Injured by divorce or disbelief, they testify

This second day of the World Assembly of Families has given voice to the people injured in their marriage They evoked the painful situation of divorce and divorce, but also gave great testimony of forgiveness and reconciliation.

The first day of the World Family Meeting, to be held in Rome from June 22 to 26, was marked by the testimony of five couples who revealed five opportunities to grow in faith. This second day, June 23, 2022, was dedicated to the testimony of men and women injured by divorce. “There are many difficulties between couples,” but “Christ never breaks His covenant,” noted Father Eric Kagi, a priest who had experienced marriage, divorce, and widowhood before working as a priest himself.

1Daniel, the choice of fidelity to the sanctity of marriage

Daniel Bourgeois, from Montreal, Quebec, was marked by the humiliation of divorce when he was just 30 years old. He founded a spiritual family, the “Solitude Mary,” offering a community life to separated or divorced people who chose to remain faithful to their first promise to become holy celibates.

Canadians spoke of the plight of many young women abandoned by their husbands who approached her after intervening in Paris to testify to her spiritual journey after her divorce. He then took the initiative to gather these twelve women in his house one evening “who were crying on the phone, broke down at the refusal of their husbands” and were guilty of distressing their children “who were begging for their father’s return.”

Over the years, prayer time and listening to God’s Word have enabled some women to move on to the holiness of forgiveness. “Jesus heals the wounded heart,” said Daniel Bourgeois, noting that these women were able to “go from sorrow to joy,” even forgiving the husband’s new partner in some cases.

Thanks to the support of this community, some couples in distress can also “survive the separation” and “return to their first love,” he said, adding that these reunions are a great joy for divorced people who do not want other couples to go through the same emotional trauma.

2Eric, married, divorced, widowed then priest

Father Eric Kagi, the priest of the “Solitude Mariam” family, has a profile that is not to say the least. Married then divorced, his wife then died. Being a widow and therefore celibate according to church law, she wanted to “make her life more radical.” After a time of prudence and formation, he became a diocesan priest.

Father Kagi, who is also a father and grandfather, noted that in the event of a divorce, “it is the children who are most unhappy, most hurt.” He highlights the “insecurity” caused by “a dark world”, noting the lack of understanding of the meaning of rituals and the inconsistency of marriage among young men and women willing to marry.

3Stephen and Sandra, from disbelief to forgiveness

Stephen and Sandra Conway of South Africa, presented the “Retroville” movement, which organizes sessions for couples in need. Themselves went through a crisis, when Stephen slowly invested himself in his sports club rather than his home, where he suffered from a lack of intimacy related to his in-laws’ presence. He had an affair with a woman he was dating.

His wife felt deeply humiliated and angry when he discovered the relationship, but a journey of reading God’s Word allowed them to find a way to rebuild and forgive, in the image of Jesus who “saved the adulterer from being stoned.”

The healing process does not happen overnight, but it does make honesty and dialogue between husband and wife possible.

“Forgiveness does not change the past but changes the future,” said Stephen, who acknowledged that “healing does not happen overnight”, but that honesty and conversation between husbands can move forward. It is not a question of returning to the romantic and naive stage of the beginning of a relationship, but rather the “stage of happiness”, marked as a couple and no longer as two individuals with different interests.

This series of testimonies about family wounds was led by a couple from Milan, Christina Ricardi and Paolo Pelini, who have been married since 1992 and are the parents of three children. They stressed the importance of regular and patient support for couples, before and after marriage, to “cry, even to avoid certain cracks”.

In the picture, relive the World Meeting of Families 2022:

Pope Francis attends the Family Festival - the 10th World Assembly of the Family - Paul VI Hall

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