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Carnival Greetings
to our English-speaking friends...

from the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission!

As calendar year 2019 unfolds and we move toward Lent, Domenico and I, along with our collaborators, send you greetings filled with gratitude for your partnership in the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission.

Here in Italy we are in Carnival season, with Venice, Viareggio and our own nearby Putignano being Italy's 3 most well known venues. This is the season not only of general merrymaking and rich foods. It's also the season of masks!

Those we serve often speak of the "masks" they wear as they try to anesthetize their inner pain by living superficially. The Italian culture of la bella figura ("looking good") encourages such covering up and often feeds the fear of going deeper to uncover, give voice to and heal a suffering such as that of one or more past abortion experiences. This time of year we always put front and center on our Italian website HomePage an article that speaks of these "masks".

On Ash Wednesday priests across Italy will sprinkle ash on the heads of those making their way for a brief visit into unusually overflowing churches. (No sign of the cross on the forehead here, just a "poof" of dust on the hair!) The ashes remind us that "we are dust and that in our mortal state we are desperate for someone to save us."

These words of a Southern Baptist missionary in Germany struck me. I share with you her further reflections, as they very much speak to our Italian reality and to the work of this apostolate:

"I wonder how many people with ash fresh on their foreheads will still be wearing masks. Will the ashes be painted onto masks or onto truly repentant hearts? Will they be a license to sin for a season, or a reminder of mortality and the need for repentance?

Not all our masks are as obvious as the decorated porcelain masks of Carnival, but we can still hide behind them. The longer a mask is worn, the more comfortable it feels and the harder it is to take off. In a world where beauty, success, and perfection are valued, it’s hard to remove the mask and reveal the real person behind the facade. I may be able to mask my pain, discouragement, desperation, shame, and sin from other people, but I can never hide them from God.

Is repentance truly genuine if a person indulges in fleshy desires and assumes that in the days to come he or she can earn forgiveness by pious deeds and self-denial? Doesn’t true repentance involve removing the masks we wear?"

As you prepare for your Lenten observation, we invite you to consider the Italy Mission among those worthy beneficiaries of your almsgiving generosity. We must still fully self-finance our activities, and our ongoing stateside relationship with the 501(c)3 organization Rachel's Vineyard of Colorado continues to facilitate your active role in helping meet that need.

Is the Italy Mission new to you?
We invite you to view a
1-page summary of our work (PDF)
and learn
how the Mission began

Italy...DID YOU KNOW??

The Year 2019 Response Form details how to make a tax-deductible Gift to the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission, to be sent by check to California for forwarding to Colorado. PLEASE NOTE: that form includes a NEW ADDRESS for your donations, as my longtime friends, a Deacon couple in the Diocese of Monterey, have volunteered to receive and forward to Colorado our Italy Mission gifts this year and next.

Those who wish to make a credit card donation (and our few English-speaking friends here in Europe) may instead make a (non-tax-deductible) donation to the Italy Mission by PayPal. Such a gift will be deposited in Euros directly into our Italian account dedicated exclusively to this apostolate.

I wish I could have prevented my girlfriend's abortion
The Telegraph of London, 12 Sep 2014

A story of abortion's effect on men that also points to the importance
of challenging singles and couples with the value of chastity.

As some of you are already aware, 2018 was marked by unusual rhythms due to the loss of one of the Italy Mission's greatest fans, Monika's father Ray, whom we honor here with photos and with the prayer from his Memorial card:


Ray Wilbur Rodman
15 April 1932 - 18 May 2018
May the Lord support us all the day long,
till the shades lengthen and the evening comes,
 and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.
Then in His Mercy may He give us a safe lodging,
 and a holy rest and peace at the last.
-  Cardinal John Henry Newman


We are dedicating our activities this year to Ray, who was in many ways not only a supporter of the Italy Mission, but a source of the vision that inspired it:
Dad passed on to me (Monika) the precious treasure of our Catholic Christian faith, living a quiet trust in the Lord Who penetrates suffering with grace and brings life out of death. Daily shared prayer, a simple lifting of the heart to our Source and Summit with few words but deep intention, was one of the exquisite gifts we shared from the time I was small to his final waking hours.

Dad taught me perseverance in tackling challenges of every sort, a love for life, especially for preborn children and their mothers, fidelity to family ties despite the cost, and an unfailing willingness to practice Mercy.

