What is the use of living in US and not participating in March for Life? What’s the point of being an Indian and not representing India at this event? Especially when President Trump has reinstated Mexico City Policy stopping US tax payer funded abortions abroad including India. So off we drove to Washington D.C with our sign to thank Trump Administration or at least to let people know about it and show our gratitude. Come on! more than 40 -60 million U.S. dollars spent annually on abortion in India so far will be redirected from now on to life affirming projects and how can we not thank the Trump administration for this? especially when Indian pro choice media is busy trashing President (#globalgagrule)?
So glad the message was well received by people. We got a handful of them stop us and ask more details about the Mexico City Policy and how it affected India. A couple of them took pictures and it caught the eye of few media as well. Most of all people promised us with prayers for an end to the Culture of Death in India.
Because the reality that 16 million innocent children were killed in one year in India is something that should give us sleepless nights. The numbers are huge, the tragedy is monstrous, there’s too much involved and what a singe person can do? this is the question many people ask me. Yes, it is huge, it is filthy big, it is monstrous but what a single person can do depends upon the person’s conviction to proclaim the truth and to defend life and one’s faith in God.
While almost a million Americans were marching in D.C remembering the victims of abortion holocaust and the day it was legalized in their country we marched for the babies in America by abortion as well as the babies killed in India through same way with American taxpayer money. Trust me! we got thousands of them giving thumbs up and hundreds quite surprised at our post. At the end of the day so many of these people came to know about the abortion holocaust happening in India, with and without American funds and gained solidarity in standing up for life.
March for Life 2018 – one of the unforgettable experience. Pray, wish and hope for such a movement in India to defend our unborn Indians. Shame on us Indians that we go about eating drinking and partying as our unborn brothers and sisters are killed in India in the name of population control and development. But this shall not remain the same. It shall change, when you and me begin to do what we can do.
“. . . we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only faced with but necessarily in the midst of this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.” (Evangelium Vitae)
3 million Indians live in America. But not a single unified Prolife representation. My eyes constantly scanned the crowd to see if we could get hold of Indians and if somebody will get hold of us. But it was a shock to me when we learned that more than 50% of Indians who live in America are Democrats. And after a while I thought to myself, with less than 5% of catholic population in India and radical Hinduism running the government how could reality be different. After all Democrats advocated for slavery and segregation and have strong affiliation with racist ideology and so do upper caste hindus who established ‘Eugenic Clinics’ in India and whose families have the money and opportunity to come to America and finance radical Hindutva groups back in homeland. We finally spotted two faces that resembled of Indian origin but they were too shy to stop for a chat or to shake hands. Nevertheless we went parading the streets with our banner to show the few who gave thumbs up and smiles, encouraging our humble effort to represent Indians at the great March for Life.
The kindness showed by fellow Americans will not let you rest after the March is over so you can get back to the comfort of the heated cozy indoors. When you see pregnant women, babies, old people with walkers, people in wheel chair marching on a freezing windy day, you are moved to do more. This is the America which India never got to know. This is the America the liberal Indian media would never want the ordinary Indian to know. The America which defends life, which gives voice for the voiceless. And so this is exactly what we wanted our people back in India to know.
People estimated the crowd to be more than 700,000. And to see such a huge crowd march without any tension, without any violence, without a single curse word is what I feel is the mark of a changing Culture. And this is what we need in India. As we marched, looking at the enthusiasm of people, the chanting, the signs, the energy, the freedom, the spirit our hearts longed to experience the same in the homeland. Our people are being killed, killed in massive numbers. Our people are being exploited and betrayed. Our people need to wake up and get to work.
March for Life marks the infamous day of Jan 22,1973 when the Supreme Court of United States legalized the killing of innocent children in their mother’s womb through the deception, lie and manipulation of the case called Roe V Wade. However the truth is that this woman Roe never aborted her child. But her case opened the floodgates of abortion in America killing more than 50 million children in America alone since 1973. But… India legalized abortion 2 years before America and since then according to the IPPF reports 4-6 million abortions are performed every year in India. So what’s the fertility level and Fertility Replacement Level of the country? Less than 2.3 . Which means India is dying.
