More than 25 years ago, at age 22, I was in the midst of a crisis of faith. I had been sexually abused by my pastor for many years, beginning as a young teenager, and had fallen away from the Church. From the depths of that despair, I met and was rescued by a man who was 25 years my senior and we eventually "married" outside of the Church. Together, we literally opened "Pandora's Boxxx", despite my initial protest and misgivings about this type of business, and over the next several years created a sizable porn empire.
What began out of the laundry room of a rat-infested rental duplex, as a way to provide food for our table and a way to help pay for my medication and psychological therapy, something the Church refused to help with, quickly escalated into a life filled with all the evil that money could buy, while I slipped deeper and deeper into anxiety and severe depression. I had been away from the Church for nearly 10 years and my life was starting to resemble the Sopranos.
In 2000 I began to earnestly pray for God to intercede in my life, for Him to help end the hell that I'd helped begin. At the time, my husband was not interested in changing his course. The money was too alluring and way too easy. I continued to appeal to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In 2010 I met Kipp at St. John the Baptist Church in Tryon, where I had been attending regular Mass for several years. During consecration that day, I heard these words so clearly: "Something very big is going to happen. There will be many graces attached. Find Kipp." (Our Lord can be amazingly clear about direction sometimes, so keep your spiritual ears open!)
It took getting away from the clutches of pornography to finally accept the truth about it. The fact that it was not just harmless entertainment, but an industry fueled by real human beings who are trafficked like lifeless products, and that even those consuming it were, more often than not, being lured into an addiction that would ultimately affect all of their personal relationships. Porn is not harmless.
Most people know the story of Pandora's box and how once the box was opened, all the evils of the world were let out, but what they forget is that at the bottom of that box was one thing....HOPE. With my ex-husband's complete support, Kipp & I have taken that hope and opened St. Benedict's Catholic Store. A place where, among many other things, we frequently find ourselves counseling those who are afflicted by the negative effects of porn addiction. Proof that God can clean the dirtiest vessel and use it for the most precious good. All He requires is our consent.
I spent 25 yrs. living in secrecy and fear. I am afraid no more. Something very big is happening, and there have been many graces attached. Come, Holy Spirit!
- Stephanie McIntyre
In the mythological story, Pandora's Box had unleashed all the evils known to man. No longer could man loll about all day, but he would have to work and would succumb to illnesses.
But, at the very bottom of the container was something that wasn't evil. The good that Pandora unleashed was called HOPE........