The Catholic Church has endured an awful abuse scandal. It’s easy to view the Church as exclusively a human institution and fall away from the faith. I can’t even imagine the anger, horror, grief, sadness, or despair that one would feel when abused by a member of the clergy.
I had the pleasure of following Catholic author Faith Hakesley on social media. Her book Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse, is a gift inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Faith shares a vulnerable and grace-filled story about a Catholic priest who sexually abused her and how her journey toward healing involved trusting in God’s will. In the introduction, she writes, “Breaking my silence was one of the greatest graces I have ever received” (p. 11). Healing begins when you allow others in on the suffering you are enduring. Inspired by Saint Therese of Liseux, Hakesley relates how she shared her cross and suffering.
According to the author, “Writing was therapeutic, a way for me to put my deepest feelings into words, a way of finding connection between certain events” (p. 13). Faith wrote Glimmers of Grace to give to other victims (and survivors) of sexual abuse.
Analysis of Glimmers of Grace
The book is divided into three sections focusing on: finding grace, finding healing, and finding freedom. Every chapter in Glimmers of Grace is written in a letter format and ends with reflection questions. Additionally, Faith includes tangible action steps (called One Small Step) to help the reader move toward healing in baby steps.
While I personally have never been a victim of abuse (let alone sexual abuse), I still found value in this book. In 2014 and 2017, I suffered immeasurable loss— the deaths of my unborn children due to miscarriage. My healing took A LONG TIME. Faith details out her healing path and how it took her quite a while to trust the clergy. She even admitted how the abuse affected intimacy in her marriage. I gained strength and hope carrying my crosses simply by reading about Faith carrying hers.
Along with her vulnerable account, I found the format of the book to work perfectly for her story. Hakesley draws in the readers by writing in a direct and sincere style. Her practical tips for healing and holiness are a great resource for anyone (no matter your cross).
A Book of Hope
Glimmers of Grace is a book about healing and discovering the miracles of ordinary life. Faith writes, “What’s a glimmer of grace anyway? It’s a term inspired by my mom, referring to the little miracles that God sends our way” (p. 17). Reading this book helped shift my thinking about miracles. The miraculous can be big (like in the Book of Exodus) or small.
Faith Hakesley is an outstanding writer. Her humility, vulnerability, and trust in God shine through the text of Glimmers of Grace. I strongly recommend this book to any Catholic struggling with the sexual abuse scandal in the Church. You will find perspective, hope, and grace after finishing this book.
Follow Faith Hakesley on Facebook or visit her website at https://www.faithhakesley.com/