6 million abortions and 4 million sterilization per year, including mifeprestone in family planning program, the media’s betrayal, the dark forgotten past of legalizing abortion and above all this, trying to extend legal abortion date beyond fetal viability and bringing in active euthanasia and unregulated sex education is simply evil beyond comprehension. And we don’t March, no candlelight vigils, no prayers, no prolife legislation, nothing. The Church is silent, the NGO’s active in promoting death, the culture is changing and people are being killed. Every day- every minute. When are we going to wake up?
However, great things happen from humble beginning. And may be this March is one such milestone. We had good conversation with friends and family in India, conversations about abortion and life which usually doesn’t happen, friends wondering what are we into, and strangers sharing posts and questioning about abortion. May be 2018 would be different, with increased sense of awareness of Culture of death and reverence to Life in India.
When I talk to people in India about Pro Life issues, I am often caught up in a whirlpool of confusion. They think the west is the worse. Only western women drink and hook up and do abortions. Excuse me. There’s something worse happening in our Motherland.Yes, abortions are happening in India in massive scale. 6.4 million abortion in a year. Evidence? Here you go, from the devil’s mouth :
and massive ethnic cleansing is also happening with the government’s cooperation. How ridiculous am I to say that? Because I have evidence. 4 million sterilization and 5 million IUD insertions done by government and it’s mentioned as “Performance” in the Health Management Information System website of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. here you go:
not my own statistics, not my own numbers. From the enemy’s den. What’s happening to my country? Who are behind this? Why are they doing this to my people? After 100 years of British colonization is there another 70 years of American cultural imperialism imposed over my people? Is this about Eugenics? Look at the CEO’s of the top companies and look at the massive population control propaganda, any link?
And amidst all this, my people don’t know the concept of “Pro Life”. They know Breaking Bad, 50 shades of grey, they seem to follow American Idol, Golden Globe awards, they seem to know about Ellen and Big Bang Theory, Wife Swap, Modern Family, they watch 24, confession but they are completely unaware of March for Life , David Daleiden , Planned Parenthood. Eugenics? Sorry they have not even heard of the word before, Genocide? Nope, sorry-they need a seminar on this, Ok talk about China’s one child policy, because they are India’s neighboring country with troubled relationship? Still no. Fine, how about the Emergency period of India declared in 1970’s, it’s our history, the history of the nation? still NO.
The Indians young and old are immersed in the rush to finish school, get a job, repay loan and buy a house. Once they buy a house take a picture and post in facebook to inform others of their status quo and seeing this ten others will run around to buy a better house and post it in facebook. And by this time another 4 million children will be aborted and 5 million women used as experiment subjects for massive contraception test for United States. We have an urgent need to capture the attention of this ever rushing population to speak for their innocent neighbors slaughtered in the womb. There’s a huge cultural gap. While the Pro Choice ideals cross countries and barriers and found its place in India Pro-Life issues has no voice. The Media blacked out everything. No coverage for March for Life, No coverage for Planned Parenthood Baby Parts scandal. So when I say Pro Life, they stare at me and wonder what on earth am I talking about. To the little known friends I beg to get involved in any small way they can, as simple as posting in fb, make videos, at least share stuff, I requested great Prolife leaders to speak on behalf of India, wrote to pro life media, requested priests in India to speak out but they weren’t ready either.
So I took things in my hand. I will communicate to my people in the way they can understand. No more western images, western quotes, western ideology. We have Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi the two most terrifying Pro Life leaders who are Pro Life without exceptions and have been outspoken about abortion and dignity of human life, I have my own camera,saree and baby models. I’ll use social media to present the truth and help them connect the dots, and the Almighty will use them to convert hearts.
Instagram is exploding with reactions, conversations and conversion and am having quite a bit of fun sitting and witnessing what it means to “Be still and know that I am God.” Anyone who know 5 loaves and two fish parable knows that nothing is too small or too weak to be used for the greater glory of God. I began with Mr.M as a feeble indian woman reluctant to talk to people and now I get cursed at least twice a day for speaking truth and keep presenting them with LOVE. #StopabortioninIndia ! Jai Hind!
