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Sacred Wounds

Wounds inflicted in the name of religious beliefs or by leaders of these communities are a special kind of hurt. 
These are sacred wounds.
The following are some examples of people's experiences representing trauma inside religious institutions.
  • A person who has been physically or sexually assaulted by a religious figure, leader or community member OR whose physical/sexual assault or abuse has been co-opted by a faith leader or institution or deemed as "ok" by doctrine (God's law).

  • A person who has been abused by family or friends within a faith/religious culture or institution and has been shamed or guilted into believing it was his or her fault due to church doctrine or distorted faith text references - and had those references or the abuse  reinforced as "ok" by anyone else in the family/faith systems.

  • A person who has been deemed "lesser than" due to their race, ethnicity, or gender based on a religious doctrine, text, or faith group's history of marginalization of that or any people group.

  • A person who has been told he or she is wrong, sinful, or going to hell because of who they are due to sexual orientation.

  • A woman who has been forced into a variety of kinds of submission to a man in ways that she is not comfortable with or in ways harmful to her spiritual, physical, emotional or psychological health.

  • A person who was shamed or called sinful for asking questions within a faith culture or tradition and told that questioning anything from the group/institution/religion is a sign of sinfulness or weak faith.

  • A person who has been ridiculed, bullied, or threatened for any reason by a religious or faith institution - especially for questioning or leaving the group/community.

  • A person who was excommunicated from a faith group/religion for disagreeing with practices of that community, its leaders, or its members

  • Anyone who has ever been made to feel he or she doesn't belong, or is less than or sinful, or unworthy, based on nothing more than being who he or she is or communicating feelings. 

The above list is used with permission of Teresa B. Pasquale Mateus

and is from her book Sacred Wounds - A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma

For more information or contact Teresa, please visit her at

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