Ray loved and served his country through his Navy service and aeronautical engineering career. He knew, as the son of illiterate immigrants from a country that later went communist (Yugoslavia), that the United States has unique gifts to offer the world. He was so happy when he heard of my work a few years ago to help bring Rachel's Vineyard to Slovenia, the part of Yugoslavia very near to the area from which my grandparents had emigrated.

Dad had hoped I might go into another field of work, but took pride in my service to the Church. And He accepted with few complaints the Mission which marriage brought me, despite the personal sacrifice which that Mission required of him, as it took his only child from California to Southern Italy for the last decade of  his life. He understood our Mission of post-abortion hope and healing to be a seed God sowed first in the U.S. Church so that it might be planted throughout the Church universal, and dad was proud we could bring this work to the heart of the Church and to "Old World" Europe which is in dire need of a New Evangelization.
Is the Italy Mission new to you?
We invite you to view a
1-page summary of our work (PDF)
and learn
how the Mission began

Italy...DID YOU KNOW??

Italian women and men tell their abortion stories
Meet some of those we've served in these first years of the Italy Mission....

NOTE: While Facebook shares are appreciated, all communications to Italy Mission director Monika Rodman Montanaro should be sent via email to: info.vignadirachele@yahoo.it

"The whole experience, while in some ways extremely difficult,
was unforgettably beautiful and went far above and beyond my expectations."

- An Italian retreat participant

Italy Mission Year 2018

During most of 2018 I was in California helping dad and then mom, so it was our Italian team that carried on the ministry, chiefly following by phone and email, those who contact us for assistance. We continue to welcome an increasing number of requests for help from women who've find us less than a year after their abortion experience, which requires of our team a special attention and availability.

Our team psychologist in Milan participated in formation events with other marriage and family life organizations.  2018 was an important year for various team members: Our senior team member (she herself a former participant after a late-term abortion following a poor prenatal diagnosis) finished 3 years of preparation and passed her exam to become a counselor. Another team member got married, a clergy collaborator received a new priestly assignment, and our team couple adopted a child from Russia. These various events, coupled with my absence, led us to wait until 2019 to offer further retreats.

The many activities of our extremely busy year 2017 (see below) brought heavier than usual expenses. Thanks to your generosity our spending on those precious initiatives was reimbursed through year-end Mission donations received last December. The fact that an unusual year 2018 required us to put big activities on hold means that your Year-end 2018 gift made today will allow us to already prepare financially for our year 2019 activities.

In 2019, in addition to resuming 3-day retreats in Bologna, we plan to pilot elsewhere the Weekly Support Group version of the Rachel's Vineyard healing process which I led in the San Francisco Bay Area for years and which remains a wonderful alternative for those who can't get away for a 3-day weekend experience. We also plan to build on the important opportunities created in 2017 through participation in several first-ever outreach events in both ecclesial and civic settings.

Preparation for year 2019 began this Summer with a missionary speaking engagement in San Diego (Monika's birthplace). This third annual invitation to participate in the diocesan Mission Cooperation Plan was also an occasion to promote that diocese's own long-active post-abortion healing ministry.

"Thank you" to the Diocese of San Diego Missions office
for allowing the work of the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission
to be shared at 2 parishes this summer!

One of Monika's former collaborators from the Oakland Diocese "happened to be" in San Diego that Mission weekend.
The presiding priest congratulated us on our work, and
 a gentleman leaving Mass said this was the best Missions talk he'd ever heard!

     With San Diego's diocesan Mens & Womens Post-abortion ministry leaders      A longtime collaborator from AbortionChangesYou.com at Monika's Mission talk.

Diocesan Missions Talk Summary

Monika with fellow missioners and staff at San Diego's diocesan Missions Office, under the leadership of Fr. Joe Miller, SVD

What Pope Francis has said of "mission" work is certainly truly of the Italy Mission:

"Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual.
Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven.
Mission is born of a constant experience of God's merciful anointing..."
- Pope Francis, 23 Sep 2015 Homily at the Canonization of Junipero Serra, father of the California missions

Eight years after launching this Mission, we remain Italy's first and only Christian post-abortion healing ministry approved by the Catholic Church. While we operate with the blessing of one of Italy's most important dioceses (that of Bologna), no Italian diocese, religious community, pro-life or other organization has yet stepped up to sponsor this Mission. We are still a very small seed planted in a field of vast need, yet we are resolved to help this seed continue to grow, with your prayers and assistance!

PRAYER for the Italy Mission
Please share with friends and family!

