Deborah Major

Helping those who lost loved ones to suicide

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

When people contact Catholic Charities for assistance dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide, we tell them that the Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) is here for them on their grief journey, offering community, direction and resources for healing, as it has been doing for the past 45 years.

Father Charles Rubey founded LOSS in 1979 to help three couples who each had lost a child to suicide. They started meeting with the goal of offering compassion and understanding to each other.

Over time, they came to terms with their tragic loss and found joy in life again. Today, the mission of LOSS remains the same. We offer a safe, non-denominational environment where survivors of suicide loss can talk openly within a supportive network of people who share this common bond.

LOSS offers personal and group counseling to individuals, couples, children and entire families. We meet each person wherever they find themselves on their grief journey.

Our support groups are led by a mental health clinician and two trained volunteer facilitators who have used the LOSS program themselves, which means they understand participants in ways few can. Online services help us reach survivors around the country.

We also issue the Obelisk newsletter six times a year, allowing more than 2,000 readers nationwide to stay connected through this publication.

This past year, we added a support group specifically for families of first responders owing to the tragic rise in the number of police officers and firefighters who have died by suicide.

Also, LOSS recently has been asked to participate in the Missing Pieces Trial, a collaborative research project with Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Hospice and Palliative Care Foundation which examines best practices for supporting grieving parents.

Rubey continues to offer spiritual guidance and pastoral care to LOSS participants, honoring those who have died and ministering to survivors. In addition, Rubey is working with Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Chicago to create a memorial space at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside to welcome all survivors and acknowledge those who have died by suicide. He continues to inspire us all with the care and concern he shows to the thousands of LOSS community members he has met over the years.

In addition, we host two annual events. At our Evening of Remembrance in November, survivors join in tribute to and remembrance of their loved ones who are no longer with us. The focus is on celebrating and remembering who each person was and supporting those who mourn their loss.

Our spring gathering celebrates the courage, strength and progress of the LOSS community and raises critical funds for the continuation of the program. The 33rd Annual Blossoms of Hope Brunch will be held April 28 at the Westin Chicago in Lombard, and all are welcome to attend. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit

The keynote speaker will be Meg Kissinger, an award-winning author and investigative reporter who recently published “While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence.” Kissinger will discuss how her experience of losing two siblings to suicide led her on a journey of discovery regarding America’s mental health system.

Kissinger’s book is being recognized by literary critics as an important and powerful memoir. In a recent appearance on our program the Voice of Charity, we were grateful to hear that her family’s experience with LOSS long ago was a positive one. She said, “In Chicago, we’re lucky because we have Father Rubey and the LOSS program. It served our family so well. In fact, I believe that the LOSS program should be modeled in every archdiocese throughout the world.”

We thank Kissinger for her courageous testimony and look forward to her joining us at the brunch. We continue to follow Rubey’s example, established 45 years ago, and we invite you to learn more about LOSS. Contact us at [email protected] or call 312-655-7283. The journey continues. 


  • catholic charities
  • suicide