A new monthly gathering at the Franciscan Spirituality Center looks to open the door to healing for anyone in need of friendship and support in coping with a divorce or separation.

Starting Sept. 18, each Thursday evening session will offer words of wisdom, fresh insights and affirmations, and opportunities to discuss various topics and emotions associated with this new journey of singleness.

“We decided to offer this program because divorce affects so many people in the community,” said Audrey Quanrud, FSC director. “The people who will be leading it have been there themselves and told us there is a need for this kind of a group.”

Group facilitator Diane Withers, herself divorced for 28 years, says the gathering is just as appropriate for those in need of healing of raw wounds as for those who harbor feelings of anger, guilt or shame decades after a split.

“Divorce is the pain that keeps coming back,” she said. “Every time there is a new situation, a child’s graduation, a remarriage, there’s another ping. Healing is not linear.

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It is like the layers of an onion. Sometimes you work through one thing only to discover there’s another layer behind it.”

Each session will include a short presentation by a local guest speaker also walking this journey, small-group and large-group discussions, time for private reflection and refreshments.

“There’s a real need for dialogue and support for those who have that wounded experience called divorce. My hope is those in need will be open to this continual healing journey, both for themselves and what they can bring to others,” Withers said.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, 920 Market St., La Crosse Themes include: “What has happened?” Sept. 18; “What have I lost?” Oct. 16; “How do I manage my anger?” Nov. 20; and “How do I cope with loneliness?” Dec. 18. Future topics will highlight where to find resources, how to help children manage their feelings, knowing when you are ready for a new relationship and forgiveness.

There is no cost to attend, but a freewill offering will be accepted. The group is open to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. For more information or to register, call 608-791-5295 or visit www.FSCenter.org.

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Vernon County Broadcaster editor

Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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