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This Teen Sex Abuse Victim Stood Up to Her Abuser: Faith Hakesley Fought for Justice.

Posted on Friday, August 07, 2020

Faith Hakesley is a wife, homeschooling mother, blogger, and author. She was born and raised in Massachusetts where she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Following graduation, she worked in the Psychology field until the birth of her first child. Over the course of her life, Faith has overcome many traumas including rape by a Catholic priest, the death of a brother, and has lived through incurable cancer as well as a serious heart condition that nearly took her life.

In 2008, Faith was one of five victims of clerical abuse from the Archdiocese of Boston to meet privately with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during his trip to Washington, D.C. Their meeting awoke in her heart the yearning to use her story in order to help others. Since then, she has become passionate about sharing her personal story in order to offer hope, healing, and peace to those who are suffering. Faith strives to break the stigmas associated with trauma and encourages others to find hope through their faith.


Faith has appeared on CNN, Face the Nation, Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo, Kresta in the Afternoon with Al Kresta, EWTN News Nightly with Lauren Ashburn, Emmanuel Radio with Cindy Dorsey, WJR with Marie Osborne, and Catholic TV's This is the Day with Bishop Robert Reed. She was a guest speaker at the 2009 Women Affirming Life Breakfast in Norwood, MA and has been a contributing writer for the National Catholic Register, where her story was featured in a recent interview.

Her first book, Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse, a devotional for victims of sexual abuse, will be published by Our Sunday Visitor in August of 2020. She maintains a blog called Faith Restored which can be found on her website faithhakesley.com.

Interview transcript is provided below.

Resources

Transcript

Dr. Morse

Hi everyone. I am Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to the Dr. Jay show. Today, my guest is Faith Hakesley and she is the author of this very exciting book. I find it exciting. I am glad that it is out there. Faith is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, and she is a very brave survivor. She has told her story, she has gotten justice and she is doing a lot to help others heal and to help the church. So, Faith, very happy to have you and to have the chance to speak to you in public and you know, in person, face to face like this.

 

Faith Hakesley

Thank you for having me.

Dr. Morse

We have been kind of, we have kind of discovered each other on the internet and we have had kind of, you know, an internet friendship and then I recruited you to be part of the summit for survivors of the sexual revolution. You did a great job and you are expecting, I am just going to say, you are expecting your fourth baby. So, Faith, let us just dive right into it. If you do not mind, tell people just a little bit about your story.

Faith Hakesley

So, I come from a very Catholic, very conservative home. I grew up, I was one of four children. I had three brothers and I was the only girl and we grew up very close knit family, but also very close to our faith. It was an important part of our family, like everything we did centered around our Catholic. And we were very close to our parish community as well. And I was homeschooled for several years, grades four to eight. And then, my parents made, it was a painful decision but they decided to send me to a Catholic high school. I was a very kind of awkward kid. I did not fit in with a lot of these other, with my classmates. I just really did not fit in. And so I was struggling academically, mostly because not so much that the schoolwork was more difficult, but just because it was the social aspect that just threw me off. There were a lot of things that went on in a Catholic school that I never would have expected. So, later that year, I was 15 years old.

Dr. Morse

So let us hold it right there. The things going on in a Catholic school that you would not have expected?

Faith Hakesley

One of my religion classes felt more like a social justice type class, more than religion. I remember having arguments with some of the teachers. That is not church teaching. So, it was kind of made fun of a little bit, you know, like, oh boy, who is this girl. You know, kids acted in a way that I was not used to. I just had not been exposed to what some of these other kids had been exposed to, the movies, the books, the magazines, just some of the things that, again at the kids were talking about, just like, whoa, you know, a shell shock, like culture shock for me. So anyway, later that year, again I was 15 years old, one of the women from our parish was starting to slow down. She was an older woman and she offered me her hours working at the rectory on Saturdays. And around the same time, there was a newly ordained young priest. His name was Father Kelvin Peter Rodriguez. He had come to this country from Columbia, taught himself English. He came over here to go to the seminary. He had a violin with him. We got to talking, we found out, oh, he is the new priest that has just come in. So, I got excited because I was quite an accomplished violinist at the time, and he was trying to teach himself violin. So, we kind of connected over that a little bit. And I helped him tune his violin and said, oh yeah, if you ever have any questions, I will help you out.

