By Tina Comeau
When Del Boudreau picked up his mail, the last thing he expected to see was a letter from the Vatican.
“His Holiness Pope Francis has received the kind gift sent for his acceptance,” reads the letter. “He appreciates the respectful sentiments which prompted this presentation.”
Boudreau had sent Pope Francis a copy of the book he recently wrote entitled Deliver Us From Evil. The book outlines the sexual abuse Boudreau suffered as an alter boy at the hands of a catholic priest.
He was around 11 years old when the abuse began but he wasn’t able to share his experience with others until he was 65 years old. He broke his silence in 2009. Finally sharing his story lifted a huge weight from his shoulders, he said.
Boudreau says the abuse was committed by Father Adolphe LeBlanc. Several others have also accused this priest of having abused them as young boys. Father LeBlanc died in 1971.
When his book first came out it was suggested to Boudreau that he should send a copy of it to the Pope. After some consideration he did.
“I mailed it. The postmistress said, ‘It’s been 33 years, I never mailed something to the Vatican, but there’s always a first time,’” Boudreau says.
He didn’t include a letter when he mailed the book. In fact, he didn’t even include his return address. Which is why he was even more surprised three weeks after having sent the book to receive the letter from the Vatican. It was signed by Monsignor Peter Wells, assessor with the Vatican.
Boudreau says he has had good response to the book. It has been selling well, he says, but more importantly it has prompted others who have been suffering in silence to come forward.
“Since the book came out I’ve had three men, older than me, admit to me this happened to them,” Boudreau says.
He also had a woman tell him that she was abused by her father when she was a little girl. She had never told anyone about this before.
This has been Boudreau’s hope. That his words would encourage others to be able to talk about what happened to them.
While Boudreau says it is nice to receive acknowledgement from the Vatican about having received the book, he says it is more important that people are able to share their own personal experiences, rather than keep them bottled up.
He says no one should feel ashamed about what was done to them.
“The last words I say in my book is ‘Never, ever forget that it was not your fault,’” says Boudreau.