Day 15…Thanks to St. Louise de Marillac (Upper St. Clair), Elk County Right to Life (St. Mary’s PA) and our dedicated volunteers and shift managers/buddies!

The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. Go. Behold, I send you forth as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Luke 10:2-4

I remember the first time I met Sally Brunn. It was 2009. I was a fairly new Christian, having been baptized and given my life to the Lord in 2005. God had recently broken my heart after hearing a sermon about abortion. My eyes were opened to the horror, but I didn’t know what to do about it. When I finally got up my courage to go to Planned Parenthood for the first time, I only was able to do so because someone had told me that I wouldn’t be alone. I was told that there were three people who went every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 till 11 am. They did this every week, 52 weeks a year!!! So, knowing that someone else would be there, I nervously drove to Pittsburgh. Bob Newman was there with his big signs, along with Sally & Al. I was in my 40’s at that time and they were probably close to 80. I thought they were very old, and was amazed at their dedication to stand in front of Planned Parenthood for so many hours!

When Sally told me that she had 11 kids, I couldn’t believe it! I think I said something dumb like, “I didn’t know it was possible to have 11 kids and still be able to walk!” But there she was…spry, agile and full of energy! Later, talking to Bob Newman, he told me that he also had 11 kids!!! WHAT??? I soon met another saintly pro-lifer named Mary Catherine who ALSO had 11 kids!!! What kind of world was I entering into? In my entire life, I had never met anyone who had more than 4 or 5 kids!

As I began to witness in front of Planned Parenthood weekly, I learned many things from Sally. For instance, I had never heard anything as strange as when she and Al explained that birth control is the cause of abortion! How could that be? Birth control PREVENTED abortion…right? Oh, what an education I was in for…it was to change my life. They never preached to me, but the example of their lives and their commitment to God and to ending abortion spoke louder than any words ever could have.

Growing up in the 1970’s, during the hey-day of “women’s lib“…I was taught by the culture that if a woman didn’t stand up for her rights in a marriage, that she would be like a doormat and that her husband would walk all over her. I believed that if a marriage didn’t make you happy, that you could just leave. A child was better off in a single parent house, then in a house with parents who fought. Of course, that sort of thinking led me to enter very lightly into two marriages, both of which ended quickly. By the time I was 30, I already had two kids with two different last names. Oh, I was liberated all right! It was working out very well for me…NOT!!!

So, when I met Sally and began to see the way in which she quietly and lovingly stood by Al…always supportive of him…my eyes began to be opened. I also saw the way he looked at her, with such love and tenderness. He would always introduce her as “my lovely bride“…and she would smile her huge Sally-Smile. I remember her telling me that on their wedding night, they both knelt down beside their bed in prayer, and gave their marriage to God. God honored that prayer and blessed their marriage with 11 healthy and wonderful children! I remember feeling slightly jealous that I had been robbed of an example like that…and so had virtually NO chance at a marriage and family like theirs. When I grew up, if you were a virgin at 16, it was something to be ashamed of. The thought of actually WAITING till marriage was unheard of!

One story I remember clearly, is Al telling me that he never really appreciated how much Sally did all day, taking care of the kids…until one day when he came home from work to find her on her hands and knees, underneath the kitchen table. He asked her incredulously, “Sally, what are you doing under there?” She answered matter-of-factly that the kids would get food from their sticky hands all over the bottom of the table, so she had to clean it. He got a glimpse of how hard she worked to keep their home, and of all the little things that went into raising a family, that he never even knew about. As he told me this story, he was radiating with love and respect for her!

I never saw one without the other. In fact, instead of calling them “Al and Sally”..it would often come out as “Sal and Ally”! They were a team. They were ONE! They worked side by side…for 30 years raising their family, and for another 30 years on the front lines of the battle to end abortion. They were truly the biggest inspiration and best example of Christian marriage that I have ever seen…and I am forever grateful for the impact that knowing them made in my life. Without them, I don’t think we would have the vibrant pro-life family that we have here in Pittsburgh. Without them, I don’t think I would have the strong faith that I have now. It was Sally who gave me my first rosary, and it was she who was my sponsor as I entered the Catholic Church in 2013.

