BOB ABERNETHY, anchor: In the nearly three years since the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal broke, hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid out to victims. But for many of those victims, cash settlements don't erase the pain. Now, there is a national retreat center for those victims located on a farm near Louisville, Kentucky. A number of Catholic bishops and religious orders have contributed to the project, but the Church does not control it. It is not therapy; it is not a faith experience. It is about the survivors' healing and recovery through telling each other their painful stories. The identity of a participant in our story has been obscured to protect her privacy. Judy Valente reports from what is called, simply, The Farm.
JUDY VALENTE: They arrive at dusk on a Friday night -- a plumber a secretary, a truck driver, a professor. Among them, Shannon Age, a 44-year-old mother of two. This is Shannon just after making her First Communion.
SHANNON AGE: My sister and I both were raped, on both of our Communion days. He told us we were dressed as God's brides. He was God's man, and only he could show us God's love. It was as if, in his eyes, it was our wedding night.
VALENTE: (to Shannon): Why did you keep this dress?
Ms. AGE: This is the little girl I was before he did these things to me.
VALENTE: This photo of the two girls was taken by their mother, unaware that only hours earlier, both had been raped -- by the same priest.
Shannon and the others have come to a 1,300-acre working farm, where corn and other vegetables are raised. Some of the buildings have been donated for use as centers for health and wellness.
The weekend retreat is run by The Linkup, an organization for survivors.
SUE ARCHIBALD (The Linkup): What's unique about The Farm is that it's the first place survivors of clergy abuse can go that really is their own.
VALENTE: It's not unusual for survivors of clergy sexual abuse to gather together to tell their stories. But The Farm offers something unique: A chance not just to confront the pain, but to move beyond it toward healing.
RAY COPPOLA (Psychotherapist): In the process of using a bunch of different exercises and structured activities, it's like an inquiry into the self. In the course of telling their stories and experiencing each others' stories, it's as if their stories massage each other. They come to look at their relation to their story in a different way. So that if one goes into the heart of the wound, it's possible one can actually discover a gift.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: The Farm is a very special place.
VALENTE: There is no religious aspect to the program. Most of these people have long since left the Catholic Church. Some practice no religion. Many have suffered from alcoholism and depression. But they are not here for therapy.
Ms. ARCHIBALD: I think that you can get stuck in therapy where there's really nothing fresh or new. And it seems as though you almost need a catalyst to push you to the next level. And so, with the combination of experiences we have here, we're hoping that spark can be lit.
VALENTE: The weekend begins in a low key. Each person pairs up with another victim, then another and another. They are allowed two minutes to tell and retell the story of what happened to them.
TOM WEITER: I was sexually abused by the priest -- age 10 through 12.
ANN HITCHINS: I never told anybody -- at all. I just went on with my life.
Ms. AGE: I didn't understand why I was scared of everything. I'm scared of men. I'm scared of the dark. I'm scared of beds.
Mr. WEITER: I told my mother about it when I was probably 13 or 14 years old, and she told me I was lying because I just didn't want to go to church.
VALENTE: Those who have been to The Farm before talk about what it was like at first.
JOHN SCOTT: Before, I couldn't talk. I was all knotted up -- couldn't express myself. But, it's a whole lot better.
Mr. WEITER: I can look back on what -- how this controlled me all through my life. The fear, the anger, the guilt, the shame, the low self-esteem was controlling my life and I was never in control of my life.
VALENTE: The participants include one man who was a victim of parental, not clergy abuse. He also acted as a facilitator, encouraging the others.
READ HARRIS: There's that resolve in you that you've used all your life just to get you to where you are. It's inspiring to be among people who are so determined to get their life back and to deal with their issues.
VALENTE: The next morning, the survivors who are here for the first time walk the grounds, finding an object to share with the others.