When I began Sidewalk Counseling I was perplexed by the fact on how can one approach women entering the abortion facility. The order goes something like this if I can recall from my training with Mr.M : Woman, abortion, baby, God i.e Talk about her- her issue,fear, concerns and the situation forcing her into the abortion center, then talk about the effects of abortion- physical, mental, emotional and relational then move on to talk about the baby- giving the scientific data about the child in the womb. Like, the developmental milestones. finally, talk about God. I was amused about the fact that one can talk about God to a random stranger. I am dumb, after all it’s America. But what’s the connection between God and abortion? Can one try to be pro life without God? Can there be an end to abortion without God? For the matter of fact, will there be an end to euthanasia or any kind of violence without God? Can someone make sense without God? The answer is ‘NO’. It’s as simple as it sounds. Sorry folks!
You can try to use science at sidewalk, you can use psychoanalysis at sidewalk, you can use highly complicated and time tested methodologies to do good effectively and stop abortion but at the end of the day nothing works as much as Prayer, sacrifice, Mass or Eucharist to end abortion. I am very arrogant in presenting this truth because abortion is not a product of failed social system or political agenda but it is the result of evil. It might be hard to digest this fact and I will not be surprised about that considering the status of our secular society. It’s funny to see people discussing empirical methods and strategies to do sidewalk counseling, well they are doing good but remember the old verse : The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.- Proverbs:21:31 . Its very sensical specially when you see how God chose the most unlikely: the shepherd to fight a giant, the stammerer to lead people to promised land, the infertile to give children as many as stars, the widow, the persecutor, the fishermen, the tax collector. Ordinary men for extraordinary tasks. Sometimes even broken men for mind blowing jobs. Yet people think they can end abortion without God, only with the help of science, logic and law. It’s nothing but foolishness.
People can try and do good but they cannot end abortion. A good no. of catholic organizations do not want to keep up neither their catholic identity nor bring God in their Sidewalk counseling approaches. The reason behind this might sound reasonable at first i.e; not to turn off people by speaking about God. However a grave mistake is committed here of trying to save the body and simply not care about the soul. That’s simply not a ‘save’ at all.
In training with Sister. Dorothy who has been in the ministry of Sidewalk Counseling for more than 20 years I was introduced to a different strategy. She tries to talk about God as soon as she can. No avoiding God, No keeping God for last. This makes much sense because The Servant of God Fr. John Hardon once said: “There’s no stopping Abortion without The Eucharist.” Many priests in the Pro-life mission like Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Imbarrato have explained the reason behind this. Eucharist is Christ giving his body and blood for mankind out of love for ‘other’ and abortion is the opposite: taking the life of the other for oneself. It uses the same phrase used in Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: ‘This is my Body’. Abortion is a sacrilege, a mockery at God. And how one can expect to combat this with techniques of Psychology and Biology? Will people stop committing abortion just by showing the videos of fetus inside the womb happily sucking the thumb? No.
Cardinal O’Connor said it perfectly: “The Culture of Death will be converted to Culture of Life…only by the spiritual life of those created in the image and likeness of God”. And for this reason The Sister’s of Life whose charism is to defend the sanctity of human life encourage their co-workers to deeper spiritual life with frequent communion, and close touch with sacraments. Especially Sacrament of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. Without Mass, Rosary and Sacraments one cannot combat the evil of Culture of Death even if one is a world renowned Psychotherapist. I can bet my life on this.
If you are involved in active Pro-Life ministry like Sidewalk Counseling or Praying in front of clinics or volunteering in any least way to promote culture of life, then you need a very deep spiritual life. The struggle is much greater and the enemy much more schematic than you can ever imagine. Especially with things like Satanism and ritualistic abortion it’s humanly impossible to fight abortion by oneself. We are in need of grace, extraordinary grace, to combat the culture of death.
We had a wonderful opportunity to be with Sisters of Life this weekend to revive our soul to continue the battle for the next one year. I wish Catholics all over world involved in pro-life ministry had the opportunity that I had. Fr.John Hardon used to say : Remember even by simply being present before the abortion clinic after the reception of Sacraments opens the door to graces which works in its own ways for the conversion of souls. Encourage fellow catholics about this to combat the Culture of Death. We have to speak to our fellow Catholics about being channels of grace for those who are in need of them especially those who follow culture of death. Mother Angelica said: “If Catholics were truly Catholic, the world would change overnight.” Being silent and minding one’s own business does not help. The least people can do is hurt our egos by mocking us, making fun or talk behind our back and the most they can do is harm the body. None can touch the soul which is labors for God alone. Ultimately it’s the soul which is going to face the judgement and go to heaven. Not the image, status, vainglory. As Christians we are called to go out of our way to do good like the Good Samaritan. As Pope St. John Paul II said Let’s not be satisfied with mediocrity.