The Year- End 2018 Response Form details how to make a tax-deductible Gift to the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission, to be sent by check to my friend in the Monterey Diocese who will forward all gifts to Colorado. 

Those who wish to make a credit card donation (and our few English-speaking friends here in Europe) may instead make a (non-tax-deductible) donation to the Italy Mission by PayPal. Such a gift will be deposited in Euros directly into our Italian account dedicated exclusively to this apostolate.

In short, I hope that as the Year 2018 ends and Year 2019 unfolds, you will renew - or begin - your partnership in the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission!

Our entire team wishes you a heartfelt Christmas and sends its

Buon Natale!

"Arise, everyone! Mary invites us all - rich and poor, the just and sinners - to enter the cave of Bethlehem,
to adore and to kiss the feet of her newborn son.
Go in, then, all of you devout men and women. Let us enter and not be afraid."
- St. Alphonsus Liguori

Year-End 2018
8 Lessons Learned these first 8 Years

We first published this list on our 5th anniversary and since the learning never ends, we update it each year!

1) As our Dominican priest collaborator Fr. Cristiano often marvels, "the method works!"
It's not just the American-style self-help program many Italians imagined when we began our activities in 2010, but an internationally tested instrument for helping deeply wounded souls - women, men and couples together - open up to the truth of their own life story and the grace of God's saving power within that story. A particular strength of this "method" is the intense collaboration of former particpants (now leaders) from various regions of Italy, who exercise a critical, complementary role alongside Domenico and me, our priests and team psychologist.

2) The Holy Spirit is working powerfully through the internet!
At least 80% of our inquiries come directly from that source. We marvel at the deep degree to which many women and men open up in email correspondence and phone appointments. Our team members are always ready to talk with someone who might express desire for a contact in his or her area or with a particular experience. (One of our team members is available particularly for those who've been through late-term "therapeutic" abortion as she has.) This is essentially a new, itinerant model of pastoral care, which makes multiple offices unnecessary and yet allows us to quite closely companion individuals all over Italy in the months before and after retreat participation. Help is offered over time even to those who haven't yet committed to a retreat.

3) Bologna, with its central location, remains in many ways an ideal hub for us.
The women and men who travel from near or far to make a Rachel's Vineyard retreat in Bologna experience the sacrifices involved in that journey as a true "pilgrimage", which is already a strong element of Italian spirituality. Cardinal Carlo Caffarra (+ 2017) more than once reaffirmed his appreciation of Rachel's Vineyard, noting in a meeting with his Clergy Council, shortly before his retirement, our apostolate's activities as one of the highlights of his years as bishop there.  We are working to earn similar trust as we cultivate a relationship with the new bishop of Bologna, who met with us in his first months in office.

4) The Rachel's Vineyard model of post-abortion care is particularly well-suited to a country like Italy, where the Church has not yet found a voice to publicly issue a reconciling invitation to Her many sons and daughters who've participated in abortion.  After 35 years of legal abortion (which the Italian populace voted for by referendum), there are still no diocesan post-abortion pastoral programs such as those active in the United States and elsewhere. Furthermore, in the States almost all clergy have long had the faculties to deal with the canon law aspects of abortion during a normal confession. In Italy, until the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, abortion confessions were more strictly treated and generally reserved to the Bishop's collaborating penitenzieri (confessors in the cathedral), to the clergy in Rome, as well as the mendicant clergy (Franciscans, Dominicans, etc). Some of our participants have literally rung the doorbell at the Bishop's office, or have had their parish priest tell them to come back in a week or at the end of the month to receive absolution. Others have been "welcomed" in confession with the words, "You're very fortunate to have come to me.... this is an extremely grave sin and not all priests can absolve it."  In such a context, our patient listening over weeks and months, with an invitation to be fully reconciled through a program that carries the universal Church's blessing, is truly "GOOD NEWS"!

5) While some naysayers continue to assert that "the family" and "the confessional" remain the only appropriate places to reveal an abortion experience, those who request our assistance often say they are unable to reveal their true struggles in the family (or their effort to do so hasn't been fruitful), and that even multiple confessions haven't yielded the deeply felt sense of forgiveness and reconciliation they need. Our team's support, sometimes including local clergy or psychotherapist referrals and ideally culminating in the 3-day retreat experience, fills that gap.