[05:01 – 10:00]

Faith Hakesley

He became a friend of sorts, like a confident. He seemed to understand some of the things that I was going through. At least he said he understood, he was giving me some advice, you know, just be yourself, do not worry about what anyone else thinks and all that stuff. And he became very well-liked within the parish community. And then over a period of several weeks, I noticed just his actions towards me, changed a little bit. You know, we talk about grooming and in hindsight, I realized that I was being groomed a little, you know, he would ask certain questions or he just touched me on the shoulder or just touch my hand very quickly. Or he was starting to ask kind of personal questions like, oh, are you dating anyone or any guys at school that you like? It was just sort of an awkward conversation and then there was the first, I will not go into detail, but it was like the first real touches happened and it just kind of went downward from there. So, I suffered abuse for that entire summer. And then in the fall of that year, I made up an excuse to my parents and to the pastor of the parish who, by the way, we found out later, because people sometimes ask, where was everyone when all this was going on? Well, the pastor we found out later and I try not to speak badly of him because I think he tried to be a good man in his own way, but he suffered with his own demons and he was a bad alcoholic. And so he was upstairs most of the time, drinking and so as a result, there was no one watching out for anyone else in the rectory. And so this was one of the reasons this was able to happen. So anyway, I made the excuse to my parents and to the pastor, you know, this job is really interfering with my schoolwork and it is true. My schoolwork was really suffering. People just did not understand why.

 

Dr. Morse

That is right. You left that part out. So, before you go any further, so this is going on for a couple months?

 

Faith Hakesley

Several months, I would say the first real incident was probably June, July. And then I think it was about October, November, maybe by the time I quit. And then even after I quit though, he then reached out to me after mass one Sunday and asked if I would come to the rectory every so often to give him violin lessons.

Dr. Morse

Oh boy. Yeah.

Faith Hakesley

What was I going to say? No, I did not want anyone to find out. And I also want to add in, you know, I grew up in a home where this kind of issue was talked about. If anything ever does or says anything to you, if you ever find anything, you know, you come and you can tell us, we will believe you, you know. But that victim mindset took over, his grooming or that whole process was just so powerful that I really was just putting this all on myself, what did I do, I must have done something, I must have asked for this, I am a horrible person, I am just, all these labels that I started putting on myself. And so the abuse continued a bit for the next few months, but sporadically.

Dr. Morse

Because you were not there all the time. Right?

Faith Hakesley

Every so often he would call and say, hey, can I have a lesson on this day? So, and then he ended up being transferred to the marriage tribunal.

 

Dr. Morse

Oh my god.

 

Faith Hakesley

This is what we heard. And I remember thinking, he is going to be counseling troubled couples. Okay. Well, you know, as a victim, I thought I was the only one, the possibility that there was anyone else just seemed kind of, it did not dawn on me that there could be, but I still thought it was strange that he would be transferred there of all places, because in my thought, he should not be counseling anyone but, okay.

Dr. Morse

We have heard from time to time about men credibly accused of homosexual abuse. Being placed in the tribunal because people think, well, they are away from children, they are safe, they are okay. And I am like, okay, so you want a guy who has no self-control and who is not oriented towards married life. You want that guy doing Canon law and judging people's marriages and talking to them and, oh, what a bad idea.

[10:01 – 15:00]

Dr. Morse

When they transferred him, do you think anybody had an inkling that there was a problem with him? Or is that something that you were in a position to judge?

