Consultation and Talks

Dr. Daniel Meola, founder and director of Life-Giving Wounds, is available for consultations, presentations, and workshops related to the needs, accompaniment, and healing of now-adult children of divorce and separation. These talks are great starting points for building support for establishing a permanent ministry by raising awareness about the pastoral needs and importance of offering healing. View his biography or book him here.

For consultations, Dan is pleased to offer advice and his pastoral experience to leaders from a wide-range of ministries - whether that be schools, parishes, college campuses, dioceses, young adult ministries, ministries for marriage preparation or marriage enrichment, youth ministry, etc.

Below are examples of the talks Dan can give. These talks are well suited for training events, young adult gatherings (retreats, Theology on Tap, etc.), adult faith formation events or conferences, specific outreach to adult children on divorce, marriage preparation and marriage enrichment events or retreats, and more. He is happy to work with hosting parishes, dioceses and organizations to tailor a talk for their needs, schedule, and budget.

Life-Giving Wounds: How to Transform Suffering in Family Life into a Resource for Love

This talk discusses in depth redemptive suffering in relation to family trauma, especially your parents’ divorce, using personal stories, beautiful art, wisdom from the Bible, and Saint John Paul II’s profound insights from his work On the Christian Meaning of Suffering (Salvifici Doloris).

Recovering Origins: How Your Parents’ Divorce or Separation Affects Your Identity

After their parents’ divorce or separation, children often feel torn between “two different worlds” (Elizabeth Marquardt) and form their identity between these different worlds. This talk focuses on the impact of your parents’ divorce or separation on your identity and what your true identity is, as understood by the Bible and Catholic teaching. In particular, it will walk through five key points of Christian identity, as well as the importance of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist for one’s identity. By learning about and accepting their God-given identity, adult children of divorce can move from brokenness into wholeness.

Accompanying and Healing the Wounds of Adult Children of Divorce or Separation

This workshop teaches pastoral leaders how to launch successfully a retreat and support group ministry as well as be better attuned in their ministries to the needs of adult children of divorce or separation. It provides different practical ways that leaders can minister to this group of individuals. In particular, it addresses several common wounds and how adult children of divorce or separation are not just a group in need of pastoral care, but also are witnesses to authentic married love that they can, at times, see more clearly on account of their wound.

What Every Catholic Needs to Know about Adult Children of Divorce or Separation

This talk, meant for a general Catholic audience, shares the truth about the wounds and lives of adult children of divorce and separation, in contrast to widespread societal “happy talk” about divorce that at best minimizes their pain or at worst silences them. Their stories are our stories - neighbors, friends, family, and parishioners. As a Church, we need to know that on account of their wounds they have something important to teach us and that we all have a role in helping those we know who face this cross. Also, this talk makes the case for why it is critically important for there to be a permanent ministry for adult children of divorce or separation in parishes and dioceses.

How to Move from Wounded Self-Protection to Self-Giving Love through the Wisdom of the Theology of the Body

Do you struggle in relationships with others? Do you struggle giving your full self or receiving love from another? Do you want something more and better for your love? God destines everyone to a great love and makes them capable of self-giving love. Yet on account of wounds, many people fail to believe they are capable of great love because they have established a false identity, practice unhealthy self-protective behaviors, and a lack authentic models of love. In response to this situation, this talk explores Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, highlighting what he calls the “original experiences” in order to recover an authentic vision of identity, love, and self-giving, as well as to respond to the wounds of those who have experienced their parents’ separation or divorce. In particular, it discusses how Saint John Paul II’s vision of love as total self-giving is the necessary antidote for one’s relational wounds.  

From Broken to Beloved: How One Adult Child of Divorce Found Healing Through the Catholic Faith

This is Dan’s personal journey of healing from his parents’ divorce through his rediscovery of the Catholic faith, a mysterious meeting with a saint, a captivating and holy wife, and great friendships and mentors. The people in his life provide him with a Catholic community that dared greatly to receive his wound and offer direction for healing that later became the impetus for founding Life-Giving Wounds.

