By SAMANTHA SMITH | Published July 9, 2020
ATLANTA—A new book is available to help survivors of abuse grow closer to Christ.
“The Way: Stations of the Cross for Survivors of Abuse,” released in May, follows the last days of Jesus’ life before death.
Sue Stubbs, author and director of the Victim Assistance Program for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, wrote the stations in 2008 when she began hosting “The Way” retreats for survivors of abuse. The retreats are held multiple weekends per year, for women and men separately. It is open to survivors who have been abused in any way by anyone.
The retreat is centered on the Stations of the Cross to help survivors relate their traumatic experiences with Jesus’ death and resurrection. These stations are usually done at the end of “The Way” retreat with participants.
Even though she is the author, Stubbs credits the Holy Spirit for writing “The Way” stations.
“It just came so easily,” she said.
As part of the publishing process, research is required to make sure your book is not one of many already published books addressing a specific topic. Stubbs “knew there was a need” when she was unable to find many books for survivors of abuse.
Hopefully from reading it, survivors won’t feel so isolated and alone, which are some of the effects abuse can have on victims, said Stubbs.
The book is dedicated to “all victims, survivors and thrivers with a history of abuse,” who Stubbs considers to be her heroes.
Survivors are courageous, brave and beautiful, and nothing will change that, she said.
Guidelines for doing the stations alone or with others are included in the book. Reflections are from the perspective of abuse survivors in plural form, as a reminder that no survivor is alone.
Contributors to the book include Stubbs’ nephew, C. Tyler Flowers, illustrator of the book and catcher for the Atlanta Braves; Jessica Flowers, a niece who helped with formatting and a host of friends and relatives. Gretchen Keiser, former editor of The Georgia Bulletin, assisted with editing in the book’s early stages. Proceeds from the book will go towards Stubbs’ next book, which will be on “The Way” retreats.
With some programming being cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stubbs hopes the book gives survivors “something else to ponder,” as they await the return of events. She also hopes that more survivors will use it as a resource.
“People who can’t come to the retreat or aren’t ready for it or may never be ready for it can at least use this,” she said.
Parishes are encouraged to use the book as a guide for the stations during a Friday in Lent. It could give parishioners an idea of what survivors go through and help some realize that they experienced abuse in their lives, Stubbs explained.
“I see the vast majority of people really get something out of it,” said Stubbs. “There’s a huge potential for healing.”