Pro-Life Pilgrimage Part Two – Formation!

Pro-life Pilgrimage Part Two – Formation!

(See part 1 here and part 3 here!)

Day 5
Leaving Mexico for New York

Everything sparkles in Mexico; the signs, the souvenirs of Mary and the Divino Nino, the Christmas tree lights blink at a seizure-inducing rate, the police car lights flash whenever their occupants are on duty. But it wasn’t until this last morning, on my way to the airport, that I noticed even the speed bumps are studded with flashing lights. Perhaps all this flashing, and the ubiquitous music is to distract poorer Mexicans from their almost inescapable position, that of borderline poverty. Perhaps it is simply part of their nature. One thing is for sure, though; this is a blessed land and close to the heart of the Madre de Guadalupe.

 

New York.
The customs officers at the Newark airport (actually in New Jersey – one of the three airports that service the huge city of New York) could learn some lessons in efficiency from their LAX counterparts. This process took forever at Newark, while the LA officers managed to process we poor travellers far more quickly without neglecting to ask us the obligatory intimidating and accusatory questions.

I was met by a very kind volunteer from Priests for Life named Michael. Mike drove me around while pointing out some sights and telling me his personal experience of 9-11. We drove to the headquarters of Priests for Life on the beautiful Staten Island for my Promise ceremony as a Missionary of Evangelium Vitae. This is something for which I’d been preparing for over two years. It was pretty special to make my promises with Fr. Frank himself.

Here is the pledge we make as MEVs:

God our Father, Creator of all Life,
Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life,
and Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of life,
I come into your presence today and in the presence of my fellow believers, and I commit myself to defend the children in the womb, my brothers and sisters whose right to life is under direct attack, and be for the unborn the voice they do not have.

In defending them, I seek always to grow closer to you, O God, in all things, and to collaborate with other Missionaries of the Gospel of Life and with the wider pro-life movement, as my duties allow. I am confident that the Victory of Life has already been won through the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, and that as the Church proclaims, celebrates, and serves the Gospel of Life, Christ will transform the Culture of Death into the Culture of Life, for He lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

 

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Fr. Frank Pavone and yours truly at the Priests for Life Headquarters.

As MEVs, we promise to pray regularly to end abortion, witness publicly in some way, study the Church’s teaching on life and spend time in fellowship with other pro-lifers. I hope MEV will one day take off in Australia; its mission meshes so well with that of other pro-life groups here.

After a brief tour around Priests for Life with the wonderful Janet Morana, founder of Silent No More and Executive Director of Priests for Life, it was down to Brooklyn to meet Monsignor Reilly. On the way, Mike insisted that I try a slice (of pizza) from a genuine Italian pizzeria. (It was way better than Pizza Hut!!)

Monsignor Reilly lives at the Monastery of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn, which was built in 1898 and is also home to two orders of cloistered nuns. This monastery is an amazing building, designed by the original Mother Superior. I was given the ‘Jane Chantel’ room, usually reserved for visiting priests. (Perhaps this will please the Australian woman I met at Mexico City airport, who thought the Church needed to modernise!)

Monsignor is delightful company and we talked about all things pro-life until late in the night. I received a special blessing to ensure that I’d get up in time for early Mass!

 

Day 6

Well, my prayers were answered and I made it to early Mass in the beautiful chapel of the Precious Blood. The sisters accompanied Mass with angelic singing and stayed in Adoration after Mass. How I love these women and all the nuns we never hear of, who pray every day for the whole world! And especially for an end to abortion. In my opinion, ALL pro-life victories are the fruit of the prayers of those hidden nuns, priests and lay people who pray and sacrifice for the rest of the pro-life family.

Pro-life pilgrimage part two Formation!

The sanctuary ceiling in the Chapel of the Precious Blood.

 

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Another shot of the Chapel.

 

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The chapel boasts a replica of Notre Dame’s Rose Window.

While I had breakfast, I was able to meet Sister Precious, the oldest member of the Precious Blood order. She has been cloistered for over 70 years, having entered the convent after World War II. What a great woman! Somehow I had internet access on my phone for about ten minutes, but no more that day.

