Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life and Faith in Hell's Kitchen

'Safe, legal and rare" has long been the pro-choice mantra, but these days it applies less and less to the reality of abortion. In New York City, officials reported this year that 41% of pregnancies end in abortion—double the national rate. In the black community, the figure is 60%.

Numbers like these motivate the Sisters of Life, a small order of nuns celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. The sisters take traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but they also take a fourth vow "to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life." According to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, once the sisters connect with unwed pregnant women in need, "the battle is half over."

The order was the vision of the late John Cardinal O'Connor, whose Nov. 2, 1989, weekly column in the newspaper Catholic New York was titled "Help Wanted: Sisters of Life."

One respondent was Agnes Mary Donovan, a professor of developmental psychology at Columbia University Teachers College. She became one of the order's founders in 1991 and Mother Superior two years later.

There are now 70 members, with an average age of 37. Like Mother Agnes, the women who have joined are educated and worldly. They include a Yale Russian major who aspired to join the CIA, a former nurse who worked in the Middle East, and a former computer-manufacturing executive.

The sisters help those suffering from the trauma of a past abortion and those who want to put their children up for adoption. But their most important work is their "Visitation Mission," a spiritual call center where sisters have contact with about 700 women a year.

According to the coordinator of the Visitation Mission, Sister Magdalene, some of the women seeking counsel have "all the means in the world" but feel that their social and professional lives, as well as their marriage prospects, would be over unless they abort. "But pregnancy is a wake-up call," she explains. "It tends to stop them from doing what they might imagine they'd do without a second thought. We believe it's a moment of grace."

Half of those counseled by the Visitation Mission remain at home. Others are placed in private homes or in maternity facilities run by other religious orders. And then there are the women who move in with the nuns, in the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen.

There the women can stay as long as six months prior to giving birth and up to a year afterward, some holding down jobs, others studying. Meanwhile the sisters go about their lives of prayer, contemplation and occasional rollerblading. The nuns "rely on providence"—i.e., donations—for food, baby clothing and strollers. They excel at recruiting "Josephs" for heavier household chores. "Our motto is that no man leaves without doing us a favor," says Sister Rita Marie, the local convent superior.

The rooms are spartan and lights go out at 9 p.m. Following Cardinal O'Connor's vision, the nuns take a healing approach. They don't keep records of who is Catholic and who isn't, they don't try to convert anyone or arrange a baptism unless asked, and they don't even require that the women pray.

Since the first guest arrived in 1998, 150 babies have been born at the convent. The sisters take heart in "the beauty of a mother coming to the understanding of the dignity of her calling and how that gives life back to her," Sister Rita Marie explains.

Guests have included the homeless, pregnant and undocumented Tanzanian who showed up sobbing on the lawn of the sisters' retreat center in Stamford, Conn., and later likened the care at Sacred Heart to "angels planting a root and watering it every day." Then there was the Trinidadian nanny, six months pregnant with twins, whose boyfriend was trying to induce a miscarriage by kicking her down the stairs. There was the Polish immigrant who studied for the MCAT exam while living at the convent, as well as the former network journalist whose boyfriend split when she got a Down Syndrome diagnosis, and whose friends could not believe she'd throw herself so far "off-track" to have the child.

Another alumna had just finished a graduate program in England, gotten pregnant, been dumped by her law-student boyfriend and returned to the U.S. "in a horrible state of depression." For an educated woman with professional ambitions, she said "an abortion seems like the most practical thing in the world. But once you do get pregnant, it's not so easy."

She had a daughter, got a magazine job and a subsidized apartment. The boyfriend then returned and became a lawyer here. The couple married and had two more daughters. She is now managing editor of one of fashion's top magazines and sends her children to private school on the Upper East Side. "Life can turn on a dime," she tells colleagues she trusts with her story.

Mr. McGowan is the author of "Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America" (Encounter, 2010)

The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free Pro-Life Mug!

Delaware Right to Life has a new Facebook page! Please help us out by becoming a fan and recommending the page to your friends. If you become our 100th fan, you get a free pro-life mug!! Click the link below to like our page.

Monday, July 25, 2011

DRTL at the DE State Fair, Part 2

Delaware Right to Life Director, Nicole Collins, gives her account of her experience at the Delaware State Fair..

