Retreats, Workshops

Spirit Fire offers workshops, retreats, and other programs for all groups who are wounded by the abuse we experienced in the Church. Teresa has been providing these for over 15 years, both with a co-retreat leader and as the sole leader. Our events also increasingly involve panels of survivors with others who are experts in various areas.

For an idea of our approach, and to inspire other programming, below are a sampling notes and/or transcripts from retreats and workshops offered to survivors, clergy and others. Usually these are drawn from retreats and workshops offered by Teresa with Fr. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, who is currently a Provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Their work was recently recognized with the Mother Cabrini award from Cabrini University.


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Wounded Healers:  Christ-Centered Healing & Hope After Child Sexual Abuse

Prayerful day of reflecting on the role of storytelling, Scripture and Catholic traditions in a trauma-informed Christian witness and ministry. For a mixed audience, including survivors, family members, priests, sisters and other ordained and lay Catholic ministers.

Introduction to Pastoral Care for Survivors of Abuse in Faith-Based Settings

Presented through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection for the benefit of  professionals committed to implementing Article 1 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a review of the critical importance of trauma-informed ministry.

Imaging a New Future with Grace

Presentation on hope for healing provided for victims’ mentors serving the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, Fairfax, VA, March 2016. No document available.

Effective Pastoral Care for Adult Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

Presentation for St. Luke’s Teaching Institute Child Protection Seminar, online/webinar, December 2014 (see St. Luke’s Institute Education). Video and coursework available as part of a series via St. Luke’s Institute. 

Survivors and Mercy

Retreat offered during the Year of Mercy by Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, and Teresa Hartnett for survivors, family members and support persons with mix of reflections, guided mediation, prayer and group discussions leading to a basket of prayers and intentions included during the closing service, Arlington, VA, October 2015. Partial transcript only.

Dark Times and Spiritual Guides

Workshop with Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, for priests and sisters including two additional survivor testimonies on first interactions with the Church (the good and the difficult), Arlington, VA, October 22, 2014. Transcript.

Homecoming: Our Stories

Retreat offered by Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, and Teresa Hartnett for survivors and support persons in which numerous survivors of clergy abuse offered reflections or prayers about the challenges and joy of coming home, Arlington, VA, September 6, 2014. Transcript.

Choices in Healing: Spiritual Journeys After Sexual Abuse

Retreat offered by Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS, and Teresa Hartnett for survivors and family members covering the difficult question “why,” issues of safety, emotional boulders and simplifying life; Arlington, VA, September 2013. Transcript.

Spiritual Direction for Sexual Abuse Survivors: Choices in Healing

Workshop offered by Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS and Teresa Hartnett for priests and sisters preparing to offer spiritual guidance to survivors of clergy abuse and family members, Arlington, VA, November 2013. No transcript at this time.

Clergy Sexual Abuse: Surviving and Thriving

Presentation and broadcast for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Annual National Conference, Secretariat for the Protection of Children and Young People, Washington, DC, September 2012. Power Point presentation.

Additional Resource

The Way is a retreat developed and offered by the Office of Survivor Ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta by its Victim Assistance Coordinator, Sue Stubbs. It is the only retreat and retreat program offered to survivors of clergy abuse nationally which has been recommended by The Healing Voices Magazine, which reviewed all such retreat programs offered in 2018. One reflection on survivor experience may be found here.