Life-Giving Wounds Healing Retreat - For Adult Children of Divorced/Separated Parents

Life-Giving Wounds Healing Retreat - For Adult Children of Divorced/Separated Parents
November 18, 2022 - November 20, 2022
7:00pm (11/18) - 3:30pm (11/20)
Vallombrosa retreat center
250 Oak Grove Ave
Menlo Park, California 94025
Dealing with our parents' divorce is not easy but confronting this wound with faith can allow us to find great healing. We hope that you will become part of our supportive community and receive the many graces available through this ministry.

Healing Retreat

Attending the three-day retreat is a great way to start this journey of healing. The retreat focuses on discovering our identity as children of God, although it also focuses on overcoming the effects of parental divorce, forgiving our parents, and connecting with others from this background.

This retreat has something for any adult child of divorce or separation, no matter how much healing you have received or need.

The weekend includes presentations, small group sharing, adoration, spiritual direction, and Mass. This three-day retreat is the centerpiece of this ministry.

Themes covered on the weekend include:

• Finding Our Deepest Identity
• Faith and Our Relationship with God
• Love, Dating, and the Sacrament of Marriage
• Loneliness
• Anger and Anxiety
• False Guilt and Shame
• Forgiveness and Reconciliation
• Family Boundaries
• The Christian Meaning of Suffering
• Healing and the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
• and more!

Promotional video / testimonies

Fr Luke's testimony  (you tube)


Retreat team biographies

Dr. Daniel Meola

Dr. Daniel Meola earned his Ph.D. in Theology of Marriage and Family from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Washington, D.C. In 2018, he and his wife Bethany founded Life-Giving Wounds ministry to give voice to the pain of and bring Christ’s healing to young adults and adults whose parents have divorced or separated. In this capacity and previous work, they have accompanied hundreds of people with their relational wounds and know very intimately the challenges, success, and hope of healing.

He and his wife, Bethany, have been married since 2011 and live in Bowie, MD, with their daughters Zelie-Louise and Grace. They are members of Teams of Our Lady, an international marriage apostolate.


Dr. Jill Verschaetse 

Dr. Jill Verschaetse is a wife, mother, and licensed clinical psychologist. She is an adult child of divorce and a graduate of the very first Life-Giving Wounds retreat. Her clinical work has included therapy with individuals, families, and couples, as well as psychological assessments for those seeking entrance or holy vows in religious communities. Dr. Jill’s doctoral dissertation focused on the bridal identity of women and the ways in which early traumas (including divorce) can impact the development of their identity. She is passionate about the healing of hearts through the integration of psychology and faith and has a special affection for those who have suffered the wounds of divorce or separation.


Dr. Jill and her husband Dr. Nate are psychological advisors for Life-Giving Wounds. They live in AZ with their two sons (ages 4 and 2). Dr. Jill is privileged to currently spend most of her time at home with her children who both have special needs. Through her boys and especially through their particular challenges, God has granted knowledge of the well-spring of graces offered to families. Dr. Jill occasionally writes for the Life-Giving Wounds blog and considers it an honor to be a part of this ministry.


Emily Carey

Emily Carey has lived in Denver, Colorado for 9 years. A wife, worship leader, and marketer by profession, Emily had her first experience with Life-Giving Wounds in 2021 when asked to fill in as a musician on an upcoming Denver retreat. Emily knew almost instantly that the Holy Spirit was preparing something beautiful for her, and thus began her journey of healing.


Emily graduated from the University of Denver with a double major in Psychology and Music Performance. She loves leading her fellow adult children of divorce in praise and worship, encouraging them to go deeper into prayer and express their grief and joy through song. Emily joined the traveling retreat team in 2022.


Fr. Luke Joseph Leighton

Fr. Luke grew up in Red Bank, NJ. He had a conversion experience in high school that led him to receive the Sacraments of Initiation at 15 years old. About a year later, he felt invited by the Lord to share in his priesthood. As a seminarian for the Diocese of Trenton, Fr. Luke attended Seton Hall University, where his knowledge of the faith and the life of prayer grew tremendously.

After graduating, he entered the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and served in the friars’ mission of preaching the Gospel and attending to the needs of the poor in NYC for fifteen years. While living in the Bronx, he served at the Saint Francis Youth Center, Saint Anthony’s Shelter for Renewal, and Cardinal Spellman High School. Fr. Luke was ordained a priest by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in May of 2013. He completed the Institute for Priestly Formation’s Spiritual Direction Training Program in January 2020. During his time as assistant chaplain at Cardinal Spellman High School Fr. Luke published videos on YouTube which can be viewed here.


Before registering, please be aware of the following:

  • All are very welcome to join us on retreat whether you are Catholic or not, but please be aware that the content of this retreat will be Catholic.

  • A team of presenters will speak about this wound and its effects, and there will be moments for you to share your experiences with others in small groups.

  • As with all retreats, everything will be treated on a strictly confidential basis.  This is a spiritual retreat, not primarily psychological, but we will have a list of counselors available as a resource outside of the retreat itself for those who are interested.

  • Healing retreats pair well with counseling and/or spiritual direction. If you are not already working through this wound with someone, we would encourage you to consider it. If you would like a recommendation, please give us a call.

Begins on Friday (Nov 18) at 7:00 pm, and ends Sunday (Nov 20) at 3:30 pm.  Includes Holy Mass, chance for confessions and Adoration.

Registration is $375 for a single room, $350 for a double (shared) room until Oct 1.  After that, it’s $400/$375.   Limited scholarships are available - contact Ed Hopfner

If you want Friday dinner (6 pm), please plan to check in by 5:00 pm and there is an additional cost of $25.

Life Giving Wounds Retreat

Have you discussed your family wounds with a counselor, priest, or trusted friend?
Do you feel emotionally and psychologically capable at this time to attend an event where strong emotional content about family life may be discussed, shared, and processed? (If you are seeing a psychologist, then please consult first with him or her about whether he or she believes it is a good idea for you to attend a peer group like this one.)
Product Name
Life-Giving Wounds Healing Retreat - For Adult Children of Divorced/Separated Parents
November 18, 2022 - November 20, 2022
7:00pm (11/18) - 3:30pm (11/20)
Vallombrosa retreat center
250 Oak Grove Ave
Menlo Park, California 94025
Ed Hopfner
(415) 614-5547