I had an interesting conversation with a black woman. She was very nice and said she's "pro-life" but immediately argued that before one month, abortions are just fine. I asked why? Where did she get this arbitrary "one month" time period and what's the significance of being able to kill a child at that point? I told her that was her own opinion...there was no biological fact to support it. She responded that it's because before one month, it's not really a baby, it's an embryo. And I said, "Well you know 'embryo' is just a scientific term, right? It's not a substitute for 'human being', it's just a stage of development." She replied, "Yeah, but the embryo isn't really developing at that stage." With what I'm sure was a very confused expression on my face, I pointed to our 6-week fetal model and asked, "If it's not developing, how does it get to this point?" She kind of laughed and quickly changed her argument (typical when arguing with a pro-abort). She then began to tell me that abortion is a better alternative if the mom isn't going to take care of her child and the child will suffer. I said, "Oh, so it's better that the baby is killed rather than suffer? Not to mention, why would we kill a child who might potentially suffer? Aren't there already millions of suffering children in the world right now? By your logic, shouldn't we kill them first? They're already suffering right now!" She smiled and I knew she got my point. Her argument was that unmarried girls can't raise children. Although, I've seen it done many times (and even had an interaction with a woman who's daughter had a baby at 16 and is thriving!). Way to give young women credit, lady! I thought women were strong?!? After that debate went on a couple more minutes, she changed her tune yet again, and said that, well, we just need to work on lowering instances of unwed pregnancies. Finally - AGREED!  I left her with a bunch of our African American literature and explained to her how the abortion industry exploits and targets blacks, as well as our pamphlet on Margaret Sanger and her intentions.  The black community should be outraged!

I've also seen many times when children or spouses slow down to stop and look at our table and then a parent or other spouse realizes who we are and what we do and they physically drag the other person away. I always want to ask especially the parents, "What are you afraid of them finding out?" The truth, perhaps? We have a fetal model on the table and hand out 10-week post-conception babies. Kids LOVE them! We have no graphic photos at our booth...just information. It always irks me. They can take or leave the info, but I'd so much rather engage in a conversation with them (even if it's confrontational), than them drag their children away. Half of me wants to even chase them down and ask, "Are there any questions I can answer for you?" Unfortunately I don't think that would be appropriate! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

DRTL at the DE State Fair

Our Annual Banquet Coordinator, Delia, tells of her experience yesterday at the State Fair...

"My friend Erika and I worked the Delaware Right to Life booth on Friday at the annual state fair. Hottest Day Ever. But troopers for Life mind not the heat! Though the crowds were thin due to the extremely hot weather, we still had several visitors stop by the booth, all pro-life supporters. Over and over again, visitors told us how pleased and hopeful they were to see young people supporting the pro-life cause. Considering Erika and I are both now officially thirty-somethings, we thanked them for categorizing us as "young people".

Overall, people were open and kind and gave us such positive feedback. Though I know this positive response will not always be the case, so far it has been for me; I am continually touched by the beauty and goodness I see in my fellow Delawareans when conversing with them at these events. Delaware IS pro-life. If only our politicians will catch up with the times.

I am also forever grateful to Milford Music, our friendly booth neighbors, who played Christmas carols throughout the afternoon to help us all cool down... if not physically, then mentally. Molto grazie!"

* Girl at the fair wearing her pro-life t-shirt, posed for us in front of our booth. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Delaware Right to Life Annual Banquet!

Save the Date!!!

The Sheraton Dover Hotel

1570 N. DuPont Highway

Dover, DE 19901

Cocktail Hour begins at 5:00 pm
Dinner 6:00pm
Speakers to follow

If you would like to RSVP to this event Please email Eunice Tate at or you can reach her at 302-526-2732


Keynote Speaker~ Shawn Carney
Co-Founder of 40 Days for Life

"In 2004, Shawn helped to lead the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign in College Station, Texas. Shawn helped expand 40 Days for Life to 337 cities throughout the U.S. His efforts have mobilized more than 400,000 pro-life volunteers over the last three years. 40 Days for Life has confirmed reports of 3,599 mothers choosing life and 43 abortion center workers who have had conversions and left their jobs, including former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson.

Shawn is a regular media spokesperson and his work has been featured on hundreds of media outlets including Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor”, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Post, National Catholic Register, Salem Radio, Relevant Radio, EWTN Radio, and Focus on the Family."


Musical Artist~ Caitlin Jane

A fresh female vocalist upon the music scene, Caitlin Jane released her first CD “Ashes into Beauty” in 2007. Inspired by the verses in Isaiah 61, the CD is a reflection of the hope and grace of God.

Caitlin’s most recent project has been working on her newest album, which is due out in August,2011.

