This post was written and submitted by my cousin Janelle Stamm, and is her open and honest journey of faith. Like so many, our family was shattered by the betrayal of clergy sexual abuse, but the power of hope is stronger even than death. I was profoundly impacted by her story, and I think you will be too. Awareness of clergy abuse is at an all-time high, but we must be moved beyond apathy to action. I admire her vulnerability in admitting that at one time, she didn’t believe us. Reading those words stung, but more like the injection of a life-saving serum than the prick of the poisoned spindle on the spinning wheel. If we want to have real change, we have to have really hard conversations. ”
“I didn’t want to believe what I know now to be true and I was too afraid to act on it.”
In the spirit of Maya Angelou, when you know better, do better. And I think Janelle is doing something amazing. Please read her story, and share it with others who need to know better as well. <3
Eric’s Legacy of Hope, by Janelle Stamm
Next week is the Global Abuse Summit. It will take place Feb. 21-24 and is focused on the protection of minors from sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. I am passionate about this issue because over 19 years ago, my cousin, Eric Patterson, committed suicide, 17 years after he was sexually abused by his parish priest. His abuse and the cover-up by church leaders have profoundly impacted my family.
The below letter and my testimony have been forwarded to the USA’s Papal Nuncio for Pope Francis’ consideration. After reading it, Eric’s older sister, Becky, shared this with me:
As I think you know, I don’t view the Catholic church as the whole of “The Church” (but only one,
sometimes broken, sometimes beautiful, part of Christ’s body) so I will have a different lens on this than
others may but do appreciate the opportunity to have a preview of this very important message. And I
think it is important for those with a burden for this part of Christ’s body to encourage healing and
restoration – for all of the shipwrecked Catholics in our world, and those set up for future shipwrecks.
I share her insight because it validates the importance of this summit. Please join me in praying for Pope Francis and the participating bishops to have open hearts and minds to do what is necessary for complete healing to finally take hold. Then invite others to join in this universal prayer request. Like a tiny pebble dropped into a pool of water, the effects of what we do ripple outward in increasingly wider circles, often farther than we can imagine. Together, we will be strong enough to break through allowing God’s peace and love to freely flow.
Sharing in faith, hoping for surrender while rooted in love, Eric’s Legacy of Hope: Download Janelle’s Booklet “Eric’s Legacy of Hope” Here.