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My 40 Days For Life Experience

March 8, 2013

I had the day off work today and I could  think of no better way to spend it than by going to noon mass at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis then heading over to join my fellow St. Francis de Sales Oratory members at Planned Parenthood to protest and pray during the ongoing 40 Days for Life campaign.   I was happy to see that the group consisted of more than just the three oratory members that had signed up to be on site between 2:00 and 3:00, but we were also joined by four seminarians from St. Louis’ Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and a group from a local university.

I didn’t take pictures because I’ve been told that the Planned Parenthood people complain if one takes too many photos of their facility.  I also thought it common courtesy to not take pictures near the clinic where people’s cars may be recognized.


My time at the clinic was spent praying the rosary while holding a 5 -foot sign at a busy intersection in front of the clinic.   This is not the first time that I spent time praying in front of St. Louis’ only Planned Parenthood abortion clinic (there are other PP sites, but this is the only one with in-clinic abortion services), but it was the first time I’ve been there on a weekday when young women were actually showing up for procedures.  I was ready to spend my hours praying a rosary or two, chat with my fellow parishioners, and receive honks of appreciation and distant from passing motorists; afterwords I’d return home and continue my day.  This was not the case.

I was not prepared for the way that  I was effected by seeing women leaving the clinic.  From my vantage point at the intersection there were several instances where a young woman leaving the clinic, often with parents driving, would get stopped directly in front of my by the red traffic signal.  Occasionally one would look up to me as I held the stand up sign while visibly praying my rosary.   I was not mentally prepared for the range of emotions that I observed.

Some of the women had a true look of sorrow on their faces, visibly sad or even shaken.  Others were nonchalant; they were fiddling with their cell phone or singing along with a song on the radio.  I’m not sure which reaction effected me more.  Even now, five hours after the experience I’m still pondering my experience.

I can’t say for sure if we changed anyone’s mind today, but what I can say is that I was touched in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

I’ll close with a quote from Bl. Teresa of Calcutta:

“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters” (From the Wall Street Journal February 25, 1994)

From → Everyday Faith

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