The Wound of Silence Facing Adult Children of Divorce

Adult children of divorce feel alone and unheard, and we need to end the silence surrounding their suffering. This talk explores why we are hesitant as a society to acknowledge the severity of wounds experienced by adult children of divorce, and offers a way forward to address these wounds as a Church.

The Wound of Unforgiveness  

This talk examines the Christian meaning of forgiveness and its essential connection to love, the difficulties encountered in trying to forgive those who have hurt us, how forgiveness is an ongoing process, how boundaries are at the service of forgiveness, and the necessity of God’s Divine Mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Above all, it addresses how withholding forgiveness damages your life and wounds your ability to receive and give love fully.

Blessed are Those who Mourn: Learning How to Grieve and Draw Good from our Past in order to Live Fully in the Present

Do you think that examining the past is a waste of time because you can’t change the past? We may not be able to undo past events, but with Christ’s grace we can transform their impact on our present lives. This talk is about why it is important to address and accept our past hurts, the nature of Christian grief in regard to wounds, why the Bible teaches that grieving is essential for healing and happiness, and how Christian grieving draws good from grief with the help of the Christ.

Discerning Relationships Amidst the Ruins (Overcoming Anxiety in Intimate Relationships)

This talk offers advice from Pope John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility about discerning dating and marriage while struggling with the “ruins” from your parents’ failed marriage or relationship. It looks at how our past wounds may filter our present decisions about the types of people we seek to date, our acceptance or rejection of chastity, the decision to cohabit, and expectations about marriage. Then, it looks at what an authentic discernment of dating relationships and marriage looks like by examining four essential qualities to discern in relationships and how to discern them.

Reclaiming the Truths of God as Father, Mary as Mother, and Honoring One’s Own Mother and Father

This talk examines the effects of a parents’ divorce or separation on one’s relationship with God and what it means to call God “Father” and Mary “Mother.” It will address why it can be difficult for adult children of divorce to use these titles, and yet why realization of these truths in the mind and heart is important for healing. Likewise, it is equally difficult to understand what the commandment of honoring your father and mother means in the context of parents who have harmed us. The talk will discuss what is truly meant by this commandment and how to begin to rebuild trust and love in your relationship with God and with your parents.

Keeping the Communion in Communication

This talk discusses communication within a greater vision of the communion of the Sacrament of Marriage. It examines the concept of healthy conflict, provides practical steps for dealing with conflict, and explains why it is necessary to risk healthy conflict for a relationship, a risk that many adult children of divorce or separation are unwilling to take, but one that’s important for the flourishing of their love.

Sexual Difference: Curse, Conflict, or Complementarity?

This talk discusses how the rift every adult child of divorce experiences in their parents’ love creates in them a “wound” in relation to their sexual difference because sexual difference is not just a natural reality, but also a learned virtue that is supposed to be practiced in relation to the opposite sex. The wound from our parents’ conflict is exacerbated by over a century of gender relativism that leaves many thinking that sexual difference is a curse for relationships or something to be ignored. In response to this situation, the talk will propose understanding sexual difference as peaceful complementarity, and that it is important to practice this complementarity in love.  

What the Bible Has to Say about Anger and Anxiety

As adult children of divorce or separation, we can struggle greatly with anger and anxiety. This talk discusses the Biblical perspective on these topics and offers tips and resources for managing anger and anxiety.

Prayer is Healing

Many people struggle with the inability to pray, and this inability greatly affects their healing. This talk explores some of the reasons why people struggle with prayer and how to overcome them. It also offers three great spiritual practices of prayer and how they can be healing for your life. It especially draws upon Ignatian prayer methods and Fr. Jacques Phillipe’s teachings about interior prayer and interior freedom. It also encourages a deeper appreciation for the role of the Sacraments in one’s personal prayer life.

A Christian Perspective on Wounds

There is rightfully a lot of talk today about healing wounds and the Church being a “field hospital,” as Pope Francis describes it, but what is a Christian perspective on healing wounds? This talk contrasts secular and Christian ways of approaching wounds in our lives, and offers practical guidance about spiritually seeing one’s own story of wounds in light of the larger story of salvation history.