“At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: TAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT: FOR THIS IS MY BODY WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.”
I have been doing Sidewalk counseling for the past eight months and I’ve never had what they call ‘a save’. I’ve never encountered drama, I’ve never been heroic, I’ve never had any eye-opening experience. I’ve never spoken to any women other than one single mother who eventually gave in to despair and went ahead with the abortion. I stand there among awesome people who work for God tirelessly saving a soul a week from abortion. Like Mr. M. Sometimes it’s disheartening. But that’s the work of devil. However I cannot say I’ve never really made an impact.
A lot of times I used to feel ashamed of looking at the sub-normal level of my role at the sidewalk and wonder what in the world am I doing here, doing nothing. I was always afraid of being insignificant and not making a difference, of not just failing but being average. I always felt uneasy with my presumption of people’s expectations of how I would be at the Sidewalk. I had thoughts about people mocking at me to consider it was ridiculous for me to think of becoming a Sidewalk Counselor. If you have had moments as these better don’t let them stop you from standing up for the unborn, the dying, the terminally ill, the abused or the vulnerable; because, we share something fascinating and you will understand the greatness of smallness by the end of this post.
Everyone must have had an idea about the jewish holocaust. The monstrosity of evil couldn’t triumph over good and it was the great time of sanctity, sainthood and stout heartedness. Saints made best use of this time to show their love for God and neighbor. But among the 2579 catholic clergymen who were imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp Fr. Karl Leisner wants to tell us something very profound.
Dachau concentration camp was the result of deep hatred Nazi’s had towards the Church and a strong evidence that World War II was not a political event but a spiritual one. I would love to look at your face when I tell you that there was Holy Sacrifice of Mass and secret ordinations happening in the middle of a concentration camp among all the intensity of agony. Smuggling flowers for the altar and passing secret messages of prayer times, having a person to look out while singing hymns and breaking bread. Satan would have felt a terrible blow right on the face while looking at people making vestments secretly managing to find altar cloths, rusted old table and bringing hosts. Everything at the cost of immediate death or torture. How on earth would someone smuggle flowers for Mass when they knew they would be shot? isn’t that small thing look great now? Letting go of one’s life while picking flowers for Holy Mass where Christ would be present in body, blood,soul and divinity for others amidst the horrors unleashed by evil forces. And now it makes sense when St. John of the Cross said: “At the end of the day we will be judged on love alone”.
In the middle of the institutionalized and widely accepted and celebrated human torture was a day of complete magnificence in Dachau. A secret ordination for Fr. Karl Leisner. A taste of heaven in hell. Fr.Karl was suffering from tuberculosis while he was in camp and lost hope of being ordained. During this time Msgr. Gabriel Piquet, Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand in France was transferred from the Natzweiler concentration camp in Alsace to Dachau. He worked along with Cardinal Faulhaber and the Bishop of Muenster and the arrangements for ordination began. Father Karl celebrated his first Mass on Dec. 26 — the feast of St. Stephen the Martyr, but it was the only Mass he would ever celebrate. He died in a sanatorium in few months after Dachau was liberated. Now does this one Mass look small, tiny, meager or trivial or does it look great and glorious? Fr. Karl was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II. How about that !
We have to remember that “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – vincent van gogh. We don’t have to be or become great. The essence is in littleness. The only third woman to become the Doctor of the Church revolutionized spirituality with this concept. Because the perspective of God is so different from the way we see and measure things. While organizations can go flurry over how many saves they had, how many turnarounds they achieved only God can see how much love you carry in your heart to try and do something for these little ones. While numbers serve great purpose and can be used to encourage people, no one should lose spirit because they couldn’t make statistics. let me tell you that sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart. Winnie the Pooh didn’t say it but St. Therese of Lisieux did. God can see through you and again sorry but i’ll have to quote her again: “You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.” -Saint Therese of Lisieux
So never be afraid to be little, do little, it is the Love that matters most. So next time you see or hear someone being low in spirits because their actions weren’t supposedly great or dramatic or the outcome of their efforts weren’t huge or brilliant or that no woman changed her mind from abortion or no child was saved or no worker left the abortion clinic or no souls converted tell them that still it looks great in sight of God. Because even we adults would naturally be carried away by how a child shows it’s love and there’s no doubt God will be pleased by our little effort and who knows He might be going around saying “oh look what my child did today!” in a proud fashion of a father and His grace will make impossible things possible. The more we are little the more God can work through us. Because at the end of the day we will be judged on love alone.