Faith Hakesley

As far as I know, no one within our parish community knew that anything had happened at our parish of all saints. However, I have since found out just from reliable sources that there were people who were very much aware of what kind of man he was. He was a womanizer. From the parish that he was at, before he came to our parish and even from the seminary, but he was a known womanizer and this sort of, like a group if you, you know, I will cover for me, I will cover for you kind of thing. And he sort of was a part of this group within the seminary. There was actually a deacon. He passed away, not too long ago. Who apparently, again, this is what I have been told, who tried to put a stop to Calvin's ordination, or that did not happen. That he was ordained. And then when Calvin, my rapist, when he was still a deacon at the church, he was stationed at before he came to our parish. He raped another woman. She went to the pastor, he did not believe it. So he brought Kelvin and this woman into the room together and said, did you do this to her? And of course he did not.

Dr. Morse

Oh, I am so sure he told the absolute hundred percent truth.

Faith Hakesley

And so then he was just transferred right up. So, there were people who were very much aware of the kind of man he was, but he was sort of passed along anyway because he had friends and people who could defend them.

Dr. Morse

Okay. This book is about public school administrators. Same story, different costumes, different sectors of society. Same story.

Faith Hakesley

Yep, exactly. It is absolutely variating, it just should not happen.

Dr. Morse

I am sorry. Just tell me your story. We keep getting sidetracked.

 

Faith Hakesley

There are so many layers to it. It is really hard. I still, to this day, it is hard for me to tell the entire story. There is so much, because there is so much I am always learning. Even all these years later, it has been like 20 years. So, once he was transferred, we lost track of him. We had no idea what had happened. Then that next summer, was when July 1st, my oldest brother, Matt, he passed away unexpectedly. The autopsy showed, like a heart conditions, not the same heart condition that I have, but he had a hereditary heart condition. And it took his life when he was 22 years old. Calvin incidentally, right during that week as we were making funeral preparations, he called the house. Now, of course, again, my parents knew nothing about what was going on. No one knew anything. And he said, oh, listen, I heard about what happened to Matt. I am so sorry. How is everyone doing? How is faith doing? And my dad thought it was interesting that he was so concerned about me, but he also kind of understood that because I had worked at the rectory and I had given him lessons that he just figured, okay, well, they had kind of a special connection, you know? So, my parents very innocently said, hey, could you come to the funeral? Do you want to, you know, concelebrate at the funeral? He ended up showing up at the house. This was probably the day before Matt’s wake and I will never, Oh, I will never forget this because I was, and my parents could see that I was having a really difficult time handling Matt's death, which I mean, you could expect, but I was the one who found him lying on the floor. I was the one who screamed, oh my god, there is something wrong with Matt. So I was really, really struggling plus what they did not realize as well as I was now carrying the burden of two traumas around with. And I was just, I was slowly losing my mind. So, I remember being on Matt's bed, just sobbing. And all of a sudden, I felt this hand on my back and I recognized the touch right away and it was Calvin.

 

[15:01 – 20:14]

Faith Hakesley

And he comforted me. I had just lost my brother and he sat there on my brother's bed, comforting me. It makes me feel so gross. Anyway, he sat with me for a little bit and I got up and I just left from there. We went and we sat in the living room and my family was there and he sort of, you know, he comforted us and he said some nice things. Then he said, I have to go. So, we had Matt's funeral. He did not show up, which I was just praising God, because his funeral was hard enough to get through. I was still remembering when I was being abused on Sunday mass. Kelvin would sit there. If he was saying the mass, he would stare at me from his seat and he would just stare at me. It was just that it was the most evil, I can still imagine his eyes. It was just the most evil look that he would just give. Anyway, side note. So, you know, after Matt's death, life kind of went on. I still was not getting any better. I was just not myself at all. I had lost interest in my music. You can understand why. All the things that had brought me joy, I was going downhill. My parents were really worried. And then school started up again and I was a real mess. So, they brought in a grief therapist, a Christian woman who they had known for years and so I went and I spoke with her and at the very first visit, I just blurted it all out. And I felt so much better. Like, oh, I told someone, so like my secret is out. I can talk to her about this, at least. And then the next week she explained, once again, I hope you understood what I told you, but I am a mandated reporter. So, I did have to report this. She is like, I am not going to say anything to your parents, that is up to you, and if that is something you want to do. And so I took a few weeks to kind of prepare and think about it. And I did finally make the decision. We brought them in and I told them everything. And it was, you know, you talk about the importance of family and I could not have gotten through the next few years, any of this without my family. They did not ask questions. You know, they did not ask, why did you go back? What did you do? There was no blame, whatsoever. The only question came from my dad. My mom, I remember her just sobbing and grabbing me. Are you okay? Are you okay? Oh God, please. No, no, no, not my child. Then my dad, I remember him just going and I kind of have to laugh at it now as a parent. Who did it? That was his question. And I told them and they said, oh, like, we should have known. I am sure they blamed themselves a lot for things.

