Jan founded SOS in 1997 inspired by Sheila Rauch Kennedy, when Sheila's book Shattered Faith: A Woman's Struggle to Stop the Catholic Church From Annulling Her Marriage was first published. Jan’s annulment journey began in 1995, fourteen years after the divorce.
Prior to founding SOS, Jan had completed a Ph.D. and a Masters in Psychology, plus a Masters of Divinity. She used those skills to research the process and write the paperwork for the 'First Court' phase of annulment. Two articles about her experiences with tribunal personnel are: "Boston-area Woman Confronts the Annulment Process" and "Annulment Divides Divorced Catholics" (see our Recommended Resources page).
Jan's Appeal to the Roman Rota was
written and mailed with Sheila's guidance.
That Appeal was at the Roman Rota for eight years, when in 2003 the Rotal judges finally decided that her appeal was successful, and then communicated that fact to the Boston tribunal. But the Boston tribunal NEVER told Jan that her appeal was successful.
Three years later in 2006, Jan phoned the tribunal advocate in her case to ask why after ten years she had not heard any word from Rome. Only then did Jan learn that her appeal was successful. From our SOS perspective, this is another clear example of the disrespect with which U.S. tribunals treat Respondents.
Jan is a "cradle Catholic" whose professional life includes being a college professor of psychology and a counselor with a pastoral counseling agency. Jan is a founding member of Voice of the Faithful, worked to counter the RCChurch priest-pedophile abuse and was active in support work with survivors of that scandal in the Boston archdiocese. There is a clear parallel to that abuse by priests to the current psychological abuse rampant in U.S. tribunals against Respondents. Annulment is the ‘second scandal’ in the RCChurch today.
Jan adds: "My work with S.O.S. has allowed me the privilege of getting to know so many wonderful Respondents. This has transformed my memories of the grinding annulment experience to that of empowerment within this community of Respondents". Currently, Jan’s other avocational interests are Thomas Berry’s Catholic Spirituality, based on a Universe perspective (The Great Work). Jan is also involved with the Palestine Solidarity movement in the U.S. She and her 'ex' remain on good terms and celebrate holidays with their three daughters and young grandchildren.
Lydie is our SOS advisor in the U.S. South
After being divorced for almost 26 years, Lydie was shocked when she opened a letter from the New Orleans Metropolitan Tribunal that her former husband was filing for an annulment. Immediately Lydie started researching for a support system to assist her through the process. She came upon the SOS website and reached out to Carole and Jan. They both advised and supported her through the 18 month ordeal. Lydie was able to uphold her sacramental marriage by employing The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). She refused to consent to having her written and/or verbal testimony psychologically evaluated and/or disseminated in anyway by the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Lydie is a Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She lives in New Orleans and worked extensively 50-60 hours a week after Hurricane Katrina to help the city reopen psychiatric hospitals and juvenile jail. She has also played an instrumental role in helping the city to rebuild its community outpatient psychiatric support system. Lydie is currently employed authorizing healthcare for a large insurance company for its Medicare members.
She works from home surrounded by her two loving rescue dogs. Lydie has been a SOS Board Member since 2014. She has been instrumental in helping advise Respondents, working with the Board writing letters to the Pope for the 2014 & 2015 Synods, and working on a major update for the SOS website.
Melissa, is our SOS advisor to Respondents in Ireland.
Melissa discovered Save Our Sacrament while the Second Instance court was in process of ruling on her sanctified marriage. This was carried out when the divorce had not yet been finalised. “When I made contact with SOS, Jan quickly got back to me and advised me about material to read from the SOS web page and the Respondent's Guide, in order to write an appeal to the Roman Rota.
From that reading I learned that
so many Respondents before me had almost carbon copy experiences to
And from a place of personal bewilderment and ignorance about how to deal with the unknown entity called a Tribunal, I began to arm myself with the knowledge that helped me write an appeal.
With Jan’s help, I learned how to ask the right questions and so begin the journey of getting information that the Tribunal had refused to give me before. Eventually, after having written to every source at the Tribunal here in Ireland, including our Archbishop and Papal Nuncio, I obtained enough information to make my case for an appeal to the Rota.
I offered my assistance to Jan,
founder of SOS, three years ago and have been privileged to help
people through the process from all over Ireland. I have been
happily surprised to see some breakthrough; for instance
worked with was allowed to bring pen and paper and make notes and
another actually was allowed to record the initial “interview”.
This was not allowed here
Respondents were unaware
of their rights, and never asked.
I am happy to share my experience and knowledge to anyone in Ireland going through the ordeal of annulment.”
Respondent's Guide to Catholic Annulments
In 1995 Carole was served with annulment papers and spent the next four years fighting against the tribunal system. Almost too late, she "discovered" the Code of Canon Law and the SOS organization, and when she lost her case, she vowed to help others "fight fire with fire." In the year 2000 she wrote the first edition of the "Respondent's Guide to Catholic Annulments." The third edition, published in May 2007, was greatly improved due to the experiences of the many Respondents she has helped in the interim.
As a retired Army Colonel in Military Intelligence, Carole's educational background includes a Master of Arts in History and the Army's Command and General Staff College. She lives in Pennsylvania, has responsibility for her aging parent, and in her spare time belongs to several other organizations, clubs, and veterans groups and enjoys Duplicate Bridge.