The two Sisters of Life, Sister Virginia Joy, S.V., and Sister Pia Jude, S.V., who run the Respect Life Office for the Archdiocese of New York are basically missionaries. They work out of the convent in New York City which doubles as a “holy respite” home for women and their babies. They have been going around the vast archdiocese over the last few weeks for a series of regional stops that are both presentation and town-hall listening sessions. People are angry, sad, depressed, heartbroken . . . about the abortion expansion darkness in New York state. They feel like a minority and many of them feel overwhelmed by the doubling down on evil they see not just in New York but nationally. The Democratic primary process thus far hasn’t helped matters. They want someone to do something. It’s made worse by the fact a self-professed Catholic governor has been the instigator. Most of the nights have had 100 or more people. Last night in New Rochelle was a little less.
I learned a few things I wanted to pass along, all of which blew me a little bit away.
- First of all, I happened to be at the Sisters of Life holy respite the other day. The background music was “The Itsy-Bity Spider” with toddlers, mothers, and sisters singing. Cooing, too, could be heard. There have been seven babies born among the women the Sisters of Life walk with since Thanksgiving — four of them two sets of twins.
- Sister Virginia Joy told the powerful story last night of showing the half-hour documentary, I Lived on Parker Avenue, to eighth graders. (I’ve written about it here and here.) It’s the story of an adoption, the meeting of a birthmother and son, and gratitude. It went online for free around this time last year, as I recall. You can watch it here. But about the little miracle story: One of those eighth graders went home that day and told his mother about it and gave him a Sisters of Life brochure about alternatives to abortion. She was about to have an abortion. The Sisters of Life are now walking with her through her pregnancy and beyond, which is what they do.
- On the day of the abortion-expansion law — when the Freedom Tower and all were lit up in celebratory pink, celebrating such grave evil — a sidewalk counselor handed an abortion-minded woman a Sisters of Life brochure. She met up with the Sisters, spent the day with them, and even attended the vigil for life in reparation for what is happening and was happening at St. Patrick’s Cathedral that night. She, too, chose to turn away from abortion.
- A Carmelite friar who teaches at Iona Prep high school shared that he had been trying to start a pro-life club for awhile there, but there had not been interest. The Reproductive Health Act changed things. They have one now. He added that its head is a Protestant. The students, he said, “are fired up.” And when they do things like hold a baby shower for unwed mothers, even a teacher who might not be with the Church on the issue of abortion finds her heart warmed and supportive of the effort. He said people should be encouraged that God works with us even in the darkness. He said people should have hope for young people, many who see clearly.
- Earlier this week, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and New Yorkers for Life (who have a petition about repealing the RHA, if you click on the link) had a lobbying day in Albany. It culminated with people going into the state capitol to visit their representatives. Once inside, from different levels, as you’ll see here, they gave voice to hope there:
On a dark rainy early spring life last night, there were signs of light. And the reminder that small things done with great love are far from nothing, they have the power to help change the culture and save lives.