Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Tuesday 3 August 2010

A Day in My Life at the Good Counsel Centre

It's Monday. First things first. I greet Our Lord in the chapel, and sprinkle holy water on my forehead, asking the Holy Spirit to inspire all my actions and words this day,‘please give me the right thing to say at the right time to the pregnant ladies that I will meet’. Then, I check the messages and find out which client has
called; has anyone’s circumstances changed over the weekend? Is ‘Amanda’ still
intent on keeping the baby after finding out that her baby will be due on
Christmas day? Has the father of ‘Jane’s’ child (she had a one night stand with
him two months ago) decided he wants to help her? Did any girl deliver her baby
over the weekend? I add the girls’ intentions to the prayer list, and take
comfort that prayers will be offered for them during the day.

I get ready a pram for ‘Fran’ and a bag of baby clothes. While waiting for ‘Fran’, I look up a news story that could be the subject of a blog post; The Irish Daily Mail carried a story about Sarah Hewson who had an abortion at 19, but at 38 is still childless. In the Daily Mail article, they describe Sarah as having regretted her abortion because she aborted the only child she ever conceived. A bit of research later reveals that Sarah Hewson is reviewing legal action against The Mail, because she’s very resentful that The Mail presented her as feeling so guilty.

‘Fran’ comes and we have a chat, she’s only one month from the due date, and getting
very excited about the forthcoming arrival of her baby boy, if only she didn’t
have heartburn! Fran learns to use her pram and is delighted with it, and
leaves the centre, walking into the May sunshine more prepared for the baby,
than she ever imagined she would be, all those months ago when she first

I grab a bit of lunch and enjoy a coffee before the next client comes. Rosie is
twenty-five and twenty-one weeks pregnant; she wants some advice. Rosie pours
her heart and uses wads of tissues; in the past week she has been crying so
much that her voice is low from hyperventilating. Rosie is ‘having a holiday in
London for the sake of getting a late abortion’, because in her native African
country, abortion is illegal, except if you ‘if you pay someone to use the
straw for early abortions’. Previous to coming to us, Rosie went to a private 'clinic', but didn’t like the sound of the late-term abortion methods, and that she would have to be induced to start the process. She asks many times ‘is there an easy way to do it?’ She is shaken to know that at this stage of the pregnancy, the baby could live outside the womb. Looking at a picture of a twenty-one week baby, she says, ‘you know, I could deliver a premature baby…’

Two and a half hours later, Rosie leaves but would like to come back soon to get
more matters off her chest, we are the first people she has told anything to,
and the pregnancy is semi-hidden.

I’m scheduled to do Eucharistic Adoration, and as I walk into the chapel I feel
bathed in love. During Eucharistic Adoration, there is the distinctive
atmosphere (for me) of Christmas day. I offer a Rosary for Rosie, and ask God
to heal her hurts. I’m never so grateful for Eucharistic Adoration as when I
leave a very emotionally involved counselling session. We have Benediction
promptly at 5PM, and I ask Our Lady to intercede for those of us, working in
the country that is her dowry.

Afterwards, I answer the phone, and speak to girls who have phoned to say that they have received their financial help for this week, and find out how they are sorted for other matters. Then it’s
time to get the counselling rooms ready for tomorrow, and before I forget,
replenish the tissue box.

Mary O'Regan


  1. I became a member of SPUC on Sunday - partly because Sister Agnes looks at you (all four foot nine of her) as if she would pin you to the ground until you sign up if you don't do it willingly! - but also because it's the right thing to do, even for someone not yet a Catholic. I say 'even' but it shouldn't be that only Catholics defend life, but this is another thing that draws me to Mother Church.

    Thank you for a beautiful post about a beautiful, crucial and i'm sure extremely difficult vocation. It is a beautiful thing that such difficult and probably intense meetings are supported by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer. A lovely illustration of the interior and exterior life working hand in hand.

    Thank you,


  2. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words Malvenu, and well done for joining SPUC. You mentioned prayer - and I should have included this in the above post but saying a daily Rosary (or two if time allows) is absolutely essential.

  3. Mary, thank you for your comments on the various blogs.
    I have never found prayer easy but perhaps if i set out to pray two Rosaries per day i might be able to make sure i pray at least one!

    I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a deepening of my love for Jesus and his Holy Mother through praying the Rosary, despite the fact that, as a (former) Anglican, i still struggle sometimes with the whole concept.

    I'm just wondering, though, if you have the opportunity to pray a second Rosary which mysteries to you meditate on?

  4. There is no hard and fast rule for one's second Rosary. If it's Tuesday, and one has offered the Sorrowful, then it may seem natural to recite the Glorious next. Personally, I usually recite the Joyful as my second Rosary, because both The Announciation and The Presentation in the Temple are my favourite decades. Both these decades are linked by The Nativity and every time we meditate on Our Lord's conception and birth we re-kindle in our soul the warmth of Christmas.


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