish, Kaitaia parish, Panguru parish and North Hokianga, and Moerewa parish and South Hokianga. Parishes identified where the needs were in their community and could respond quickly with this funding.
Pa Maliu and his dedicated parishioners were able to distribute over 400 food parcels to vulnerable families in remote areas of North Hokianga.
And volunteers from Moerewa, were able to distribute food parcels throughout the South Hokianga.
Funds were also distributed to St Vincent de Paul Foodhub, Onehunga to help them meet the huge demand for food assistance. They have distributed over 9,000 food parcels during August to September.
Further funding was distributed to Mother of Divine Mercy Refuge, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, and De Paul House to help them with their social outreach to the families that they serve.