Then it was time for my first foray onto the New York sidewalk. New York city is the abortion capital of the US and Brooklyn is abortion-central in that city. Abortion is legal here through the sixth month and has been since before Roe Vs Wade. Around 70% of all black babies conceived in New York are aborted.

This is Obama’s America and would make Margaret Sanger proud.

We took the subway and set up outside the busiest abortion facility in the area. The entire 4th floor of this “gynecology” clinic is devoted to abortions. Most of their other business is supplying abortifacient contraceptives.

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The legendary Monsignor Reilly on the Brooklyn sidewalk

Now, I lived in Tasmania for twenty years, which is a pretty cold place. But this Brooklyn sidewalk was COLD. There was no sun on our side of the street, and it was around 17 Fahrenheit. Freezing.

It’s tempting to walk into the nearest cafe and sit there with hot chocolate, until …. well, you just have to think about what’s going on in that abort-mill and there’s no contest. No one at that moment is suffering more than those little unborn babies, and in a few minutes’ time, no-one will be suffering more than those unfortunate, bereft mothers.

People had told me that Americans are more open to Christianity and witness, and I certainly found this to be true: it was easier to hand out Rosaries and to offer help here, although none changed their mind about their abortion this day. One man who was just passing by asked Monsignor for a Rosary, which would be unheard of in Australia. Quite a number noticed the sign we’d brought which said that babies were being aborted here through six months gestation. One woman was very open to hearing about the danger of artificial contraception and its potential to cause abortions.

Day 7

We again began the day with Mass in the chapel, then I joined Sr. Precious for breakfast. Still no luck with the wifi, but Sr. tells me there is someone else who may be able to help me.

I’m really starting to miss my children; I’d be happy to see even a tantrum from my youngest, and especially miss little Matthew’s dressing-up as a superhero.

We then made our way to the downtown Brooklyn abortion facility and the day turned out to be quite eventful. Monsignor Reilly and I joined a regular Helper, Kathleen, and we began to pray the Rosary at our various positions on the sidewalk. Again, almost every woman who entered the building was black. It was a little warmer today; around 30 fahrenheit (0 celsius) and people were more eager to engage with us. I was able to speak with a young girl who had just aborted, and gave her the details of local post-abortion counsellors. I felt very sorry for this poor, young girl, who appeared to be in shock. She could barely speak. Monsignor told me that there is a 50% repeat rate for post-abortive women and that intervention soon after the abortion helps to prevent a second one.

I was approached by two young people who wanted Rosaries – this would almost never happen in Australia. The first was a young girl who asked me if we were protesting abortion and wanted to know how to pray the Rosary. As we talked, she told me that she had had an abortion, for which she was now very sorry, and was now pro-life. In situations like this, you always wish there was more that you could do, but in reality, giving the Rosary to someone who is suffering is giving them everything.

The other person who was interested in the Rosary was a young, black man. He told me that he was Christian, but not Catholic and that he read the bible. I pointed out the Scripture passages relating to the mysteries of the Rosary and told him about Mary. He said he liked the idea of Mary and planned to pray the Rosary at home.

Then something quite surprising happened, which will potentially save some lives over the next few weeks.

Not long after we had arrived, a piece of the building’s facade had fallen to the ground, from close to the top of the building – near the floor where the abortions are performed. The stone was about the size of a brick and hit the ground with a loud crash, narrowly missing a passerby.

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Evidence of the dangerous crumbling facade at 14 De Kalb

Nothing happened immediately, although some of the staff from the abortion facility were aware of what had occurred, and assured us they had called the City {council.} We kept praying as usual, then as we began to pack up, we heard some sirens and saw, not one, but seven firetrucks arrive, with an investigation vehicle as well!

