(724) 733-2928 or 733-2701

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."  

Raphael's Group is a group program for adults who are separated, divorced, widowed, or living with a partner who is unable or unwilling to attend community functions. This program is theme-centered and hosted by St. Bernadette's Parish. It meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month when the Parish school is in session. In addition to the meetings, the group gets together at a community event or organizes a social activity for members each month.

Raphael's Group is not a therapy group, but rather a community of support designed to provide some of the help and companionship that a spouse would normally provide. To join, call 724 733-2928 or the St. Bernadette Parish Office at 412 373-0050.

Check the events section of this website for more news about the next social activity. For follow-up related to the most recent meeting, scroll down.

Meeting Notes (From Most Recent Back To The First One: 2017-2018 Series)

Our second meeting took place on September 11th, as our country remembered the 9/11 terrorist attacks and worried about Hurricane Irma as it moved through Florida. We ended the meeting by asking that all those affected by either event (along with those of us dealing with trauma and/or betrayal associated with the loss of spouse or significant other) be wrapped in angel wings. A new participant was greeted.

The second DVD in our series was viewed after a very brief summary and review of take-home points from the first DVD. This second DVD focused on where to turn for help when relationship betrayal, loss or crisis occurs. Actually, it focused a great deal on WHERE NOT to turn for help, pointing out how vulnerable people are during this type of crisis, and the risks that this vulnerability exposes them to. New intimate relationships are likely to fail at this time because those affected by loss of marital partner or the loss of a significant other simply aren't ready for this. Group activities, parish activities, and of course, spiritual connectedness through the use of the sacraments and prayer were discussed. It was emphasized that Raphael's Group encourages this, as well. 

Two activities were brought into the meeting, one that used the symbolism of a hand, front-and-back, as a model for making relevant decisions related to change and acceptance. The second activity helped participants identify their styles for managing anger. This latter activity was to prepare for the 3rd DVD which focuses on constructive management of anger.

Raphael's Group sponsored a pot-luck, back-to-school themed event on September 9th with some great games and food. The next social event will be the Parish picnic later this month (See the Bulletin or Parish website for details). Safe travel to those going to Italy and Portugal.


The new series for the 2017-2018 academic year began on August  28th with some discussion questions designed to get everyone present thinking about where they were in terms of identity formation before the relationship with their spouse began. What were their interests and goals? What were they passionate about? Did they give any of these things up when they entered into the relationship with their partner? If so, do they want to pursue any of these things in the future? If not, what do they want to pursue in the future? How can executive functioning be strenghened to move forward in these areas? The issue of acceptance of loss was raised, along with questions related to closure. Are these needed  before moving forward? There was also some discussion about grant-writing to obtain funds for both outreach to single parents and for giving something back to the Parish for its willingness to host this ongoing program. The first DVD in the series was then viewed and discussed. It focused on the trauma associated with the loss of a spouse and discussed some important ways of coping. Most important, it emphasized the use of faith-based and theologically-sound strategies for managing the overwhelming emotion that can accompany the loss of a spouse, along with the importance of "going-higher," at least to the level of intellect, so that emotion doesn't dictate decision-making. The September meetings will be on 9/11 and 9/25. The September social event is a pot-luck dinner and game night. Call Peg Christopher at 724733-2928 to sign-up, to specify what dish you will bring to the dinner, and to get details about the specific time and Monroeville location.