Dr. Morse

Let me pause right here, because there are a couple of things that you are saying here that I have heard from other survivors. Okay. So, number one, that other family trauma, that other big life event of somebody dying, bam, out at Combs. Second thing is, is your parents' reaction, your parents trying to help you and then at the same time blaming themselves but at the same time, then looking back and going, the signs were there. Now that she said it, it adds up.

Faith Hakesley

Yeah, always. He had a little nickname for me and I should add this in. He would call me, you little thing and there was a reason for that and it had to do with the abuse. And he had this little nickname for me and no one else knew what it meant except me. Anyway, it was again, that was another element of control. Let me know. I see you. I am watching you, you know?


Dr. Morse

And I have got this technical into your brain and I am messing with you in front of everybody.

 

Faith Hakesley

I am getting away with it.

 

Dr. Morse

I have so much power in this situation that I can mess with your mind and blame you of everybody, and nobody is going to help you.

Faith Hakesley

Yeah, exactly. And he had given me advice on more than one occasion when I asked him about certain issues, you know, I feel like I should talk to my parents about such and such, Oh no, do not do that.

 

Dr. Morse

Oh my God.

Faith Hakesley

Once everything came out, it became more difficult in a way, but also a lot easier. More difficult because then I had to actually deal with this stuff that had been building within me for so long. And we then found out that the reason he had been removed from active duty because a woman, he had been having a consensual fling with, she was in her sixties.

[20:15 – 25:22]

Faith Hakesley

Now, let us also remember, he was a young priest. He was in his probably I think, early thirties at the time. So, at the same time he was abusing me, he was having a thing going on with this woman in her sixties. And when she found out that he was going to be transferred to the marriage tribunal, she called and said, Oh no, this is not a good idea, this is what has been going on between me and him, I recognize it was wrong, however, I do not want to see this happen to anyone else. So, she put a stop to it. So, she kind of put them out of commission. So, he was not an active priest, which explains why he did not show up at my brother's funeral, which I am very grateful.

Dr. Morse

Which he did not reveal when your parents invited him.

 

Faith Hakesley

No, we did not know that he had been removed so that he was on leave, they had put them on leave.

Dr. Morse

Because at this time, if I can just clarify, all they officially knew about was an adult. They had not heard anything about any.

Faith Hakesley

I think so. So technically, nothing illegal had transpired. Yes, she went to him with her issues and you know, he took advantage of it, but it is technically not illegal.

 

Dr. Morse

It was immoral.

 

Faith Hakesley

Immoral but not illegal in their eyes because she was an adult, you know? So, anyway. So, I had come forward at that point and then I made the decision. I went and spoke with someone from the district attorney's office because I was a minor, you know, they had to take down. So, I had to tell them everything, that was humiliating, that was so draining. Oh my goodness.

Dr. Morse

You were 16 at that time or 17?

Faith Hakesley

I would have been 16 at this point. I also went and I spoke with someone from the archdiocese of Boston. I do not remember his exact title, but he was in charge of handling things like this. And when I told him what had happened, I told him the story and he said, we had been waiting for something like this. Basically, they were waiting for the other shoe to drop because they had heard all these whispers of issues with women, but nothing with a child, nothing they could actually get them on.

Dr. Morse

He had already been removed from ministry because of this other lady.

