Skip to content


Healing and Empowerment for Women

Category Archives: Pain


I turn seventy tomorrow.

I am writing to tell you that survivors of clergy sex abuse serve a life sentence.

Clergy sex abuse, with its physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse and spiritual abuse causes a SHATTERING of the survivor’s being.

Sometimes clergy are given minimal sentences for raping children. Sometimes as little as one year. But we survivors serve a life sentence.

Let me introduce you to my five year old self.


This precious five year old was sodomized on a weekly basis during fishing season by my father’s priest.

My body will never be the same.

My emotions were savaged not only by the abuse, but by my parents, groomed by the priest, who turned a blind eye to what was happening.

I lost my faith, but regained it, bit by bit. My faith is now robust, but scarred.

I lead a full, productive life. I have left this world a better place.

I like to think that my book has been a snowflake in creating the wonderful avalanches of justice that are happening for children, women and men today.

book cover 9.2.10

I published my book on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, December 28. I dedicated it to all of my brothers and sisters in this world who survived clergy sex abuse. And to those who, sadly, did not survive. So many suicides because of this horrible crime!



A bead artist in one of my Facebook groups was bemoaning her cracked fingertips. I will share what I wrote to her, in case you are suffering as well.

I am a doctor/artist and I wrote a comprehensive health care guide for women who do crafts. It won a Gold Medal for Health Communication and was a Main Selection of the Doubleday Cooking and Crafts club.

One whole chapter of my book is on the fingers.

Here is what I am doing this winter for my cracked fingertips. Every night I put a teaspoon of sugar in my palm and pour in about a teaspoon of olive oil. I scrub down my hands, the backs, palms and fingertips. I rub my fingertips in my palms in the sugar scrub to burnish off dead skin and to stimulate the blood vessels.

Then I wash off the sugar with water under the tap, then most of the oil with hand soap.

I keep my fingernails very short so that the skin on the tips is uniformly tough, so that it resists cracking.

At bedtime I put 1/2 teaspoon of sweet almond oil in my palm and I massage it into my hands, especially my nail beds and fingertips. The massage not only delivers the oil to my skin but opens up the capillary beds so that maximum sturdiness of the skin develops.

If you want my book, many Amazon Booksellers have it for 1 cent plus $3.99 shipping (this keeps me humble; if you buy from Amazon Booksellers I won’t make even that one cent, which is fine).

If you need it today you can get it from C&T Publishing as an e-book. There’s a hot link to the C&T listing on my author website

BTW, C&T was the best publisher a gal could dream of!

Tags: , , , , , ,


I found this ladder at a garage sale in Madison, WI in 1976, during medical school.

It was oak, very well made, and already gently worn.

During my internship, in 1977, I added a hook and eye and a handle, to allow me to carry it easily. I placed the handle, which I took from a screen door, at its balance point. The hook and eye, from the same screen door, kept it closed when I carried it by the handle.

Life went on. In 2000, when I began to joyfully consider how much better my life would be if I were single again, I painted it white and, in the Christmas season, strung it with white lights.

In 2001, I filed for divorce, and that Christmas, again strung it with white lights.

In 2002, my freedom regained, I painted it hot pink, with sea blue “olives” with magenta “pimentos”, after a Mexican folk art design I admired. I strung it with pink lights under the eaves of my new house.

I did so every year.

Unfortunately, one year not long ago, I left it out in the rain and its “feet” rotted.

I was grief stricken.

Fortunately, my son-in-love came to the rescue. He cut off the bad parts and reset the braces. I am so grateful.

I have a kit to repair the wood rot, but for now I have strung it with hot pink Christmas lights.

It is in my sunroom, just off the kitchen, where I can enjoy it safe from the elements.

I am so grateful to have it!

Tags: , , ,


Last year 26,000 of our military personnel were victims of soldier-on-soldier rape.

Half were men; half were women.

Soldier-on-soldier rape undermines the honor of the military.

Soldier-on-soldier rape undermines the loyalty of the military.

Soldier-on-soldier rape undermines the courage of the military.

What could be more cowardly than a soldier raping another soldier? The perpetrators of these crimes become cowards.

These rapes threaten the trust and discipline that make the military strong.

I all these crimes TREASON.

If the chain of command punishes the victim, which sadly happens in more than half of the reported cases, I call that TREASON, too.

The patriots who are the victims of military-on-military rape undergo a shattering of their bodies, their minds and their souls. These patriot-survivors will never be the same.

I have the privilege of knowing a PATRIOT who was raped at one of the service academies. I have followed the shattering of her incredible strength and potential as a result of the crimes committed against her. She is healing now. I pray that her healing become complete.

I have had the privilege of knowing her parents. I have witnessed the shattering of the emotions and souls of her folks as a result of the crimes committed against their daughter. I have witnessed their anguish as they have watched their daughter’s shattering and slow recovery, which continues.

The parents are secondary victims of the treason committed against their daughter.

ESPN did a great expose of these issues. You can watch the 18 minute segment here:

The segment tells the story of two women, one a Sailor, one a Marine, who were raped by fellow military. Shockingly, it was the two victims who were punished, not their attackers!

I call punishing the victims treason also.

Tags: , , , , , , ,


From 2002-2006 I had the incredible privilege of working with homeless, mentally ill persons in downtown Dallas two days a week.

Homeless Services had no official “team leader”, but on the days I worked I was the de facto team leader.

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning I’d send out an email to the whole team, using “Starfishers,” as my salutation.

I’d remind the team that although we could not “save” every patient we served that day, we could save some of them.

And we could touch them all; we could make each and every one of them feel that they matter. We could look into their eyes, listen to their stories and honor their feelings.

In my Starfisher emails I told the team stories of patients who had triumphed over addiction and homelessness. I encouraged them in their noble mission.

When I left, the team gave me a wonderful snow globe:


I will admit that I tear up sometimes when I see it.

The rotating center star says “You are a Star” and the inscription is to “Dr. Susan Delaney, The Ultimate Starfisher”. The music box plays “I Believe I Can Fly“.

I hope that you will look around you today for beached “starfish”. Look around you for the abused, the lost and the lonely. Pick one of them up and share your love with them.

It matters to that one.


“AP Stylebook” Adds Entry on Mental Illness for Journalists

The Associated Press (AP) has added a new entry about mental illness to their “Stylebook,” clarifying how journalists should refer to mental illness and people with a mental illness in articles and stories, and admonishing reporters and editors to avoid stigmatizing terms and phrases.

The entry includes the following instructions: “Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story,” and “Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.”

The “AP Stylebook” is widely used by writers, journalists, and editors for a broad array of publication types, and the new entry reflects a remarkable sensitivity to the way public perception of mental illness can be shaped by modern journalism.

The sad truth is that the mentally ill are more likely to be VICTIMS of violence than they are to be violent.

Let us cherish our mentally ill, not stigmatize them. Let’s make it easy and possible for them to get the treatment they need.

Tags: , , , , ,


I accepted the challenge of Jeweler/Blogger Jeannie K. Kukic to participate in her 5th Annual Do Over Challenge. (

Jeannie sent me a piece of jewelry she’d made but had never been able to sell. I am to rework it using at least half of the components of the original item.

I’ll be posting my creation on the reveal date, April 21.

I am a minimalist sort of gal. I’ve worn the same simple gold bean at my throat for the last 35 years! I am rather overwhelmed by the task of creating something from these pieces! But I am already playing with them, moving them around, figuring out how six of these circles can go into a pair of earrings to go with the re-created necklace.

If I make earrings out of six of the rings, I only have to use 9 more of the rings in my design!

I am scared but I am courageous. I can do this.

Stay tuned.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: