Abbey Stories/ Grief & the Afterlife

Hosted byGeorge Noory

Abbey Stories/ Grief & the Afterlife

About the show

In the first half, a former brother in the Alexian Novitiate Monastery in Wisconsin, Patrick Rick, discussed a possession case and exorcism which took place at the original Alexian Brothers Hospital in St. Louis in 1949, as well as other noteworthy events which occurred at the Abbey including a takeover by Menominee Indians. When Rick joined the Catholic monastic order after graduating high school in 1966, he was told by some of the other Brothers the story of the 1949 exorcism case (which the movie The Exorcist was inspired by).

At the Alexian Brothers Hospital, there were many people who worked with the possessed boy, including Jesuit priests, though the events were nowhere near as graphic as depicted in the movie, he noted. In the boy's hospital room, a copy of the diary of the exorcism events was found, and eventually author William Peter Blatty used it as research for his novel, The Exorcist. While the Alexians left the Wisconsin monastery in 1968, the Menominee Warrior Society (a Native American activist group) seized the building in 1975, and insisted that it be sold to the Menominee Reservation, Rick recounted. Today, the Abbey is partially demolished.


In the latter half, grief expert David Kessler spoke about his new book co-written with Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After Breakups, Divorce And Death, as well as his interviews with eyewitnesses about deathbed experiences, and notions of the afterlife. People are resilient, they may never get over a loss, but they learn to live with it, he said. The grief over a breakup can be a window into the patterns of your relationships, and part of the healing process is about changing patterns so you can go on to have better relationships in the future, he suggested.

Sometimes the death of someone in your life can serve as a wakeup call to make the most of our lives, and live each day to the fullest, he commented. The late Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the groundbreaking researcher on death and dying, used to say 'the real tragedy is a life not lived,'-- that you were just here and didn't show up for it, Kessler recalled. Not all of us will have extraordinary or famous lives, but our lives are important and amazing to us, and sometimes we don't realize that until it's coming to an end, he remarked. Regarding deathbed experiences, those about to pass often feel a sense of comfort and have visits from deceased loved ones such as parents and grandparents, he reported.

News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein, Robert Felix

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