For many years, they felt the weight and the burden of being there on the sidewalk…knowing that if they didn’t go, the sidewalk would be empty. In fact, until about a year ago, they were still taking the bus to Planned Parenthood, two days a week. Sally would slowly cross Liberty Avenue, using her walker, with Al on her elbow. However, when Al had his stroke a year ago, they were no longer able to come to the sidewalk regularly.

All those years they prayed for God to send more workers for the abundant harvest…and He has done just that, through 40 Days for Life!

I imagine that they are relieved to know that there are now many of us who are picking up where they left off. They can now rest easy…knowing that the sidewalk is covered with prayer. Those babies are not dying alone and forgotten.

Please pray for Sally and Al, as Sally had a major stroke last Wednesday. She seems to be at peace…is sometimes responsive and is surrounded by her loving family. One benefit of having 11 kids…you never have to worry about being alone at the end of life!!! She is anointed and blessed…her bags are packed…and she is waiting for Heaven! Or should I say, Heaven is waiting for her!

Thank you Lord, for Sally, and for her life’s example. I will spend however many more years you grant me, trying to be half the woman that she was.

We love you Sally, and we devote these 40 days in honor of you!

Today’s reports from the vigil…

Peggy was the manager from 7-9 am:

There was a nice turnout from St. Louise. It was very quiet. Only one person went in while we were there. There was a sign in the window of the gay bar advertising their opposition sing-along.

Peg
Faithful men from St. Louise de Marillac parish
So…they want to raise money to pay for other’s abortions…can anyone say BLOOD MONEY?

Cathy and Elsie were in charge from 9-11 am:

We had a very quiet morning, but with lots of prayer-ers!  St Louise de Marillac- Sherri, Cindy, Debbie, Diane, plus a couple for awhile from the early shift, Elk Co. RTL – Laura, Janet, Kelly, Gretchen and Mary Beth, plus some individuals – Bill L., Priscilla, and Debbie.  I hope I got everyone.  So thankful for all of you!
 

Cathy

Hank and Judy managed the sidewalk from 11 am – 1 pm:

Another beautiful Oct day in the Burg….Lord how we look forward to the day when we can be outdoors enjoying the sunshine with abortion and PP done away with.  But our colors are true and we’ll stay the course and persevere in prayer until this scourge is ended.  Many prayer warriors as has been the case the past two 11-1 Wed shifts.  When I arrived I was greeted by the Rocco family form Elizabeth Anne Seton, there was also a strong contingent throughout the morning from St.Louise deMarillac.  Those from SLD joining the 11-1 shift were Mary, Patti and Denise.  Elk County Right to Life had a group scheduled for 10-2 that included Kelly, Lori, Janet, Gretchen and Mary Bea.  Mary from St.Monica was there when I arrived and when I left, and Jerry and Barb form Our Lady of Fatima arrived around noon.  Debbie from Epiphany has been there all 3 Weds for part of the shift.  Wed is not an abortion day and traffic in and out of PP was light, although, probably more than usual.  We prayed multiple rosaries, and the the Divine Mercy.  We did distributed a good bit of literature and had 10 or 12 individuals who gave us positive comments, but I’m still amazed at the number who simply ignore us or seem totally indifferent.  We are warned “If you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth”  In this month of Our Lady, we ask Our Lady of Victory to intercede for us for the victory over a culture of death.

Mary, Denise and Patti from St. Louise de Marillac parish
St. Louise ladies for life!
Debbie from Epiphany
Kelly, Lori and Janet, dedicated prayer warriors from Elk County
Mary from St. Monica
Jerry and Barb from Our Lady of Fatima, and Denise from St. Louise
Gretchen and Mary from Elk County Right to Life

Rege and John were there from 1-3 pm:

Quiet afternoon. Peaceful and prayerful witness given. Love of our Lord evident and shared.