6) One element of our work remains particularly challenging: the difficulty in finding mental health professionals to volunteer with our team on the 3-day retreats. The mutual alienation and prejudices (sometimes downright hostility) between "faith" and "psychology" are much stronger in Italy than what I ever encountered in the U.S. In addition, Italian socialism has thwarted the development of a vigorous spirit of unpaid volunteerism like that which is so strong in the States. Please pray for us as we search for additional mental health professionals with whom to collaborate!

7) There is NO substitute for the precious personalized companioning (Pope Francis and the Italian Church would say "accompaniment") that our team members who are former participants can give to those newly arrived in Rachel's Vineyard. 

8) For many women and men we serve, particularly those who are still single, an important part of the healing process we offer is our willingness to propose Christian chastity as a positive and liveable decision, as well as the only sure way to prevent further abortions. Please pray for our entire team in this matter, which can involve courage and discernment, and which calls us all to live with the same integrity to which we invite others.

Highlights from the Italy Mission Archives:

June 2017, Rome
Italy Mission leaders Monika and Domenico with priest Fr. Rito (blue shirt) and former participants,
a married couple, after our workshop given at the "Mistero Grande"
Marriage Preparation and Enrichment National Conference

A couple attending the workshop that day, thanks to their priest's invitation,
participated in our July retreat after a late-term "therapeutic" abortion,
and our November retreat included another married couple who learned of us through the same conference.

Italy Mission founder and director Monika Rodman Montanaro with our Franciscan collaborator, fra Daniele
September 2017

"We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart,
and to bring home those who have lost their way."

- St. Francis of Assisi

Our 4-day Franciscan Festival exhibit (twice this size on a highly visible corner) offered not only printed materials
but also a chance to be cared for with a drop of handcream or a spray of rosewater.

Our team of ambassadors (all former participants) often ended up speaking at length with passers-by,
who on numerous occasions were stunned that our volunteers had been through the abortion experience themselves
and were now willing to talk about it in such a way that might bring hope to others.

Monika and Domenico with past-participant ambassadors at Bologna's Franciscan Festival
(individuals, 2 married couples and a father-daughter team)
September 2017

Aerial view of Bologna, Italy

Monika and Domenico before the July retreat at the Poor Clares convent in downtown Bologna
The sisters are cloistered but by no means cut off from the world!
They helped sponsor our outreach at the Franciscan Festival.
"Grazie, sorelle!"

Mons. John Cihak from the Archdiocese of Portland,
a priest with extensive experience in post-abortion pastoral care who served in Rome for 8 years,
annually invited Monika to join him in speaking to Italian and international clergy
doing ongoing formation at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family.
We look forward to continuing our relationship with this university.


Our annual Mission trips to Rome for a day of outreach at Italy's March for Life have undoubtedly been a success! Most recently, religious sisters (two of whom have also participated in our retreat) joined past participants in distributing materials before, during and after the walk. One of our former participants (in above photo), whom we'd not seen for 6 months, remarked that in the year since the retreat her personal physician, whom she used to visit frequently with various problems, had run into her and joked she must have changed doctors because he'd not seen her for so long! Such can be the amazing effects of releasing and resolving old hurts such as abortion wounds, and we rejoice to hear such stories! Having finally made peace with God, herself, and her never-born child, this former participant now radiates joy and tranquillity and is continuing with diligence the spiritual path on which she's embarked.

Ever wonder why??
You may notice we post very few photos
of our team members and participants. 

We'd love to publish more, but we are extremely respectful of people's privacy and
only publish photos if all subjects have agreed for their image to appear on the internet.
Even some of our most dedicated team members understandably prefer to retain their anonymity.
While some past  participants feel called to later speak publicly of their abortion experience and healing,
we never push such a move, but encourage prudent discernment of any such decision.

March 2017 Rome seminar "The Experience of Abortion"
Italy Mission founder and director Monika Rodman Montanaro with 2 collaborators.
Several former participants of our program attended this public event and spoke of their experience.

Clergy collaboration: A precious treasure!

An Italian priest in his 50's wrote to us: "I'd like to take part in your retreat to better be able to help the many women who confess this sin, this wound, this problem. With the Pope's authorization many people are deciding to confess it - here at our church (NB: a Marian pilgrimage site in N. Italy) we are seeing greatly increased numbers, including penitents who aborted 50 years ago and those who'd never confessed this before. I realize confession alone isn't sufficient, though. And I feel I don't know how to really help them because I see they need something more, something deeper that I can't offer them."

