Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Friday 22 October 2010

Babies Saved From Abortion In The Midst Of Chaos

My typical day at the Good Counsel Network is anything but typical or predictable. I usually work one day a week and spend the rest of the week at home with my Mother and my son aged 3. I think being a stay at home Mum 6 days a week helps to keep me sane in the face of what happens in the Good Counsel Centre or perhaps it's the work at Good Counsel that keeps me sane when I am at home...I'm not sure!

My day in the Centre this week looked like this: Arrive to hear that an abortion-minded couple who turned away from abortion hoping that we could help them to return to their home country are panicking because they need to move out of their accomodation within 3 days. I start trying to book their tickets.

As various staff and volunteers start their day's work I am asked to respond to calls from several Mothers/Expectant Mothers about their needs. Some are still considering abortion. Others, continuing their pregnancies are arriving to be assessed or helped by our "Ongoing Assistance Co-ordinator" Ronni. Four girls need deliveries of baby goods, some things need to be ordered new for them, but we also have a lot of good quality second hand baby goods and baby clothes to pass on to them. I parcel these up for Conor our Fundraising Assistant to arrange with Patrick, our delivery man to deliver. Patrick often takes the smaller goods out in bundles and delivers them by tube.

In the background Gabrielle is setting up the Chapel for midday Mass and is trying to arrange Benediction. James is buying and posting vouchers to several expectant and new Mothers. These are women with no other means of support, who receive a small amount from us each week in food vouchers - just enough to keep body and soul going.

Lorraine is answering the Helpline and Mary is preparing for a client who is coming to see her.

I manage to round up 4 or 5 staff and volunteers for a bit of pavement counselling training, in honour of 40 Days for Life.

40 Days for Life has brought many pregnant women to our door. One of them rings to thank us for getting a scan done for her. She is keeping her baby now. Another girl rings to say that she is thinking about abortion again. She is put on our prayer list in the Chapel.

A volunteer, Gaelle, pops in to do a couple of hours of leaflet folding and of course gets dragged into everything from designing promotional materials for the forthcoming Credit Crunch Ball to serving tea and coffee to pregnant women some of whom are absolutely destitute.

Fr Timothy arrives and says Mass.

Afternoon brings a desperate call for Ronni from a Mother of 4 whose benefits have been stopped and will not be re-instated for 12 weeks. A call comes in from an organisation trying to house two ladies who are not entitled to any state help, one of whom is pregnant. We have nowhere available, but we advise them to come back to us if nowhere is found. We are very glad to have a record of never leaving a genuinely homeless person on the street and will always do our best to keep to it.

It has amazed me to find that the ONLY organisations that will generally house people without any access to public funds are Catholic groups, and only a very few Catholic groups at that - 3 to my knowledge - of which we are one. This is because most Charities, even many pro-life and Catholic charities rely heavily on state funding, which they won't get for people without access to public funds. One charity which helps refugees sent us an 8 month pregnant lady recently. She is very unwell and has to be monitored daily till the end of her pregnancy. The charity had no money to house her and so bought her a bus pass so she could sleep on the bus...

I have a brief meeting with Ronni about the girls needing help. It is interrupted about 23 times by phone calls and enquiries from various staff/volunteers under pressure. Various business and administration matters needing urgent attention are brought to me too. We have to terminate the meeting abruptly when 3 of our "clients" arrive.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet is said in the Chapel for all our clients and supporters.

A call comes in from one of the Charity Trustees to say that some accommodation we have been waiting for has become available.

4 girls who came to us considering abortion and still undecided need a call.

I get to sort through a few bags of baby clothes. I can't actually get into to my office today because of the baby goods in there that need sorting!

I manage to get over to 40 Days for life for a brief period and a short prayer. I get four calls from the travel agent about the ticket I booked this morning, but eventually it gets sorted out. On my return to the Centre, a girl is waiting with her 2 year old son. They are very stressed and harrassed looking. They don't fall within our remit for housing, not being pregnant, but I know of a sofabed they can stay on for a night or two and am able to put them on the bus to find it. We also find a warm winter coat and hat that fits her son perfectly. She puts him straight into it. We leave together at 8.30pm.

I have time for a quick word with Sr Mary Joseph of the Holy Family Sisters of the Needy who look after the Mothers that we accomodate. It's her birthday today so I wish her happy birthday.

There are plenty women continuing to come to us in crisis pregnancies and our Centre is a whirl of activity because of it, but it remains a blessing to me to work there.
Clare McCullough

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