And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them,… – Mathew:18
For the first time I’ll be taking part in this huge event. I am not surprised that out of thousands of Indians who flock to America none had ever spoken about it in public or even in private (except for my husband- sometimes it pays off to be submissive as the Bible says). And for the slightest mention about abortion in the families- it was quite a usual remark from one of the relatives who mentioned casually that she almost decided to go ahead with abortion since she couldn’t tolerate the sickness associated with pregnancy. For such a casual mention that “I can’t handle vomiting all the time, it was so terrible I almost started to hospital to do abortion…” I could never grasp the meaning of abortion until one day I decided to google myself about it.
I’ve never heard about abortion in churches or schools, not even in sunday class or even during marriage preparation class. And now I know that the millions of men and women in India will be just like me, growing up not knowing about this silent holocaust. They can’t be blamed because in an overpopulated country like India where it’s quite mundane to witness human suffering, you almost get immune to it. Many westerners must have heard about Bl.Mother Teresa’s account on the people dying in streets, the slums, the orphans, the crowded hospitals which is very much still the same in India. However there has been no detailed account of what’s happening to the unborn in our country. There’s not even proper statistics on the number of children victimized to abortion.
Everyone seems to know about Indians who rule the world through invisible technology. Sathya Nadella the CEO of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai CEO of Google, Indira Nooyi CEO of Pepsico, Ajaypal Singh CEO of MasterCard, Shantanu CEO of Adobe, Francisco DSouza heading Cognizant, Vikram Pandit CEO of Citigroup, Surya Mahapotra CEO of Quest Diagnostics, Ivan Menezes CEO of Diageo and many more, however not even Indians know how many children are lost to the brutality of “Choice”/ abortion, a woman’s weapon to freedom and empowerment. Indians are lost in the pursuit of ever ending materialism. Not only the Indians abroad but also Indians in India. St. John Paul II clearly cautioned people against consumerism which can destroy one’s soul in the never ending pursuit of materials which is evident with respect to Indians.
Will it be possible to get hold on to values and virtues rather than chattel and capital? The millennials are very much broad minded to have higher pursuits other than the monotony that controlled the Gen-X however it’s important to keep in mind that higher pursuits doesn’t necessarily mean selling off everything to go on an unplanned journey or trying new age spirituality. Higher pursuit simply means what can one do for one’s neighbor, and the neighbor could be any person who is suffering directly in front of you. And if such a highly educated, technocrat generation cannot defend the most tiny, innocent, defenseless human being- the baby in womb, then there can be no end to any sort of violence in the world unfortunately. If the dignity of a human being cannot be recognized in the child inside the pregnant mother, it cannot be recognized in the poor, the disabled, the depressed, the addict, the broken and bruised of every nature. Just like they kill the defenseless: the unborn, the terminally ill, the aged, those with down syndrome and autism they will begin exterminating the wounded soldiers, the physically challenged, the mentally challenged and slowly to anyone who will not fit into their criteria.
If people say it’s not ok to kill in the name of religion and nation and advocate for a women’s choice- abortion then they’re undoubtedly hypocrite, if people say it’s not ok to hurt puppies and become vegans yet go blind to the massacre of the 50 million babies then they’re hypocrite, If people say it’s not ok to hurt women and yet do not think about the forceps pulling the bones and tearing the tissues apart is not violence then they’re hypocrite, if people say it’s not ok to hurt children and shrug about abortion they’re nothing but definitely hypocrites. As Bl. Mother Teresa said :
If Abortion isn’t wrong, then nothing is wrong.