 

Faith Hakesley

Yes.

 

Dr. Morse

So, they had done that part of it. They had done that part of it, but there was nothing they could go to law enforcement.

Faith Hakesley

Exactly. So, once I heard that there were other women who had been victimized, even though I was the only minor, I made the decision, okay, I am going to face him in court. I did not have to. And it was a painful decision to make. And I did not want to see him. I did not realize just how painful it was going to be to have to testify, but I knew it was going to be hard. He had warned me, this is not going to be easy if this is the path you choose, but that is what I chose to do. And so I did. After three hours of being cross-examined on the stand, he was eventually, they did find him guilty. Originally, he got 12 to 14 and then he went back to court later on and the judge lowered it to 8 to 10 or something weird. Anyway, so we got 8 to 10. He served his time and then he was deported to his native, Columbia because he was not a full American citizen. That is the last time I saw him was at the trial. We have learned so many more things since then, for example, he had a girlfriend when he was at our parish, and she was like an 18-19 year old young woman. Very, very troubled. She sent me an email. She somehow got ahold of me several years ago and blamed me that the stress I caused, caused her to lose their baby. So, over the years, there has always been one more thing that I find out. I said, okay, Lord. And now, you know, here I am. All these years later and I am still here.

Dr. Morse

And you are trying to tell the truth as best as you can without, you know, as I am listening to you, I am hearing you describe what happened with as little blame as possible, just to describe this is what happened. And we can see, we have the evidence of what kind of a man he was. You know, that there are multiple people that he took advantage of. So, for him to be going around in a Roman collar is scandalous in and of itself because that gives him trust that he does not deserve and then he can weasel his way into people, technically it might not be illegal, but it is certainly wrong and very dark and very wrong, you know, just very wrong for him to be doing that. So, you do not know what is going on with him in Columbia. He is just not in the country anymore.

 

[25:23 – 30:01]

Faith Hakesley

Yeah, I do not know. But all the women who have come forward to me privately and there have been, I would say close to 10. And so you know there is always more, you know that. They were all adult women. One claimed she was drugged. Another one, she was a well-known in the parish as a matter of fact but, you know, he took advantage of her just in various situations in which they were alone together, you know. So, all sorts of stories I have heard. He was not a very nice man.


Dr. Morse

So, I think, for the average person listening here, there are a couple of things that I would like you to address and one of them is the response of the parish community because to this day, there are people who probably think, Oh, he was such a nice priest. What happened? So just talk us through it a little bit, Faith.

 

Faith Hakesley

I think as a parish, as a lay person, I think it is hard to admit that you have been taken advantage of. You are, in a way, maybe you were not physically abused, maybe he did nothing to you, you know, personally or physically, but you have been victimized and it is hard. It is very humbling to admit I was wrong. I thought that he had a very good character. I thought he was a Holy man and I was wrong. I think it is really hard for people to admit that. And so I think as a community, there were many people in my parish and even to this day who sided with him because he made himself look, even at the trial, he made himself look like such a victim. I do not know why they are doing this to me, but the God is my witness. I did not. I am not the monster they are trying to paint me to be. I recognize certain people from years ago. And I know they still maintain his innocence. They are convinced. There is no way he could have done this. They got out there and they were greeting people, filing out of mass with flyers, asking to help defend him, asking for money to help with his defense attorney, all these things. Now, the pastor did tell them, you know, you cannot be doing this on parish property. You know, I was actually threatened. I was threatened by people who were so convinced that this man was telling the truth. So yeah, I think with the whole, we mentioned grooming before, and I think these predators weasel their way in to the entire community. And this happens way too frequently.