Rege
John, Barb and Barb

Jeannie and Virginia from 3-5 pm:

What a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk! I was joined by my shift buddy Virginia and my dear friend Marilyn. Mimi made an appearance and took over the sidewalk for her rendition of the rosary. David joined us halfway through the shift as well. We had lots of supportive. conversations today.  A gentleman stopped who was giving support to a homeless person and learned she was pregnant. He came to us knowing we would know where to direct her. Another man came and stopped by because he recognized Mimi from church. He said a few hail Mary’s with us!  The woman who stopped and applauded us in the wheelchair last week came over with her granddaughter on her lap in the wheelchair she asked if we could use some additional volunteers. She takes care of her granddaughter and drops her off and picks her up a couple days a week. she said she will stop and pray with us. How good is God? That good. We had a ton of daisies from my garden so we gave a lot out to little ones and a particular young girl was really fascinated by that precious one baby we gave her. All in all a beautiful two hours on the sidewalk. 

Jeannie
David, Marilyn and Virginia praying the pro life intentions

Joe K and David from 5-7 pm:

What a stunning Indigenous Peoples Summer Evening…
 
I was blessed to be joined by my volunteer shift buddies – David and Thao. We soaked up the sun, shared, and prayed what a peaceful, easy feeling!
 
Pretty quiet on the sidewalk – a few positive comments and appreciation for us being out there. In particular, one gentleman struggling physically to get up with street with assistance thanked us and said we could use more folks out there.  In comparison, another gentleman in a wheelchair stopped by to talk to us about the vigil, but he seemed a little hardened…  What was beautiful was how it was a total team effort by David, Thao, and I to respond to witness to this young man’s questions / issues…  Hopefully he will hear and see the truth that was laid out for him…
 
The evening seemed like it ended quickly as faithful Tom came by to pack-up the vigil for Thursday…

Joe K.

Day 8…Thank you St. Bernard of Clairvaux Knights of Columbus, St. Paul Cathedral, Guardians for Life, and many individuals!

“Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Whoever, therefore, humbles himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such little child for My sake, receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matt. 18: 1-6

See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven always behold the face of My Father in heaven.”

Matt. 18:10

I will never forget the very first time I gathered up my courage to come to Planned Parenthood to witness and pray. It was probably the most frightening thing I had ever done in my life up to that point. I wrote about that experience in “My Story”, posted HERE, if you are interested in reading it.

What surprised me the most was that the “witnessing” part did not make me feel nearly as uncomfortable as the PRAYING part did! In fact, standing there, holding a sign, was kind of “emboldening” to me…it gave me a sense that I was finally DOING SOMETHING…you know…standing up for what I believed in! That part was good! But, the first time I closed my eyes to pray…while standing on that sidewalk, I immediately began to feel self-conscious! I was not expecting to feel embarrassed to pray in public because at the time I belonged to an awesome Assembly of God church, that had an amazingly talented worship band.

Every Sunday, with my hands raised high, my eyes squeezed closed…sometimes with tears streaming…I PRAYED IN PUBLIC! So, why was I suddenly ashamed to pray in public in front of Planned Parenthood?

As I reflected on today’s Gospel reading, quoted above, I tried to meditate on what the traits are that little children have, that Jesus asks us to imitate. Of course, I thought of child-like traits such as: innocence, purity, humility, obedience and trust. And I know that God wants us all to strive to grow in these virtues. But as I thought about it, another, less obvious trait came to my mind. How about the trait of “lacking in self-consciousness”? You know what I mean, don’t you? I’m thinking of my little one-year old grand babies. If I even mention “The Wiggles” or “Baby Shark” to my grandson, his chubby little legs start pumping! he loves to dance and I can tell that he already has music in his soul! He will dance anywhere, no matter who is watching! I love to dance also…but I am too embarrassed to do it, say in the grocery store. If a song that I enjoy begins to play while I am shopping, I have to restrain myself from bopping down the aisle…because I am self-conscious of what others may think. I don’t want to embarrass myself by dancing in public…which is a good thing! I am not advocating for dancing in the grocery store, unless you are under the age of seven.