Our Dominican priest collaborator Fr. Cristiano is from Brasil but has served in Italy for over 25 years.
Despite having been transferred from Bologna, he continues his work with us.

Please read of one of the fruits of Fr. Cristiano's work:

Elena's Story

Fr. Cristiano serves at Milan's famous church, the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie. It's most well known for being the home of Leonardo DaVinci's painting, The Last Supper, so many people think of this church as a tourist destination, but it's also a vibrant Christian community in one of Milan's nicest neighborhoods.

Stumbling into a confessional at this very church on a hot summer's dayElena met Fr. Cristiano and discovered the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission. At age 53, but still mother to a young child, she was at the end of her rope trying to deal with a decades-delayed reaction to the trauma of an abortion undergone at age 16 plus the realization that the fertility clinic (in Spain) that had more than once used donated eggs to produce her 5 year-old daughter had also discarded multiple embryos. A breast cancer diagnosis and 2 years of treatment had lead her to reflect on all this in a new light.

Elena hadn't practiced the faith since her teen years. Her husband of 10 years was nearing the end of his patience with her emotional outbursts and psychological fragility, so Elena's only hope was to return to her psychotherapist (which we certainly didn't discourage).

She recalls:
"I entered Father Cristiano's church totally at the end of my rope. I was a wreck and I thought they were going to take my daughter from me. My husband didn't know how to help me - he was losing his patience for my yelling and other erratic behaviors. We were both exhausted and didn't know where to turn."

Fr. Cristiano spoke at length with Elena and told her about Rachel's Vineyard. She called us immediately and we had several lengthy phone conversations during the summer. Another team member, who's also dealt with infertility, companioned her, as well.

One month after participating in the Fall 3-day retreat with her husband, Elena wrote:

"The days in Bologna were a marvelous grace that has given me a new way of looking at my entire life.
If the Lord has taken me by the hand and brought me to to point of being able to meet all of you, it means that maybe I deserve another chance and I want with all my heart to seize it.
Alfredo and I feel very close and it seems to me we're finally looking in a common direction.
It's so beautiful to go to Mass on Sunday with our daughter, who, we've discovered, goes there with joy!
She also asks us to pray with her before bedtime..."

Two months later the couple participated in the 4th day of their retreat and continued to reap the blessings of hope restored. Then Elena's husband was transferred to work in North Africa and the entire family made the move. Elena remains in contact with other women from her retreat and the family continues their practice of the Christian faith. Her husband sent a gift to help us with our first-ever outreach at Bologna's Franciscan Festival. His brief message? "We will always be grateful to you!"

It's been your prayers and financial support, together with the remarkable commitment by our Italy retreat team (priests and past-participants) that have allowed us to reach those like Elena.

Your gifts at Year-end 2018 and in 2019 will help us not only help individual women,
but offer marriage-saving help to families like Elena's!

Fruits of the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016
You may recall that the Jubilee Year of Mercy included Pope Francis' conferring to all clergy of the world the priestly faculties to deal with any abortion excommunication and absolve this sin "in one sitting". (Formerly it was Franciscan, Dominican, Carmelite and other mendicant order clergy who had that authority, together with Jesuits and the bishops' penitenzieri, i.e. priests hearing confessions at cathedrals.)

On November 21, 2016 Francis extended his new policy permanently. In the United States this changed practically nothing in pastoral practice, but Francis' move was truly big news for post-abortion pastoral care in countries like Italy, where longstanding restrictive policies had created a tremendous silence and led many to perceive a miserliness in the invitation to seek God's Mercy after abortion. At least some clergy sometimes found themselves preoccupied about how to proceed with a penitent confessing abortion. That preoccupation has had a chilling effect on the Italian Church's ability to respond pastorally to this tragedy which has touched so many individuals, couples and families. We're delighted to help Italy move into a new era in this regard.

Since the Jubilee Year Monika has helped mentor a new retreat site, the first in Slovenia (in the former Yugoslavia, next to Croatia and Austria, near Italy's northwest border). Our relationship with Slovenia begain 4 years ago when we welcomed on our retreat a participant from there. She then returned and over time found a Jesuit priest with whom to collaborate, with whom Monika has spent many hours consulting by Skype.

Further reading

St. John Paul II's "Special Word to Women" who have had abortions

 These words, by now well known in American Church and pro-life circles, remain largely unknown here in Italy. So much so that we continue to distribute a lovely postcard designed for posting on bulletin boards at parishes and hospital chapels.