Caitlin Jane's style is a blend of piano driven songs with clear, beautiful vocals. Her compelling music, backed by reflective lyrics, evokes deep emotion. The energetic and pure sound she offers touches a chord with young and old alike. Finding joy in the Lord, she professes, “I want to praise God, who has captured my heart, with every chance I have.”


Guest Appearance~ Maria Cahill
Miss Delaware 2011

Maria Cahill was recently crowned the new Miss Delaware, last month at Dover Downs. After graduating from Aquinas Academy in 2008, she went on to study at St. Vincent's University. She is currently a Marketing major at Wilmington University. She teaches Irish dance at her dance school, because she is an amazing Irish dancer herself. We could go on and on describing her, but why don't you check her blog out instead?...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Story of Love and Life

On May 21st, the IHM pro-life community celebrated the first Mass for the Unborn which had a two-fold purpose: to remember and pray for those babies lost to abortion, and to bless those mothers who are expecting, and their babies.

The music was beautiful and Msgr. Lemon gave an inspired homily on Life. A mother and daughter who were present at the Mass, left church and the mother went to a store by their home with her husband. There they saw a very pregnant girl sitting on the curb. Commenting to her husband that she had just left a Mass for the Unborn, she recognized that there was clearly something wrong for this girl and they stopped to ask if they could help her.

She told them that she was temporarily homeless, 38 weeks pregnant, thought she was in labor and had no one to help her. So they took her to the hospital where she was told that she was not in labor. Further discussion revealed that she wanted to give the baby for adoption, but didn't know how to go about it and had made no arrangements. So the mother requested that a social worker from the hospital talk to the pregnant girl to give her resources to make contact with an adoption agency and get the information she needed. Before leaving her, they gave her money for a place to stay for the weekend and made contact with Adoptions from the Heart to start the adoption process, and helped her find a place to stay after the weekend. Before departing, they gave her their cell phone numbers so she could call them for the help she would still need.

The following Wednesday she called and the mother took her back to the hospital. She asked the mother to be her support coach, and after a few hours she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The mother was so humbled and grateful to the Holy Spirit that she was able to be a witness to the birth of this beautiful baby boy. The baby has now been adopted by a wonderful couple who had been waiting for several years for a baby.

The birth father of the baby also asked the mother and her husband what church they attend and they invited him to come to Mass with them.

The mother has since been offered a job and is looking for permanent housing. She knows in her heart that the best gift she could have given her baby was a wonderful home with parents who can give her baby everything he deserves in life, and even in her desperate situation, she chose life for her baby.

We wanted to share this inspiring example of the Holy Spirit at work in our parish with everyone and thank the mother, husband and daughter for the wonderful Spirit of Love they shared.

Monday, July 18, 2011

To volunteer, or not to volunteer.. that is the question.

With the Delaware State Fair fast approaching, and open time slots needed to be filled, I thought it a perfect time to relate a personal story of one of my recent volunteer experiences with Delaware Right to Life. I hope it inspires at least one person to seize an upcoming opportunity( ::cough:: State Fair) to be a witness for life.
One of the venues where Delaware Right to Life sets up a booth every year, is Newark Nite. I was there with another board member, friend of mine, and from the moment our shift started we rarely had a dull moment! There was a steady flow of people constantly coming up to our booth, to look at the literature, take a bumper sticker, or check out the baby models we had ( a BIG eye grabber ) which shows the actual size and form of the developing baby in the womb.

One of the things we give out for free to children, are the little plastic baby models of a 12 week old baby. When we were explaining to a family that this was the actual size of a child, the father said "But that's not the actual form right?". We were quick to clarify that indeed it was; fingers, toes, ears are visible. This is not an "opinion", this is science. The facts are on our side.

A little later, two young men, on two separate occasions came up to us to give their praise and support for our cause and that they in fact were pro-life; but they felt like they didn't have the right to interfere in a "woman's" issue, or that they wouldn't know what to say and how to say it. Going to the front line is truly a tough step to overcome; it is only natural to feel nervous. But, to me as a young woman, I am impacted more by a man taking a stand for life than a woman. It is what our society is lacking, and crying out for; men to become protectors once again. Besides, it takes two to make a baby.

I will leave off with this last story which didn't happen to me , but to my friend that night...
A young man ( all these young men!!!) came up to her suddenly and said, "Can I shake your hand?". She was reluctant at first, as anyone would be, thinking it was a gag. But, she gave him her hand and he shook it saying, "We had a baby in college."

Sometimes you don't have to say anything, just your presence is enough...

Friday, July 15, 2011

She's a pretty cool chick..

This is Miss Delaware, 2011. Better known as Maria Cahill to her friends and family. You should check out her blog :)