How to forgive and heal

Nola Snyder
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Anne Marie Hagan offers amazing story

You could have heard a pin drop on the theatre floor of the Indian River High School last Tuesday night.

Anne Marie Hagan shared her powerful and compelling story of survival, forgiveness and spiritual healing; an amazing true story of her journey from tragedy to forgiveness, which changed her life forever.

This special presentation was part of a special project designed by Life Unlimited For Older Adults (LUFOA), called “Thinking Today For Tomorrow”, designed to increase awareness of dementia and related issues within our community.

With dementia awareness and mental health promotion being a main focus for 2012-2013, LUFOA along with Central Health and other community partners, made this event possible.

Anne Marie Hagan was born Oct. 9, 1959, in Kingsman’s Cove, Newfoundland, on the southern Avalon Peninsula. She says she lived a normal happy life in a small community with loving parents and siblings, until the age of 19 when her world turned upside down.

On Aug. 12, 1979, a neighbor the Hagan family, who was well known in the community and was also known to have a mental illness, walked into their home with an axe and killed her father in front of her and her family.

Anne Marie became completely consumed by anger, vengeance and self pity and was determined that this man would never regain his freedom.

After 17 years of carrying this heavy burden, the man who killed her father came up for release and Anne Marie organized a comprehensive campaign to stop this from happening.

At that time she met face-to-face with her father’s killer, and during this restorative justice meeting, she learned more about this man as a human being and the suffering he had endured because of a mental illness that had not been treated properly.

It was at this time that Anne Marie forgave the man who murdered her father. In doing so, she said, she set herself free. She finally let go of all the pain and torment that had held her captive for so many years.

As a result of this awakening, it became her dream to speak internationally sharing with the world how the healing power of forgiveness can change lives.

Her motivational speaking career officially began on June 10, 2002, and since then she has touched audiences all over Canada.

Anne Marie’s presentations include “The Healing Power of Forgiveness”, “The Infinite Power of Positive Thinking”, “Our Thoughts Can Be Our Prison Or Set Us Free”, just to name a few. She has a very extensive client list including organizations for education, justice, health care as well as community services.

She said she finds her involvement with the prison system especially rewarding. When speaking of the many prisoners she has spent time with, she simply says, “They are somebody’s child.”

Anne Marie’s presentations instill hope and invigorate the human spirit. They have motivated and inspired cancer survivors, prison inmates, police officers and the list goes on and on. She is a selfless and loving person and was an inspiration to all who came out to listen to her speak.

Organizations: Indian River High School

Geographic location: Kingsman, Newfoundland, Southern Avalon Peninsula

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