Reaching "Rachel" in Italy: The Cultural Context

 My burden lifted forever
Advent Special! Laura Keynes, December 3, 2015, Catholic Herald (U.K.)
Released in Advent 2015, this post-abortion conversion story is by a British author with a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford. Her story also points to the need of so many women and men to continue a journey of inner healing even after celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 Europe's Down Syndrome "Thought Police"
LifeSiteNews, November 29, 2016
In recent years we've had increasing requests for help from women and couples who aborted a child with health problems, most often Down Syndrome. It's truly "open season" on these children, ironically in a time when "disability rights" are gaining visibility everywhere but in the womb. This news report shows how far Europe will go to censor any message that might touch on the post-abortion trauma many of these moms and dads carry inside.

After Abortion Why Can't I Feel Forgiveness?
Theresa Bonapartis, July 14, 2014, Aleteia
A spiritual challenge common to many women and men...

What Happens When People Share Their Abortion Stories

Cullen Herout, June 9, 2016
The Federalist
Written by a mental health professional who for 5 years has served in Rachel's Vineyard

Why We Should Welcome Abortion Narratives (30 April 2014, First Things)
A society growing toward greater maternal support and respect for the dignity of all human life needs these narratives, even the ones that do not end in remorse. By giving women narrative, they are empowered in precisely the way their pregnancies left them feeling powerless. And they encourage those of us in the pro-life movement to view the woman with full sympathy.


For Italy aficionados:

NEW!  Births and Religious Marriages Collapse in Italy. After Two Synods on the Family
Sandro Magister, L'Espresso (December 3, 2018)

Italy: First in the Historic Reversal of Populations
Joseph Chamie, former Director of the U.N. Population Division (August 9, 2016)

In 1995 Italy became the world's 1st country with fewer children than elderly in the population.

2015: the year when Italy's demographic malaise become apparent
(26 February 2016, MercatorNet.com from Australia)

Italy is a "dying country"
(13 February 2015, The Guardian)

More Italian Women are Choosing to Have No Children (22 April 2014, Wall Street Journal)
While this article naturally focuses on economic forces leading to the choice of childlessness, we hear the very personal stories of past abortions contributing to a sense of unworthiness to become a mother. Imagine the pain as women hit age 45 realizing they aborted the only child they will ever carry. And imagine the family wound as others approach 35 or 40 still living with the mother who years ago encouraged them to abort and now continually asks when they will produce a grandchild. One of our women reponded to such a mother, who'd twice convinced her (at age 24 and 26) she was "too young" to have a child: "I gave you two grandchildren but you sent them away."

California Native Takes Rachel's Vineyard to the Old World (Elizabeth Lev,
Oct. 22, 2010, Zenit - original title "Healing Abortion Survivors")

"La Vigna di Rachele" YouTube channel 

Rome March for Life Testimonies

Brother Evagrio
(given May 2015, Rome March for Life)

      Pina                                     Daniela
                                                          (Story not translated here but published in an Italian Catholic family life magazine)

Photo by lapresse.it

May 2014 and 2015 Rome Mission: March for Life
PHOTOGALLERY click here!

Photo by lapresse.it

 Spring 2014 Mission Update: Reaching out to ecclesial and pro-life leaders (Easter 2014)

Thanksgiving 2013 Mission update: Meet our team! (November 2013)

Spring 2013 Mission Update: Pope Francis and Mission in the 21st Century (Pentecost 2013)

Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission founders Monika Rodman Montanaro (California, USA) and Domenico Montanaro (Puglia, Italy)

The Origins of the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission

In 2007 Monika Rodman, former coordinator of Respect Life Ministry and Post-abortion Healing Ministry in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, CA, married her Italian husband Domenico Montanaro and moved to Italy. It was Domenico's encouragement that led the couple in 2010 to pioneer Italy's first Christian ministry for healing after abortion, a ministry active since the 1980's in the United States (both in Catholic and other Christian communities) but truly a novelty in Italy.

Together with our Italian collaborators, we labor in this Mission in the spirit of the New Evangelization called for by St. John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis.  However you discovered the Italy Mission, we welcome you!

"Abortion compounds the grief of many women who now carry with them deep physical and spiritual wounds after succumbing to the pressures of a secular culture which devalues God’s gift of sexuality and the right to life of the unborn.”

- Pope Francis, 25 April 2014, ad limina visit from Southern Africa's bishops

Italy... DID YOU KNOW??

