The first Tasmanian Pro-Life Culture Forums were held last week, and we heard some really interesting talks by Kay Painter and Brigid McKenna.
The evening started with Fr. Gerald Quinn leading us in prayer, then Kay gave the first talk.
This was Kay’s sixth visit to Australia, but only the first time she had been to Tasmania.
Kay talked about the damage that secrets can do to our souls, and how her attempts to deaden the pain of her secrets took her further and further from God, until at last she turned back to Him and acknowledged that He had always been waiting for her. She shared with us how her abortion made a huge negative impact on her life, and how the Lord led her through healing and into a ministry which reaches out to other women suffering after their abortion.
Kay’s testimony echoed the experience of many post-abortive mothers: a lack of pre-abortion counselling, lack of disclosure about possible emotional repercussions, and perhaps the most traumatising thing of all - the way in which unborn children are referred to as clumps of cells, blobs of tissue. In Kay’s case, the realisation of her baby’s humanity burnt a scar very deeply in her psyche; her recounting of her aborted baby’s audible ‘thud’ into the waste bin was a very sad, memorable part of her talk.
Kay has written a book about her secrets and her healing called From Sin and Sorrow to Service, and has plans for another book which she plans to start work on upon her return to the US. I recommend reading Kay’s book if you have access to a copy - it really tells an amazing story of redemption and forgiveness. For information on how to order a copy, visit Kay’s website here.
Following Kay’s Hobart talk, I gave a short presentation on the necessity of personal sanctity in pro-life work. The text of my talk can be found here.
The final talk in Hobart was by Dr. Brigid McKenna. Brigid trained as a medical doctor before becoming interested in bioethics and the writings of St. John Paul II - especially in Evangelium Vitae and the Theology of the Body, and she is now head of the Archdiocese of Hobart’s Office of Family, Life and Marriage.
Brigid gave an inspiring talk about how to create a culture of life, based on a speech by Archbishop Chaput. She told us that the antidote to the death-culture is the formation of strong families. Brigid also reminded us of John Paul II’s exortation that evangelisation is inextricably linked to ‘preaching, celebration and the service of charity,’ (EV Chap 4.) as well as of our ‘inescapable responsibility of being unconditionally pro-life.’ (EV para. 28)
Kay also spoke in Launceston, and was hosted by the Human Life Protection Society. We joined in prayers for mothers and the unborn, then Kay gave her testimony. It was surprising to see how many in the room had been touched in some way by the scourge of abortion.
We are hoping to make these forums a regular event in Tasmania, please contact me if you are interested in speaking at, or attending any future forums.