And hope this humble effort of blogging, facebooking, counseling, talking one on one to friends and family about life and dignity will cause a ripple in the massive Indian community who will be, and should be moved to defend the Sanctity of Human Life. As Servant of God Dorothy Day says : we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.
I spotted her as she walks by from a distance, to approach her and to talk about being in this insanely dangerous place. She looks hesitant and rigid. That’s one common body language many women who come down to this place exhibit. I should confess I was rigid myself for some reason. However my complete focus was on getting the information into her hands which might be the last chance for baby jonathan to survive. As she gets close, I understand the reason behind her rigidity and uneasy walk. She has a laminaria inserted and is on her second day of her abortion appointment. So Jonathan must be in second trimester. I gave her the pamphlet and asked her if she had thought about other options. Her response not only did blow me away but it left me speechless. She answered :
“What do you mean? other than killing my child?”
Women very well know it’s a child and it’s their child but, how did we get to the point of having a casual talk about the death of a person? As we talk standing on the road what’s happening inside of her is of incredible importance. The baby jonathan (whom I named out of anguish to give acknowledgement and as a witness for his presence on earth) is soaked in poisonous solution probably gasping for breath for hours. Here’s how Jonathan died after I felt hopeless and shameful to convince the mother of the decision she was about to make.
I still remember the huge belly, the mother’s eyes, her ignorance mind blowing, very young probably in early twenties and her haunting statement “What do you mean? other than killing my child?”This happened 5 months ago and I never wanted to rewind the memory of the day to register the event in my blog out of the anger, pain and anguish arising out of the injustice happening in a massive scale. But I have to tell the world about Jonathan, his martyrdom, that he was killed so his mother may live. Jonathan was never given a chance, he was treated like a trash, like filth to be disposed and not interrupt the mother’s life from whatever she was up to.
But Jonathan died in my presence experiencing my love, witnessing my immature fight to save his life, seeing the anguish and longing for him which he never got to get from his own mother, leaving his imprints in my memory and probably even praying for me in heaven watching over me and his own mother. This is the reason I do what I do and am not afraid of doing it. I never experienced labor but I realized that doesn’t make one a mother. I am Jonathan’s Mother. I fought for him, I wished he was alive, I wanted to see him live and love. I am his Mother who gave him the identity and love that his biological mother refused to give.
What happened to Womanhood? Where’s Motherhood? Will someone talk about this crisis of Motherhood? Women are made alien to the idea of Motherhood to the point of killing their own children, robbing the inherent God given identity of Motherhood. The Crisis is not pregnancy, the real crisis is Motherhood!
The one thing that fulfills Womanhood, i.e, Womanliness in a Woman is Motherhood! – Swami Vivekananda
“Stefania. We are at war. You are a soldier now. A soldier must be tough or she cannot fight.” says Irena to her team member who happens to accompany her for the first time into a jewish ghetto in German occupied Poland.
If you ask for Google’s help to know the list of Pro-Life movies what often pops up are Silent Scream, October Baby, Gimme Shelter, Life is Beautiful, juno, Bella, Where hope grows, Apocalypto, It’s a girl, Maafa 21, A distant thunder, the Drop box and some short films like : Volition, Crescendo, 40 and Thine Eyes . After going through about 20 websites of such list I came to a conclusion that none had mentioned about a powerful story. A real life account of how a catholic social worker saved the life of 2500 jewish children from the Ghetto.
When faced with the institutionalized injustice committed to the 400,000 jews during her time in Warsaw, Poland, just like the extermination of 58 million(+) babies in America, Irena felt an unavoidable and even more compelling need to do something. What could she do? She is not a german, she is not even ‘He’ as that can be advantageous sometimes, she is not in a politically powerful position, neither financially. However as Bl.Mother Teresa of Calcutta said :
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
Irena smuggled a jewish child out of Ghetto, securely placing the child in the care of a polish family who agreed to take the little one as one of their own, risking torture and capital punishment in concentration camps.
Was this a one time endeavour? certainly no. It was ‘one child at a time’ effort. Irena along with a small group of 20 other secret messengers would smuggle babies in wooden boxes after the mothers fed them well enough for them not to cry. The children would be smuggled in ambulance, through manhole, and in packages using several tricks and teenagers through special routes after obtaining a polish identity through fake names and who can be abruptly stopped and asked to make a ‘sign of the Cross’ or recite ‘Our Father’. This activity involved several people working undercover with hidden identities, inside as well as outside the Ghetto. Yet again another example for the verse: “Perfect love casts out fear” !
