Reflecting on the lives of the saints can help bring hope and spiritual healing to the living, including those who have endured sexual abuse and trauma, says internationally known Catholic speaker and writer Dawn Eden.The bestselling author and theology graduate student will give a talk on her latest book published by Ave Maria Press, “My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints,” at Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino on Aug. 16. Eden, a Catholic convert and former rock music journalist, shows in her new book how the lives of the saints have given her hope and aided her journey of spiritual healing after childhood sexual abuse. Since the publication of her first book, “The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On,” she has spoken about chastity and conversion to thousands of college students and young adults in the U.S. and abroad.In the past few weeks, the 43-year-old has crisscrossed the country giving book signings for “My Peace I Give You” during a summer break from her doctoral studies at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. She told The Tidings in a recent phone interview from a tour appearance in Louisiana that response to the book has been very positive. Some readers who suffered childhood sexual abuse have told her they have been able to break their self-imposed silence about their abuse and share their wounds with others for the first time, including one person who had kept the abuse a secret for 50 years. Eden notes that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men report they have been sexually abused as children.“I want you to know you are not alone, you are not forgotten and you have more friends in heaven than you realize,” Eden writes in the book’s introduction. “No matter what evil was done to us, if we, like the saints, offer our heart to God, he will accept us as we are, with all our past experiences.” Eden notes that many people often blame themselves for the abuse that was wrongly perpetrated against them and may suffer long-term, isolating effects such as self-loathing and/or anxiety. “The stories of [the saints’] lives — how they suffered, and how they emerged from their sufferings into greater holiness — show that God not only wants to heal our wounds: if we let him, he will heal us through our wounds, making everything we have endured serve to draw us nearer to him in love,” she said.Some of the saints mentioned in the book’s chapters include St. Ignatius of Loyola (sent away from his family at a young age); St. Josephine Bakhita (kidnapped by slave traders at age 7); Blessed Margaret of Castello (a blind, deformed child abandoned by her parents at age 17); and Blessed Karolina Kozka (the “Maria Goretti of Poland” killed by a Russian solider while defending her virginity at age 16).Eden notes that the book’s stories of saints who were abused, mistreated or abandoned as children also resonate with trauma victims. Military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder have told her they appreciated hearing about how St. Therese of Lisieux battled anxiety and, through the transforming power of God’s grace, learned how to be spiritually integrated. “Christ’s life, death and resurrection gives profound meaning to our own suffering,” said Eden. “He loved us and gave himself for us, entering willingly into His Passion so that by his wounds we could be healed. And his wounds remain in heaven — only now they are glorified.”She notes that, the ancient prayer, “Anima Christi” (Soul of Christ), has the words: “Within your wounds, hide me.” “When I hear those words, I think of the images of the resurrected Christ, like the ones used in Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy devotions, that show rays of light streaming from the wounds Our Lord received on the Cross,” she said. “And I realize that, if I ask Jesus to let me hide within his Sacred Heart, my own wounds are no longer toxic. Instead, they become points of entrance for the light of his healing grace.”Dawn Eden will speak Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m., at Our Lady of Grace Church, 5011 White Oak Ave., Encino; (818) 342-4686. The talk is free and open to the public; her book will be available for sale. On Aug. 15, the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County is sponsoring a talk by Eden at noon at the office of Jilio-Ryan Hunter & Olsen Court Reporters, 14661 Franklin Ave., suite 150, Tustin.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0803/abusebook/{/gallery}