Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies


Sunday 2 April 2023

Entertaining Angels Unaware: 40 Days of Celebrating Mums Choosing Life Day 40!

Danni came to Good Counsel some years ago. She found us through heading past Buckhurst Hill abortion centre on her way to book an abortion somewhere else! As she walked past, a man called to her and said "Hey that man wants to speak to you!" Danni stopped and looked across the road where she saw Michael, one of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, who were holding a regular vigil there.

She went over to him, not knowing who he was, or what he was doing. "That man told me you wanted to speak to me." she said and Michael said "What man?" they both looked around, the quiet street was empty. "I didn't see anyone. And I didn't tell anyone to call you." he said bemused. Danni was confused but they got chatting and he told her what he was doing there and showed her the help leaflet. He asked if she was there for an abortion. "Well, I'm not having an abortion here, but I am on my way to book one!" 

Danni accepted Michael's offer of help. She came into our office and sat in our reception area with a Rosary beads- given to her by Michael - around her neck. Another young woman from a similar background was there too, she had walked in from another abortion centre after being offered help. She too had accepted a blessed Rosary and was wearing it around her neck too! They soon became friends!

After we helped her make a plan for herself and her baby, offering lots of support, Danni kept her baby. She told us "It must have been the Archangel Michael that called me over to speak to Michael". She also sent in more than one friend who kept their babies too. Several years later, she came back to us pregnant again, this time with a supportive husband, but with a disabled baby. "I'm keeping my baby." she said. "It's a life. It's a human being."

This is the work that is done outside abortion centres. This is the work that reaches out to mums in desperate situations and saves lives, like the 5 lives that we know of that have been saved in the Brixton and Ealing 40 Days for Life Campaigns this Lent. Make no mistake, this is the work that buffer zones are intended to stop.

You can donate to help us support our work here or here.

Saturday 1 April 2023

When Someone is Praying Before Our Lady: 40 Days Celebrating Mums Choosing Life Day 39

Today we are re-sharing a blog post from 2010 which showed us the power of Our Lady's intercession.

One Saturday recently, I went to our Centre to speak with a woman who had come to us looking for abortion. She had come back to us a second time still asking us to help her get an abortion and it was my job to speak to us on her 3rd visit. A fairly unpleasant job I thought.

This lady, let's call her Monica, knew she could go elsewhere and get an abortion, but she had a certain trust in us. We had talked through all the risks of abortion with her. The dangers, possible side effects, the reality of what would happen to her baby in an abortion. We discussed why we thought it was wrong. All these things let her know we really cared about her health and wellbeing. 

But they didn't "move" her in her resolve to abort one tiny bit.

If we got an abortion for her, she felt, it would be at least as safe as it could be. So she came to see us for the third time in the hope that, maybe, she could persuade us to arrange her abortion.

Monica had a toddler already and her husband has serious psychological problems. They have not been together for many months. She has separated from him for her child's welfare as much as her own. He has used physical violence against them before. His family think she is crazy for ever being with him. Her own family think so too. They say to her "It's lucky you only have the one child with him!"

On her previous visits she had told us "I never wanted children - I don't want his child - I don't want this child. Get it out of me!"

This is the language women often use about their baby when they are victims of abuse, rape, violence, or other issues where they are left to feel - as Monica did - stupid, guilty, shamed, hurt and used.

The problem is with the father, not with the baby. But the problem of the father gets reflected onto the baby by the poor woman who carries the child of man who has wounded her.

Can I in the short time we have together diffuse all that hurt and anger and suffering? - I asked myself this as she sat before me. She was very hardened into her choice to abort. Had the doctor been standing in the room ready to abort the child she would have said "yes". I whispered a quick prayer and set about trying to crack the hardened heart. I hadn't spoken for long when suddenly something happened. I hadn't said anything striking but I felt the weight of a huge burden lift in the room. Suddenly she began to say "I think I should keep the baby, What do you think?" She watched a video showing the abortion process at her stage and she said "You know, I have seen this before but it made no impact. I have heard about what abortion does when I came here before, but while I heard the words it didn't affect me. But now, something has changed. All of it has just now become clear to me. It is all affecting me now."

We sat together for 2 hours talking about the help she would need making a plan together. It was light and joyful and suddenly - though she still knew raising this second child - alone - would be hard, she embraced the child as hers - a sibling of her beloved toddler and - she could admit it now - the second child she had always wanted!

After she left, I went to the chapel and afterwards I asked the other staff and volunteers "Who was praying here about half an hour after I went in to see Monica?" no-one they thought. I was mystified. I really felt the power of prayer at work.

Cardinal Nichols Praying before the Image of Our Lady of Guadelupe 2012. Photo provided by Edmund Adamus who facilitated @WestminsterCath hosting "relic" image of Our Lady of Gaudalupe closing a 9 month "novena" national tour for papal visit

I pottered round to Westminster Cathedral that afternoon to see the relic replica image of Our Lady of Guadelupe. It struck me when I arrived that the service of prayer before this image had been led by Archbishop Nichols exactly half an hour after my meeting with Monica started and I couldn't help but feel that it was very much connected. Thank you our Blessed Lady. Monica is now awaiting the birth of her child in April. 

You can donate to help us support mums like Monica here or here.

Clare McCullough

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