Hello, everyone! My name is Jen McDevitt and I will be posting to our 40 Days for Life blog on Fridays during this Fall 2017 campaign.
Growing up as the oldest of four children in a faith-filled family, many of my early memories are of waiting for or welcoming a new sibling into our world. I honestly don’t remember when I learned about abortion but I do remember being horrified by it. The fact that I was born in 1973, the year Roe v. Wade opened the door to abortion on demand, further haunted me.
I was open about my pro-life views as a teen and young adult. One summer, home from college on break, I accidentally found out that a good friend of mine had had an abortion while away at school that year. She eventually told me the full and heartbreaking story. She confessed that she had hidden the pregnancy from me because she knew my pro-life convictions but was convinced that abortion was her only escape from an awful situation. I was absolutely devastated. It reinforced my stance on abortion to learn from her what happens to the mother as well as the baby, but I was so conflicted. I knew I should be involved in the fight to end abortion but now felt like I should do it quietly so that no one would ever be afraid to approach me again.
Some years later, I heard about a new effort spreading across the country. Called “40 Days for Life,” it was all about putting this enormous and overwhelming fight for the sanctity of life into God’s hands. I was so excited and relieved to learn that the whole 40 Days for Life movement is based on humility and forgiveness–the perfect balance of standing with the mothers while standing up for the babies.
So as 40 Days for Life has grown in Pittsburgh and around the world, I have been privileged to be involved. The kind, selfless people I’ve met while managing the vigil on Sunday mornings have blessed my life in so many ways. When Nikki asked me to write for the blog this campaign, I was intimidated–the current bloggers do such a good job of informing and inspiring, and I doubt that I’ll be on their level. But Nikki herself has said “yes” to God countless times in her leadership of our efforts, and Sue David is now stepping out in faith to fill her holy shoes, so I couldn’t refuse. Just one more reason that the TRUST theme for this campaign is so fitting!
THANK YOU to all who are putting TRUST in God during this campaign and saying “yes” to Him, working to end abortion with His message of love and forgiveness. See below for stories and pictures from today’s vigil…more will be added as reports come in!
7-9 AM: Barbara and Richard
Downtown at Liberty and 7th was cool and light at 7 AM. People were cheerful and nodded and indicated “Hi.”
When we approached PP, I noticed that the lights were on in their two upper floors. Today is an abortion day and mothers will walk in and their baby will be torn out and the mother will walk out and leave her baby behind in the trash. Sometimes I just have to say this out loud. This is a terrible poverty to be endured by mothers and fathers. The abortion did not make them unpregnant. No one looking at them as they come and go would notice the difference between their coming, then going. This horror is invisible. They try with all their might to suffer invisibly. May God grant them repentance and make them whole.
Marian and Diane set the stage for our Friday presence. Bill, Rose, Al and Sally joined Richard and me.
During our first hour, two different men in their twenties, each walking alone, stopped to talk. One mentioned that he was a war veteran down on his luck. We talked about the food and shelter opportunities in downtown. The next young man wondered if we could spare a cigarette. Neither Sally nor I smoke.
Each man, separately, agreed to join us in an “Our Father.” It often amazes me how many people know this prayer. There is an evangelizing presence in Pittsburgh that endures!
Young families passed with children going to day care and Mom and Dad to work.
God is generous. He makes all things new!
11 AM-1 PM: Marie
These are the people from St Mary’s today. We got many positive comments. One man was very sad his girlfriend aborted his baby 17 years ago.
1-3 PM: Hank & Judy
It was a wonderful day! A group from Cultural Impact Ministry was there to pray and witness for life. The group included Jim, Judy, Donna, Vic and Donna and Bill. Ginny from St. Bernard was also there with Judy and myself. We greeted many of those passing by and were in turn generally greeted warmly. We were able to distribute much literature especially the Precious One card which most people accepted when it was offered. We had a long conversation with a lovely young woman who is a student at Point Park and hopefully by God’s grace she will accept the reality of life in the womb.
3-5 PM: Lisa
These lovely young people joined me at today’s vigil. Their smiles and love for the Lord and all human life was so evident! Thank you for your witness to the beauty of life!!
Also we were joined by the faithful Culture Impact Ministry who manned the vigil beginning at 1 PM and stayed until 4:30 PM. Thank you!
In our family, we love rainbows since they are a constant reminder that God keeps His promises, and the Father can be trusted in all His ways. We were talking on the way home that we may have missed one at our home. But we decided one of our “rainbows” today was Benton who came by himself by bus as a 16 year old. He was our hero!!!
5-7 PM: Pat
Tonight was reasonably quiet. I was pleased that three of my fellow parishioners from St. Regis in Trafford joined me: Frank, Nancy, and Mark. While Nancy was a veteran, both Frank and Mark were first-timers. We alternated with praying (the Rosary for Life and the Divine Mercy Chaplet) with conversation. The rain did dampen things a bit, however.