Dr. Morse

Well, one of the cases, there was a priest who was preying on teenage boys and he was going to, they are going to funerals, you know? And one boy had committed suicide and the priest is weaseling his way into the guy’s friends who are grieving the guy. And of course, the reason they kid committed suicide is because this priest had prayed on, you know, but they caught him and they had him in court and he was so convincing as a liar. He was so convincing that they could not convict him. And finally, they got a 17 year old boy who agreed to wear a wire and who basically, you know, had a kind of encounter with him and got him on tape. So you can hear what this guy said to this kid. And there was a detective listening in the whole time, the kid's parents knew about it and so on. And at some point, the kid just bolted out of there and the detectives moved in and arrested the guy. But without getting that on tape, the guy was so smooth that people would not have believed in it. And I have often sent people to that. Just, this is how it is done. So, tell me a little more about the aftermath. I mean, how did it feel to see him behind bars?

Faith Hakesley

It was a relief at the time, you know. There is different stages to grief. I was still grieving my brother, of course, at this point. So, but also I was grieving coming to terms with everything that had happened to me. So yes, having that chapter, kind of closing that chapter was a relief, but at the same time, it was just, okay, now what. I did not know how do I now keep moving forward?

[30:02 – 35:03]

Faith Hakesley

And it took a lot of support from my family. It took a lot of prayer, which I was really struggling with at that point. You know, my faith was, it was a struggle to keep that up and I had that same good Christian counselor and that is all I could do. And it was just about every day, one foot in front of the other. I was literally forcing myself to just, okay, I am going to get up and this is what I am going to do. For whatever reason, I was just determined. I just got to get through this but it also encouraged me to, because of everything I had been through and especially with the trial and all that, it inspired me to change my major from music to criminal justice and psychology because I wanted to help other people. So, I went into college with the idea that I was going to become a victim advocate of some sort, it did not end up happening, but that is what I was working towards. And I do not know what to tell you, I just kept going.

Dr. Morse

Right. But how would it have felt to you if he had not been charged, if no one had believed you. I am trying to put, imagine some of the other cases that we hear about where people do not believe in, people cover for the guy.

 

Faith Hakesley

That would have held me back. I can imagine that I would have been living in fear, even with him behind bars, I lived in fear for a long time. I still live in the same city where it happened. I still go to the same parish. I mean, I kind of stopped going to that particular church for a while because I just emotionally, I could not handle it but for a long time, I was living in fear and that was with him behind bars. I can only begin to imagine what it is like to go through what I have been through and then see your rapist go free. I really cannot. I do not know what I would have done.

Dr. Morse

So, tell people about your meeting with Pope Benedict, because when you had that meeting, you have written very movingly about it, and somebody took a photo of you. I suppose, they took photos of everybody as they shake hands. And it is a beautiful photo. So, tell people about it and tell people what that meant to you to meet.

Faith Hakesley

I look at that. I have that in the living room. For several years after they gave me that photo, I could not look at it because all I could think of was the pain and I will explain to people who are not familiar with it. I was one of five survivors from the archdiocese of Boston, asked to go to Washington, DC in 2008 for a private meeting with then Pope Benedict, the 16th. He met with us at the, I can never say this right, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC. And we were each given just a few moments to go up and speak to him privately. And I had been preparing myself for this moment, thinking I am going to say something really spectacular. I had no idea. I was clueless. Before I left my mom, because I traveled with my fiancé, my now husband, but then fiancé traveled with me along with a large group of people. And she gave me her rosaries before I left to sit here, use these. So I did. And in the car ride on the way there to meet the Pope, I was like, okay, Lord, what do you want me to say? Because I really want to say something really profound that is going to make an impression on him, but just nothing was coming to mind. So, I sat in the chapel again, just praying, nothing was coming to mind. Finally, my turn came, I walked up to him. He stretched his hands out. I held his hand and I just started sobbing. I could not say a thing. And at first, I felt really embarrassed because like, come on, you know, get yourself together, say something. And he was so loving, so kind. He said just very gently, I understand you are getting married soon. They must have told them. And I was the youngest one by about 30 years. So, they probably assumed she must be the one who was saying, and you know, I said, yes. And he said, well, blessings on your marriage and your future family.