But, I DO think that when we feel self-conscious or embarrassed about praying in public, on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood, that we need to think of being childlike in our innocence of what others may think of us.

Childlike trust and innocence is what God asks of us!

I guess when I think about it, the reason that I could pray so boldly “in public” while at church, was because I was in a large group of fellow believers who were doing the same thing. But when I got to the sidewalk for the first time, I was the only one praying among a crowd of busy people going about their lives…and I felt like I was totally out of place.

Lord, please help me to be like a child in my trust and love for you, and in my innocent lack of self-consciousness when it comes to giving you honor and glory in public!

Before I go on to today’s shift reports…I wanted to share a couple photos from a baby shower for a young girl who chose life, which Fran and I attended two weeks ago:

Angel sits among mountains of gifts donated by our loving 40 Days for Life team, including a hand-made baby blanket!
Angel’s mom was overcome with emotion when she saw the gifts of cash and gift cards that were donated by our team!

Angel’s mom gave me permission to share these photos. You may remember her story from a blog post last spring. They had come to Planned Parenthood for an abortion, allowed us to talk to them about all the help that was available. Her aunt eventually told us that she had prayed that morning, asking God to send her a sign if they weren’t supposed to do this. She told us that she believed that WE WERE THAT SIGN! We were blessed to take them to Women’s Choice Network in the north side, where we got to go into the ultrasound room and saw her 15 week baby girl moving around on the ultrasound screen! When Angel saw her baby, she courageously chose life for her daughter. Thanks to the generosity of many members of our team, she has been given a good start and has been provided with all the items she needs to welcome this little girl into the world later this month! Thanks to everyone who donated to help her, and thanks to all of you for stepping outside of your comfort zone to be a sign of God’s love and mercy on the sidewalk!

One last thing…before today’s reports from the sidewalk…if you are Catholic and you haven’t yet signed up for an hour of adoration at St. Stanislaus for the 7-day, 24-hour prayer vigil…they are BEGGING for help! Many hours still are not filled! Go HERE to sign up for as many hours as you can! I know that God will send much grace to our city by this prayer vigil of love!

Now…on to the shift reports from today!

Peggy & Carissa, 7-9 am

Off-duty shift manager Charlene joins Shift manager Peg and shift buddy Carissa for the 7-9 shift this morning!
Mark stops by to pray

Cathy & Fran, 9-11 am

It was a pretty quiet morning as far as clients, only a couple or so going in plus some workers.  A couple who were stranded here trying to get back to NY were in need of some breakfast.  They had been to CC, as suggested by the first shift, but were not able to get anything there and did not know where else to try.  She is 6mos pregnant.  I gave them 2 Subway cards.  They later came back to thank us. They have an appointment with Traveler’s Aid.  Those with Fran and me were Beverly, Priscilla, Bill H, Bill, the evangelist, and Debbie.  Also St Bernard KoC and the Guardians for Life, from 10 or 11 on.

Cathy, 9-11
The Guardians for Life and Knights of Columbus filled the sidewalk with peaceful prayer
Bill and Bev answered the call to stand with Fran and Cathy!

Hank & Judy, 11 am – 1 pm

WOW!!! What a time on the street!   The Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels and 21 Guardians for Life praying for the end of abortion.  Wondering how many angels were present with us besides our own personal guarding angel.  Is it possible that the guarding angels of all those who lost their life at this abortion mill were there with us?  The Guardians for Life most from St. Bernard in Indiana PA included Irene, Rudy, Joe, Lisa, Brian, Tom, Dan, Dave, Bob, Dennis, Ray, Bill, Sr.James Ann, Tom, Theresa, Cheynne, Elsie, Michele, Keith, and Beverly.  Fran from St Joseph Verona and Debbie Ephiphany  Raudolph St Louise also joined us.  Prayer was a constant..rosary, Staions of the Cross, Divine Mercy, litany of the Blessed Mother and joyful noise to the Lord which was called singing!  No abortions today…little PP traffic but lots of people passing by.  Some nasty looks, but again many ” thanks, God bless you, I’m with you  Some good encounters.  Judy spoke with two women and hopefully their heart was opened to allow the grace of God to enter in.   We pray with St.Bernard of Clairvaux in giving thanks that “heaven denies us nothing that assists us, these celestial spirits (Holy Guardian Angels) have been placed at our sides to protect us, instruct us, and to guide us”.
To God be glory for ever and ever!!  Amen

