‘Dear Alana’ is a podcast that tells the story of Alana Chen and her family as a tribute. Alana endured years of severe depression due to religious abuse and several painful years of miseducation. The podcast examines Alana’s brief life while also examining the destructive effects conversion therapy may have on individuals. The narrator, Simon Kent Fung, connects with Alana’s mother and digs deeply into her life through the young woman’s journals. Let’s look into Alana Chen’s life in more detail if you’re curious about who she was and how she died.
Who Was Alana Chen?
On October 14, 1995, in Walnut Creek, California, to two beautiful parents, Joyce and Michael Chen, Alana Faith Chen was born. She was not only a wonderful daughter, but also a devoted sister to Sabatino, Carissa, and Sophia. The four siblings had a tight relationship despite her being the youngest of them all. She was a junior ranger who enjoyed being outside while engaging in activities like ultimate frisbee, camping, climbing, trekking, and backpacking. Alana enjoyed the arts as well; she composed music, played the piano and guitar, and even created her own clothing.
Alana used to spend numerous of her afternoons and weekends conversing with and entertaining the homeless people in Boulder, demonstrating her empathy and eagerness to assist others. After completing her education, she pursued studies in psychology and wilderness therapy at Prescott College in Arizona with the intention of one day assisting those who are dealing with any kind of mental illness. In order to fulfil her desire to help others, she also applied for a Master’s degree in counselling. This would allow her to practise as a therapist.
She spent some time working at Sweet Cow Ice Cream in Old Town Louisville, where she frequently gave away free ice cream and continued to uplift the neighbourhood. She was also known to be very devout and devoted to God, and according to the journals she left behind, she even had a great desire to become a nun one day. She was regarded as an all-around lovely soul who was renowned for her unselfish deeds and helpful disposition.
How Did Alana Chen Die?
Alana Chen, who was just 13 years old, went to two summer programmes. She was enthralled by the college students during the first one, which took place at the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Mary. In Boulder, Colorado, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, she participated in a second camp. Here, she met Father David Nix, a contentious priest who supposedly harboured romantic feelings for Alana. Thus started eight years of frequent meetings between the two at David’s office under the guise of “spiritual direction.”
The older Alana’s siblings became, the less interested they were in the religion. She led liturgy for Catholic middle school youth groups and went on a mission trip to Rwanda, showing her dedication to the church, which only appeared to grow over time. Alana did, however, experience a significant deal of anguish on a deeper level. She apparently disclosed to David that she was drawn to ladies when she was 14 years old. According to Alana’s mother, Joyce, he then began teaching her on his own terms while using her ambition to become a nun against her.
According to reports, David allegedly told Alana that if she ever choose to engage in a lesbian relationship, she would forfeit her chance at becoming a nun as well as be damned to hell for being gay and acting on such urges. Additionally, he was able to persuade her not to notify her parents that she was gay by assuring her that she would remain the same if they confirmed her identification as a lesbian. Being a young devotee and an impressionable girl, Alana paid attention and followed the priest’s instructions. Joyce claims that from that point on, he forced her to read things that denigrated gay people and forced her to think about altering her orientation.
Father Peter Mussett of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Centre, a different pastor who gave Alana encouragement in this, suggested that she apply to the Living Waters programme at Desert Stream. The Sisters of Life took care of her after David walked out, even going so far as to ask Joyce to let her daughter get conversion treatment from a certified therapist. Alana had already through years of miseducation, inappropriate pastoral counselling, conversion therapy, and religious abuse, which left her profoundly sad and prone to having thoughts of self-harm and suicide, despite Joyce’s refusal to give in.
After learning of Alana’s trauma, her parents took her to two treatment facilities and recruited the aid of several reputed therapists. Alana was loved and supported by her family and friends, but she battled depression and severe post-traumatic stress disorder, making it impossible for her to attend a Catholic church without having a panic attack. She informed her loved ones that she would be for a walk at Boulder’s Chautauqua Park on December 7, 2020. However, her family reported the 24-year-old lady missing after she failed to show up.
On December 9, 2020, the police received a report about a strange vehicle parked in the Osprey Parking lot at Gross Reservoir after a few days of searching. They determined that the licence plate belonged to Alana after running it. As a result of this information, the detectives examined the region close to Gross Reservoir in Nederland and discovered her body the same day. According to reports, Alana hanged herself on December 8, 2020, and left a note that said that despite receiving expert assistance, the years of psychological agony and abuse at the hands of the church were too much to bear.