Monday, October 29, 2007

Sister Christians' overtime* November 17

Since returning from my talk at the cathedral in Worcester (video of which should be on YouTube soon), I have not been able to blog as much as I would like because I have been very busy with work at my full-time job as director of the Love and Responsibility program for the Cardinal Newman Society. One of the initiatives on which I am currently working is the upcoming Sisters of Life Co-Worker training at Seton Hall University, which will be the first ever to take place on a college campus, co-sponsored by Seton Hall's Campus Ministry.

On my agenda at work today is to write a press release for the training, but in the meantime, since you're kind enough to spend some of your online time at this blog, below is an excerpt from the letter I wrote inviting Campus Ministry to co-sponsor the training. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 17, and is open to all interested Catholic college students, regardless of whether they attend a Catholic institution. The free admission includes lunch. Seton Hall is easily accessible by train from New York City and northern New Jersey. If you are interested in attending and would like further information, please write me, dawneden -at- (replacing the "-at-" with an atsign). Please include your name and your e-mail address at college (the address of yours that ends with ".edu").

From my letter pitching Campus Ministry on the training:

I am the director of the Cardinal Newman Society's Love and Responsibility program. Our goal is to give Catholic college students a personal understanding of the Church's teachings on chastity and the culture oflife, by creating initiatives that will engage them proactively.

Having volunteered for the Sisters of Life when I lived in the New York area, I have witnessed the Sisters' unique charism for helping pregnant women. (You can read background on the order at Spending time with them, one can see why theirs is among the fastest-growing orders; they exude the joy of Christ's love.

Essential to the Sisters' ministry is their network of volunteers, known as Co-Workers. Co-Workers are trained to show pregnant women the heart of Christ through listening to them and being present for them in a compassionate way that will help get out of crisis mode.

There are several ways that the Sisters' Co-Worker program is different from other types of pro-life initiatives that aid pregnant women on or near college campuses:

1. The Co-Workers' goal is to give aid, not arguments.

Following the Sisters' charism, Co-Workers do not engage in pro-life vs. pro-choice debate with the women whom they help. Their focus is not to make abortion unattractive, but rather to encourage pregnant women to connect with their innate desire to bear their children. Through the compassion they offer, Co-Workers help pregnant women see that a choice for life is really a choice for God's blessing in their own lives.

2. The Co-Workers are not social workers.

As a point of contact between pregnant women and the Sisters of Life, Co-Workers are able to connect pregnant women with those who can help them get shelter and other practical aid, but that is not their primary mission. They are there to give love, friendship, a listening ear, and prayer.

3. The Sisters of Life's approach is geared towards helping women get the help they need to not only have their children, but to raise them as well.

I mention this because it touches on the heart of the Sisters' ministry. The Sisters are concerned with the lives of entire families, not just the babies themselves. While they have aided women who opted for adoption, the vast majority of the women whom they have helped have chosen to raise their children.

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*That's the lyric I always thought Night Ranger was singing.