 

The narrow street and intersection were blocked by the firetrucks, and men with hooks and hardhats descended onto the sidewalk and began to tape off the area around the abortion facility. The entrance was still accessible, but it was obvious to any woman who had gone to the facility that afternoon that there was a problem here and that she might be better off turning around and leaving. (We did see a woman do just that the next day.) It brought to mind those many cases I’d read about, of women who said they ‘just needed one sign to stop them from going through with it.’ For a woman like that, this surely would have been a big sign.

Imagine the scene: A street full of fire-trucks with sirens blaring, traffic backed up, about twenty fire-fighters surveying the building and the sidewalk cordoned off with tape emblazoned with ‘Danger – do not enter’!

We left, wondering what toll this took on the numbers at the ‘gynaecology clinic’.

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A horde of firefighters surveyed the scene

 

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Caution: babies are murdered here

Day 8

I met the dearest little nun this morning after breakfast.

She gave me two gems to take home. The first was this:

“When we hope, we cope.
When we don’t hope, we mope.”

Also this:

“We may not see the hand of God in everything that happens, but we can trust in His Heart.”

Beautiful.

I was accidentally locked out of the monastery after Mass, and had to venture into the grounds to find another way back in. It was my first chance to look around the garden and fully appreciate what an oasis this place is. New York is a city of great evil – sodomy, corruption, homelessness, racism, murder, crime and of course, an extremely high abortion rate. And nestled in there, between the Jewish quarter and the once Irish, now Asian quarter, is the Monastery of the Precious Blood, which geographically covers almost an entire block, and spiritually covers the entire city with the Precious Blood of Jesus. With its cloistered nuns, catechetical murals and beautiful stained-glass windows, it stands as a testament to the timelessness of the Catholic faith and to Jesus Himself: the same, yesterday, today and always.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus. Come and save us from our sinful ways.

Back on the sidewalk, and to the unusual scene of a cordoned-off entrance to an abortion facility. A construction crew was busy erecting scaffolding which would be used to reach the crumbling section of the facade. We speculated that the men would be able to see right into the rooms where abortions are performed; there had been no need for window-coverings on the fourth-floor rooms until now. The building crew, truck, scaffolding and damaged building itself were the objects of attention by many in the area and thus there was more opportunity than ever to witness for life and to alert people about the abortions being performed there through six months’ gestation. It will be difficult for the building’s owners to escape having to repair it now that the fire department and council have been involved. This work could take weeks to complete.

 

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Would this change the mind of an ambivalent mother? We hope so.

 

Three more Helpers joined us and we commented among ourselves that the Lord had created His own ‘bubble-zone’ around the facility; this event was surely causing the mill to lost business and babies to be saved. By the time we arrived women were coming out after their abortions, but it seemed that less than usual were going in. [NB the largely pro-abort New York City council recently tried to apply a bubble-zone law to Monsignor Reilly and the other Helpers at this facility, but the case was struck down and the Helpers were publicly acknowledged to be innocent and of benefit to the community. The cordoned-off construction zone which was created due to the unsafe facade is around the same size as the 15-foot bubble-zone.]

 

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This is only the first level of scaffolding – the part that needs to be repaired is four stories up.

 

Later that evening, Monsignor drove me to the best spot for viewing Manhattan – from this vantage point under the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River, we could see the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower – built on the site of the demolished World Trade Centre, City Hall, the skyscrapers of Wall Street and, in the distance, the Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful scene at night and quite mild weather – up to 8 celsius.

Thus I fulfilled my duty to my youngest children to see the Statue of Liberty! It was also  pretty cool to see an NYPD chopper searching for a vehicle along the bridges.

 

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I know: next time, use a flash.

Author: genericmum

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2 Comments

  1. What a wonderful story and so many unforgettable encounters and spiritual experiences for you Kathy! – an eye-opener about New York.

    Regarding the crumbling wall, the following scriptural verse came to my mind:-

    Luke 19:40 … “I tell you,” He replied, “that if *they* became silent, the very stones would cry out.”

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    • Paula – that is exactly what came to my mind then as well!!! I am so blessed to have made this trip and hope my story inspires you and others to trust that God will do what He wants to do in our lives, with even a mustard seed of faith, as I have.

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