CHARLESTON — Oct. 10 was a significant day for post-abortion healing with the launch of the first college chapter of Project Rachel for the College of Charleston and The Citadel.
Project Rachel is a national ministry of the Catholic Church that has been providing post-abortion healing for women and men throughout the world for more than 16 years through the volunteer efforts of priests, nuns, and laity.
The launch was held in conjunction with the Lost Child prayer services, in which students from both colleges lit candles for children lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. The Citadel cadets met on campus while the College of Charleston students convened at St. Patrick Church on St. Philip Street.
“Those in attendance were told to take as many candles as children they wanted to remember and light them in memory,” said Sister Rita Schroeder, Catholic campus minister for the College of Charleston.
“The prayer service was a wonderful launch for Project Rachel,” said Father Jeffrey Kendall, director of campus ministry for the Diocese of Charleston. “It was also nice to have Father Douglas Peterson (the Episcopal minister for the colleges) taking part in the service. Both Catholic and Episcopalian cadets were in attendance.”
The Project Rachel ministry for colleges in Charleston is led by Tina Jost, who will act as a first responder. The students were given a telephone number at which they can reach Jost at any time, year round. She will identify their need and help them accordingly.
“One of the cadets came up to me following the prayer service and was very emotional,” said Jost. “His girlfriend had had an abortion, and he was still grieving. It was really neat to see that this tough cadet was seeking help.”
“We are so lucky to have Tina,” said Sister Schroeder. “Some other schools in the diocese have expressed interest in doing the same thing, but they don’t have a person who is willing to do what Tina is doing.”
She said that not only has Jost made this possible, but that thanks to the donation of a generous benefactor, the cost of a phone line and service has been covered for a year. The donor also paid to place advertisements for the program in the campus newspapers.
“The campus ministry budgets are tight, but we just went ahead and did it. We just trusted, and God sent this benefactor to cover the expenses,” said Sister Schroeder.
Following the prayer service many students spoke with Jost about ways to deal with friends who had experienced abortion.
“Lots of people seemed very excited to have access to this help,” said Jost. “It is just amazing how things have come together.”
“Unfortunately there is a big need for this ministry, but thankfully we now have the resources to offer aid to these grieving young women and men,” said Sister Schroeder.
But for Jost it isn’t about numbers — it’s about helping that one person in need.
“If over the course of a year we only help one person, then it has been worthwhile,” she said. “It’s not about how many people call but about offering a listening ear. They are grieving a loss that they have never been able to grieve.”
For more information
Contact Tina Jost at (843) 557-3194.