Her mother thought it was going to end with this one child. However she faced the truth that it was just the beginning of the single, daring, organized, undercover effort of a young polish catholic social worker who end up saving 2500 jewish children. That’s more than a generation saved. Almost like a village. A whole community.
While I wouldn’t narrate the entire plot here however i’ll have to highlight the striking resemblance of the institutionalized crime and a person’s daring response to it which is imperative for present time. Irena could’ve very well gone with the majority of her times, she could’ve left with offering her sympathies or she could’ve felt satisfied with what she was able to do under given circumstances that the Poles themselves were next target to jews, or else she could’ve funded the existing organizations or she could’ve reasoned that it’s impossible to try and change things. But as Blaise says “Love has reasons which reason cannot understand” and which N.T Wright puts more clearly “Logic cannot comprehend love, so much the worse for logic”, she proves logic is incompetent. She felt what ‘she’ as a person did was insufficient.
Logic is inadequate in matters of love which does daring things as giving one’s life, which does crazy things like risking torture or even death on a Cross. Logic is inadequate to explain why one frequents abortion clinic in a hope to be an instrument in saving lives, Logic is inadequate to explain why ‘Miss. N’ approaches one woman after another irrespective of being turned down, mocked and scoffed, Logic is inadequate to explain why ‘Mrs. M’ would finish up the chores, send the children to school, rush to the clinic to try and reach out to women entering the abortion clinic, Logic is inadequate to explain why a Professor of clinical psychology from Columbia University would give up everything to answer God’s call to head the congregation that vows to defend the Sanctity of human life and serve pregnant women who are victims themselves as much as the child inside them.
If one could explain the serious role of people at sidewalk in front of abortion clinics, then this is it. This movie sums up the role of a Sidewalk Counselor who has to fight against the invisible and the visible, who has to fight against the popular culture, against the majority, against the political power, against curse, ridicule and middle fingers, against one’s own discouragement, discomfort, weakness and limitations in order to save lives. The world needs daring women like Irena and soldiers like Stefania, to fight until what may come, for the sanctity of Life.
Will there be recognition? Will there be appreciation? Let me tell you this : A warrior is chosen to fight, his/her honor is in ‘the call’ itself. Nothing is required much more than this. It’s the same with the Sidewalk Counselor. We are called to fight. The ‘call’ to fight is an honor by itself. “Life, especially Human Life belongs to God, whoever attacks Human Life attacks God’s own self” – Pope St. John Paul II and on this account, everyone at the sidewalk, working and praying to protect and defend can be rightfully called as warriors of God. We fight for God himself, whose image and likeness is imprinted in every human person. We fight for God himself whose spark is borne by every vulnerable unborn child and mother, we fight for the Almighty who in his abundance shares the gift of life with us but whose gifts are thrown away and dishonored. We are soldiers, God’s own warriors!
Irena Sendler’s work was recognized after 60 years. Pope St.John Paul II sent her a letter appreciating her wartime selfless efforts. The Polish Government awarded her with “The Order of White Eagles” the highest civilian award, the Yad Vashem recognized her as one of the righteous among the nations and a tree was planted in her honor in the Avenue of the Righteoussince she was not allowed to enter Jerusalem by her own polish government. However her response to the recognition gives us a direct answer : “Heroes do extraordinary things, what I did was not an extraordinary thing. It was normal. Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this earth, and not a title to glory.”
For those interested, here’s the link below to the movie The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler also the documentary about her: Life in a Jar can be found here .
It is unlikely to find a person who can talk about Hume and get excited about computer programming, who has a strong pro-choice stance and ends up with seven children even to homeschool one of them, a presbyterian preacher becoming a CCD teacher, one who shares recipes as well as undertakes political campaigning, a registered Democrat who then turns out to be a social conservative, diagnosed with cancer and goes on skiing, lectures at Cambridge as well as attends the Opus Dei meetings and most of all while facing death, selects a future wife for her husband. You seem to think that’s all the colors in the rainbow right? Well St.John Paul II once said “Discovering Christ, always again and always more fully, is the most wonderful adventure of our life.” The Odyssey of Ruth Pakaluk is a tale of one such adventure.