 

[35:04 – 40:02]

Faith Hakesley

And he said, there is always hope. He said, never forget that. And he gave each of us a pair of rosary beads and then that was the end of the meeting. So, that picture was taken, the picture you are talking about is me holding hands with him, just sobbing uncontrollably and he is talking to me and I have not had very many moments in my life where I feel like, Oh, Jesus is speaking to me directly right now. I do not have those kinds of firework moments. I am just not one of those people, but that was one of those moments. It really felt like it would feel if Jesus was talking directly to me. He was so fatherly. He seemed to really understand, you know, just how big, how serious this thing was. While we were there, our Cardinal Sean O'Malley presented him with a book of names, large book containing, I do not know the exact number off the top of my head, but it was over 1400 names of people who had been abused by a priest deacon, you know, from the archdiocese of Boston. And next to some of the names, there were little crosses. Those are the names of people who had passed away. Many of them had passed away because of drug overdoses, suicides. And when that book was given to the Holy Father, I think at that moment, it made the victims more tangible, you know. So often we hear about numbers, but they were their names, just names. I see my own name in there. I am the only faith. And it is just makes my heart just kind of sink, like, Oh my god. The other people who I have known of, you know, and I see their names and it is just really, it helps to make us more tangible. We are no longer just a number, just some other person who has been abused. We are real people with names and lives that have been seriously affected by this. So, that meeting with Benedict really, it changed my life. It really did. It gave me more hope than I had in a long time. And it was at that meeting that I felt the Holy Spirit was working in me to telling me, you have got to do something. I do not know, you know, and I did not know exactly what it was, but it was like I was being told you have to use your story to help other people.

 

Dr. Morse

And here you are.

 

Faith Hakesley

Exactly. When or how or any of that, but.

 

Dr. Morse

And here we are with your book. Okay. So, I want to say a little something about this book because it is due to be released early in August of 2020, I think. Is that right?

 

Faith Hakesley

August 24th, it is coming out.

 

Dr. Morse

Okay. So, by the time this, I do not know exactly when this will be released, but yeah, you can pre-order it or you can buy it, one way or the other, whenever you happen to be watching this. Tell people a little bit about it, Faith. It is not just your story.

Faith Hakesley

There are bits and pieces about my story thrown in there, but this was meant, this is a devotional. So, originally I had started out by writing. I did not know what direction to take with my writing. So, I was kind of just writing my story, how I dealt with it, writing about my faith, how that was affected. And then it turned into more of a devotional thing, which I am more comfortable with in a way, because I do not want it to be about me, but I want the story. I want my story to help other people in some way,

Dr. Morse

There are things you have to do, you know, she has got it. This is for you to use.

Faith Hakesley

Yes. So, I really dug deep into my own experiences and also the experiences of people I have spoken to. Different gifts that God gives you in order to heal. And what inspired this was actually my mom because people say, well, what glimmer of grace? What is that? Well, it is almost like it is like a hug from God in a way. It is like, God speaking to you in a way that you understand something that makes you say that was you, God, that is a glimmer of grace.

 

Dr. Morse

Tell people about the tootsie roll,

 

Faith Hakesley

Tootsie roll. I love this story. This was going on at the trial. I was sitting outside the courtroom with just a stranger.

[40:03 – 45:02]