Maybe you recently visited Italy and took home our Prayer Cards from the U.S. Bishops Visitors Office in Rome.

Perhaps you have a heart for proclaiming in a non-traditional missionary context the Good News of God's saving Mercy. Post-Christian Europe is certainly one such mission land and the experience of abortion is a wound that often leads to what our women and men often call a "spiritual divorce" from God and from the Christian community.

You may be of Italian heritage and are pained to learn that marriage, traditional family life and practice of the Christian faith are quickly dying out in this, Europe's most rapidly aging nation, where single child families have become the norm.

Perhaps you have a strong commitment to human life, and a deep desire to offer healing balm to those carrying the pain of motherhood lost and fatherhood aborted. It may be through 
the Knights of Columbus, the Italian Catholic Federation or another Italian-American association that you learned of our Mission. We would be so very grateful to welcome you as partners!

And some of you have personally benefitted from Rachel's Vineyard, having found there your own deep healing after the experience of abortion.  In learning how unique the Church's post-abortion healing ministries are to the United States, you now desire to extend the same healing opportunity to women and men in a post-abortion Mission country.

Looking for a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in the U.S.??
Click here!

Your Partnership in the Italy Mission

Whatever has led to you to this Italy Mission, know that we are grateful for your interest in our apostolate. We hope you will become a fellow gardener in this Vineyard, whether through prayer, a financial gift or telling others about our work.

Each Rachel's Vineyard site, including ours, must be financially self-sustaining. Your donations make our work possible as they help defray infrastructure costs we are not yet able to cover through program fees and Italian donations. While the outgoing Cardinal of Bologna (where we offer the retreats) has personally reaffirmed his blessing of our ministry, that blessing has not yet included any form of financial support. Those Italians who do financially support this ministry are most all former participants joined by a few clergy.

Since 2009 Rachel's Vineyard of Colorado, while not directing any of its own funds to the Italy Mission, has graciously assisted us by facilitating our friends' restricted giving for this Italy Mission. It has been the sacrificial gifts of individuals, families and Knights of Columbus Councils that have helped make possibile our first years of activity. 

To clarify: We receive NO FUNDING from Rachel's Vineyard of Colorado, nor from Rachel's Vineyard international headquarters in Philadelphia.

We would be honored to have you join our family of supporters! To make a tax-deductible donation in the United States, through the registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization "Rachel's Vineyard of Colorado", click here.

In 2017 our American family of financial supporters included a total of 26 households and two Knights of Columbus Councils (Council 5300 Goleta Valley, CA and Council 6143, Pleasanton, CA).

Our goal for 2019 is to grow our number of American supporters to 35 familiesWe would welcome your personal participation to help us reach this goal. Our family of supporters, while predominantly Catholic, includes Christian believers of various denominations, and we are grateful for those mission partners who, like us, believe Christ is honored when His Body, the Church, reaches out ecumenically with the Good News.

In 2019 we also hope to add 2 new organizations (including at least one new Knights of Columbus Council) to our family of supporters. 

Our hoped-for partnership with one or more Italian-American organizations has thus far remained elusive. If you are involved in the Italian American community, might you be able to help us form one such partnership in 2019?

To make a donation to the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission, simply click on the Response Form and mail your financial gift to my stateside collaborator who records and forwards all gifts to our sponsor agency in Colorado.

Please email Italy Mission coordinator Monika Rodman Montanaro at info.vignadirachele@yahoo.it.

Thank you for your prayers for and partnership in the Italy Mission!

Good Shepherd Prayer for the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission
Prodigal Prayer for the Rachel's Vineyard Italy Mission


Saint John Paul II's "Special Word to Women" who have had abortions (from Evangelium vitae, 1995)

Click here for:

Knights of Columbus information

Italian-Americans interested in this Mission

Blessing of Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino,

President Emeritus, Vatican Congregation for Justice and Peace:

Cardinal Martino's Italian letter

English translation of Cardinal Martino's endorsement

Personal recommendation of Monika and the Italy Mission
addressed in 2007 to the Italian Bishops by
Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, presently Archbishop of Detroit

(Bishop Vigneron was pastor of the Diocese of Oakland, CA during the final years of Monika Rodman's 12-year full-time tenure there)

© 2009-2018 Monika Rodman, Vigna di Rachele/Rachel's Vineyard Ministries™. Tutti i diritti riservati.