Creating safe places
to share hard stories
ONE TIME I was giving a talk about our ministry at
Dominican University outside of
Chicago and I brought a young man,
Joe Montgomery, with me to tell his
story. I spoke, and then he stood up
and spoke from his heart. Afterward
people thanked him for being so
real, so open about his pain, his
hurt, his life story.
On the ride home, traffic wasnormal, which is to say there wasa lot of it. Joe was very quiet, justlooking out the side window. I askedhim, “Joe, what’s going on? What’sthe matter?” He shook his head andkept staring out the window.
Finally he turned to me with
tears in his eyes, and spoke of how
alone he felt, like everyone had left
him. Giving his talk brought up all
kinds of traumatic memories in his
life, and he became his story once
again. He was still struggling with
many issues: he’s been locked up a
number of times, his brother was
locked up for 55 years, his father
was not in his life. All that came
tumbling down on him. What was
bothering him wasn’t a traumatic
event from years ago but all the
events that followed it. He was still
feeling the impact of all that hurt.
I said to him, “You know, Joe,
we got you. We’re here for you.”
He said, “I know, Father Kelly, I just
feel like nobody is thinking of me.
My mom is just doing her thing
now.” Luckily, the traffic was heavy,
and all that stop and go gave us
time to talk. And that we did. That
car became a safe place where I
listened to Joe and allowed him to
tell his story.
FATHER DAVE KELLY, C.PP.S. listens to Joe Montgomery, a neighborhood resident active atthe Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago.
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Contact:Br. Albert Heinrich, F.I.C.
P.O. Box 159
Alfred, ME 04002