Faith Hakesley

He was the court guard, the bailiff. He was waiting to bring me in to testify and you kept looking in the window to see, okay, are they ready for her yet and he was trying to carry on like small talk with me. And I was just not interested. I was trying to be polite. I was trying to be kind, I was terrified. I felt like I was going to my death. So, right before, right as we stood up, he said, okay, it is time. And he pressed something into my hand. And then we went into the room and I looked down and it was a Tootsie roll, just this little Tootsie roll. And I had been praying, okay, God, please help me get through, show me, I need to get through this, show me that you are with me. And in that moment, that the passage, I think it is from Matthew maybe, a faith, the size of a mustard seed and all I can think of, okay, well, it is bigger than a mustard seed, but it is faith, the size of a tootsie roll. And a few weeks before that, my mom had told me about, you got to look for the glimmers. You know, you have got to look for glimmers of grace, God's glimmers of gray. And she told me, you know, explain to me how she had gotten through my brother's death and how she was getting through all of this. Because as a mother, I cannot even imagine what she was going through and so it was like, I realized, this is a glimmer of grace. God is talking and he is telling me, it is going to be okay, he is with me. And a tootsie roll. Honestly, I do not like Tootsie rolls. Chewy, they bother my teeth, but ever since then, every time I see a Tootsie roll, my eyes start well, you know. So, I had that Tootsie roll in my pocket the entire time I was on the stand. It was that little, just what I needed. That little piece of comfort that got me through that. And so that was what encouraged me. It got me on the path to looking, you know, to recognizing more regularly, those glimmers of grace, that God never truly leaves you no matter, you know, he never abandons you, even if you feel alone, even when you are scared, he is always there. And he is always speaking to you and so in the book, I really try to encourage people to open their minds and hearts, to recognizing God's presence in their lives, into recognizing that he wants to help you heal. And these are the different gifts that he gives you to help you to heal. So, that is the gist of the book.

Dr. Morse

It is called glimmers of grace. And the thing I like to add to it is it for people who have not been abused, then people for whom this is not an immediate thing in your life, understand what that bailiff did for you with that small gesture of kindness. And you do not know what your gestures of kindness are going to mean to people, you know, and just the fact that you say to somebody, I believe you, do you want to go for coffee? You want to talk, you want to not talk? Do you want to just go to the movies? You know, just your act of friendship towards somebody who has been through the mill like this, it is very powerful. You have a calling to be a glimmer of grace to the victim, to their families, to their husbands, maybe, you know, these things have enormous ripple effects.

Faith Hakesley

Yeah. You put it so beautifully. That is exactly, you know, one of the things about this book too, is I wrote it. Yes, it is for survivors but I also think that someone who is trying to support a survivor could pick this up and at least get an idea of what that person is going through or a survivor could read it and say, maybe I read something like this and, you know, write down my answers to some of the reflection questions. And I say, hey honey, you know, I give it to my husband. Can we go through this together? Can we read this together? Can we reflect on my answers together? Cause I want you to really understand what I am going through. So, I hope this is going to be a powerful tool even if it just changes one person's life or helps, you know, puts someone on the road to healing, you know, it is worth all the time and energy it took to write it.

Dr. Morse

In parishes or church, other church communities or parent church organizations or anything like that where they have had an incident that now people are aware like, Oh my god, this has been going on under our nose. And we did not know, we do not know what to do now. This is a place to start.

Faith Hakesley

This is meant to be a very gentle approach to healing. I have, in the past, picked up books where it is a lot of psychology thrown in there and big words, and it is just, okay, I cannot do this.

[45:02 – 47:17]

Faith Hakesley

Then I tried to think, okay, how would I have wanted someone to speak to me, especially when I was first coming to terms what had happened.

Dr. Morse

I think this is a book that people can buy by the case. I mean, if you have got a need, if you are in a situation, you know, just buy 10 or 20 of them, give them out.

Faith Hakesley

I think even for priests or for even a therapist office, for your Catholic therapist, Christian therapist, I think this would be great to be able to give to your clients or to parishioners, any kind of situation like that.

Dr. Morse

Right. Well, faith, do you have any last words for our Ruth Institute followers?

Faith Hakesley

Just, there is always hope. That is all I can say. I think Pope Benedict said it best. He said there is always hope so just never let go of that hope.

Dr. Morse

That is great. Well, thank you so much for being our guest. As you know, the Ruth Institute is absolutely committed to dealing with the sexual revolution as fallout and surely victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether it is clergy, whether it is a public school teacher, whether it is relative, whether it is male or female victims, survivors of childhood sex abuse are part of the fallout of the sexual revolution. And so this is one aspect of dealing with that. And I am so grateful that you wrote this book and so grateful for your time today. Thank you so much, Faith.


Faith Hakesley

Thank you. God bless you.




 
 
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