While many can easily get lost in the idea of attributing sainthood to mysticism it’s rather hard to accept the contrary view of St.JoseMaria Escriva that “Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find him.” Ruth’s account is a sound testimony to this truth. Because, not many can see that while baking and making bed, by cooking and cleaning, by writing letters and doing laundry, by lecturing and volunteering, by debating and campaigning, by giving birth and accepting cancer she has indeed been on a very special journey.
Let me try to give a portrait of her that will widen the horizon of doing extraordinary in ordinary. For certain people she’s just a wife who struggles with housekeeping and a mother whose one child is already in heaven due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and a Harvard graduate, for others she’s someone who reads The End of the Affair as well as Gaudium et Spes, discuss NATO or criticize America’s foreign policy and for certain others like Planned Parenthood she’s intellectually dangerous and should be avoided in public and has strong feelings about Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision on the infamous Planned Parenthood vs Casey, for a handful of them she’s someone who knows what she speaks so don’t mess with Church dogmas and ex-cathedra because the next immediate thing will be a letter to the Bishop of your diocese, for many others she’s the head of diocesan Respect-Life office, who heads Youth group, sings in choir, CCD teacher and Director of Religious Education, for some of them she’s the President of MCFL (Massachusetts Citizens for Life) who reforms the structure of the organization and gets people involved in politics for a more concrete way to reverse Roe vs Wade, for others she’s a speaker making presentations and handling debates at MIT, Harvard, Columbia… and for some she’s someone who heads to March for Life while taking doxorubicin with a white blood cell count of 1.82 while an average human should have a reading of 8. You name it, she’s got it. Isn’t this what we call ‘an incredible life’? and not to forget that all of this in just 41 years.
Edith Stein notes that “A woman’s destiny stems from eternity. She must be mindful of eternity to define her vocation in this world”. There can be no more perfect explanation for the vocation of women that has to be restored to its former glory in this critical time of 1,357,630,770 abortions (still increasing with every second) and Ruth’s life and work is an epitome of this vocation.
How much fear has creeped into the world. The fear of losing one’s life, the fear of losing one’s career, the fear of not having an identity, the fear of being unimportant, the fear of being unaccepted, the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of being unappreciated, the fear of being used, the fear of being weak, the fear of being forgotten, the fear of being ridiculed, the fear of subordination, fear of losing oneself, the fear of being last…It makes perfect sense to say that it is the ‘fear’ which has lead to divorce, abortion, drugs, euthanasia, armed violence, suicide and what not. It says “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear”– 1 John:4:18 how fitting!
It does take real courage to be a ‘woman’ and an extra dose of audacity to be a ‘loving woman’. A woman who is not scared of doing dishes and fixing dinner, a woman who is not scared of having no time to fix her makeup, a woman who is not scared of being a stay-at-home mom and waiting on her husband, a woman who is not scared of subordination, a woman who is not scared of losing herself in serving others, a woman who is not scared of her vulnerability. Because it is in this vulnerability will she discover the Christ crucified. It is this magnitude of powerlessness and vulnerability felt at the peak of giving oneself completely to death that saved the world.
This generation needs daring women. Women who can influence culture by their bold choices, women who are unafraid of giving and sharing, women who are fearless about sacrificing, women who are uncompromising of love, and women who have the nerve to overturn Roe vs Wade. This century needs daredevil women who will say ‘yes’ to life.
Women like Ruth Pakaluk who knew that ‘life’ when understood in terms of “a calling” has a truly different significance. By imitating the ‘yes’ of the Mother of God every woman’s ‘yes’ to life has the redemptive power to bring Christ into every situation to heal the wounded world of its fear.
Do not be afraid!
when Love makes demands,
when love requires sacrifices !
– Pope St.John Paul II
Ruth Pakaluk died when she was 41 years old, of metastasis breast cancer. Her life can be best known from the first hand account of the letters, speeches and her husband Michael Pakaluk’s testimony in The Appaling Strangeness of God’s Mercy. Her cause for canonization is open. Pray for Us Ruth Pakaluk !