Darkness Was My Candle: An Odyssey of Survival and Grace

Author(s) : Lora DeVore

Darkness Was My Candle: An Odyssey of Survival and Grace

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : April 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 352
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 96113
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494490
  • ISBN 10 : 9781913494
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Born into poverty and violence, Lora's early life was one of extreme vulnerability. She was prostituted for the first time at the age of nine and suffered unspeakable treatment from those who should have protected her. Early trauma led to her institutionalization soon after she started college, an incarceration she would not have survived but for a courageous nurse who fought for her release. Fifty years later, with an advanced degree in clinical psychology, a long career as a successful mental health professional, a leading educator and sought-after public speaker, Lora revisited the grounds of the Illinois state mental hospital where she was once kept in inhumane, degrading, and life-threatening circumstances.

This profound and compelling memoir traces her life as a survivor of child abuse, sex trafficking, illegal pharmacological drug research, and institutional abuse. Lora's experiences illuminate and validate the power of love and the strength of the indomitable human spirit that lives within each one of us. This is her story.

Reviews and Endorsements

… Far from narrating only her personal history of abuse and exploitation, Lora DeVore reveals the shocking collective shadow in psychiatric institutions, pharmaceutical companies and the therapeutic profession. I highly recommend this memoir of a transformational process of dying and becoming.
Ursula Wirtz, Ph.D., author of Trauma and Beyond: The Mystery of Transformation

In captivating and lyrical prose, Lora DeVore speaks for those with no voice and illuminates the shortcomings of some of our medical systems today. She invites us to envision a more loving way of bringing healing to the world. The time is ripe for this message.
Dr. Sue Morter, bestselling author of The Energy Codes

Lora DeVore’s story reveals the transformative power of care and love, as well as the capacity of the human spirit to endure the unspeakable and to emerge whole. Lora calls to account the institutions that fail us and offers us a vision of a more conscious way to bring healing to the world …
Marci Shimoff, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Happy for No Reason and Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul

Lora’s story is one of almost unimaginable trauma, abiding memory, and the triumph of the human spirit. It is a true ‘hero’s journey’ that shows us how hope can be kept alive by simple acts of kindness from ordinary people, how easy it is to fail the most vulnerable … and how presence and compassion can change the course of a life. This book deserves to become a classic in the literature of trauma and healing.
Penny George, PsyD, Chair of the Board, George Family Foundation

To read Darkness Was My Candle is to experience a deep and profound healing … This book explores our collective systems and their history through the personal lens of one who has endured horrendous systemic abuse – from psychiatric and medical, to military, as well as religious violation … This author is someone who truly embodies the soul of the world.
Janet Elizabeth Colli, author of The Dark Face of Heaven

… a must-read for anyone interested in transforming hardship into personal growth. The life story of Lora DeVore is both heart-breaking
and inspirational. The lessons learned through her suffering apply to all who want to add meaning and purpose to their lives.
Joel M. Evans, M.D., Director, The Center for Functional Medicine

… A riveting, can’t-put-down read … From the bleak cauldron of her life emerges a magnificent therapist and healer who shines a brilliant beacon of hope to the literally thousands of lives she lifts up. Don’t miss this rare, astounding book.
Jan Thatcher Adams, M.D.

Darkness Was My Candle is a story of horror and hope, a searing indictment of individual and institutional cruelty, and a soaring celebration of our human capacity to find light in the darkest places and saving grace in small kindnesses. Lora DeVore inspires each of us to look within the darkness of our own life’s traumas for the warmth and light of transformation.
James S. Gordon, M.D., author of Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing and founder of The Center For Mind-Body Medicine

Table of Contents


1. The Smell of Suffering
2. In the Beginning—War on the Home Front
3. Tornado Alley
4. Love’s Awakening
5. Dismemberment
6. Ward of the Court, 1962
Reflection: The Web of Life—Shirley and Carole
7. The Sharp Edges of the World
8. Shattered
9. Emerging from the Abyss
10. Fool’s Folly or Angels in Disguise?
Reflection: The Web of Life—Lee Godie
11. Enough
12. Beginning When the Past is Present
13. The Majesty of the Great Plains
14. Earthquake
15. The Scarlet Letter
Reflection: The Web of Life—Does Anybody Hear Her?
16. Beginnings—Excavating the Past
17. The Interior World of Healing Trauma
Reflection: Confronting Clergy Abuse—Margo Maris
18. Harvesting the Gifts of Unknowing
19. Purification—The Inner Fire
20. The Cat from Hell, 1995
21. Dream Portal
22. Hidden Treasure
23. Exploring the Heart of the Mystical Rose
24. Consolidation of All Things Healing
25. Weaving the World Together
26. Return
27. Presence
28. Fishing for Fallen Light


About the Author(s)

Lora DeVore is a visionary leader, sought-after speaker and powerful storyteller. She integrates her experience as a psychotherapist and educator in her role at PrairieCare in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For the past twenty years, she has also been a senior faculty member with the Washington, D.C., internationally recognized Center for Mind-Body Medicine.

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