Hank, 11-1
Shift manager Judy
Two faithful Knights of Columbus from Indiana PA
Fran with Debbie from Epiphany
St. Bernard of Clairvaux, K of C and Guardians for Life filled the sidewalk with prayer today!
Fr. Tim with the Guardians for Life
Judy, engaging a young woman in discussion of the issue of life in the womb
More Guardians…

Chris & John 1-3 pm

The nice warm weather continued today.  God is turning the heat up on PP.  I was joined by Joan, John, Carole, Louise, and Jerry.  We prayed several Rosaries, the Sorrowful Mysteries.  Given where we’re standing, I feel that’s the appropriate Mystery to pray. 
About halfway through my shift, Jeannie, the next shift manager, stopped by to give us daisies from her yard, both to hand out to passersby and to adorn the “half-circle” on the sidewalk.  There was very little traffic going in and out of PP, more than a few friendly comments, and two angry people shouting at us, one from across the street and one from a passing car.  On the positive side, it always makes me smile inside when I notice passersby glancing at and reading the fetal development sandwich board and looking at the fetal model display. 

Chris, 1-3
Carole, Louise and Jerry came from Kitanning to pray!

Jeannie & Virginia, 3-5 pm

I’ve ventured to the sidewalk to stay knowing I might well be by myself but I am a Catholic and today is the feast of guardian angels and they did not disappoint! John was here when I came and Marilyn and Rose came as well. And before my shift ended Pat and Celeste came to join forces. It was very active and inspiring day on the sidewalk. Many people stopped and thanked us for being there, and for the first time in a while the school kids were interested in having a little bit of a conversation.  We even had support from a person in wheelchair who stopped right in front of the door pointed to us and clapped. Astonishing! Taking a cue from my sister who did the same I put a few of our baby pictures against the Planned Parenthood outer wall with some flowers in front as you would for victims of crime. It is very very effective, as three people stopped to ask what happened to the baby. I explained that children are killed in that clinic every week and we are memorializing those lost lives. What an afternoon! No nasty comments whatsoever and tons of inklings of changing hearts and minds. The angels certainly were Watching over us!

Jeannie 3-5
Guardian Angels must have prompted John and Rose to stop by to pray during a needed time today!
Pat and Celeste joined in prayer also!

Joe K. 5-7 pm

St. Paul’s Church Grouping came strong this evening from beginning to end…

Initially, I was joined initially by Jackie and Joe from St. Paul’s, then Mary from St. Stephen’s, then Diane and Mark from St. Paul’s, and finally my brother Knight Mike from St.Patrick’s in McKeesport.  Oops, forgot that Jim from St. Maurice’s stopped by on his way home from work too…

A lot of sirens, buses, and foot traffic filled the muggy evening, but there ended up being very little interaction with passersby…  Most of the evening consisted of sharing and prayer – It was great to pray the rosary as one big group – witnessing to all the passersby…

Joe, 5-7
Mike, Mary, Mark, Jackie, Joe, and Diane

Day 1…Thanks to Fr. Tim’s Guardians for Life, and many dedicated volunteers!

“At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.”

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.

And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra 9:5-9

This morning, before my morning prayer time, I asked the Lord to help me to write this blog post quickly...as I had a late night last night, at our amazing kick-off Mass and Eucharistic procession to Planned Parenthood. Because of that, I was up till 2 am posting the photos, which you can see at http://40daysforlifepittsburgh.com/2019/09/25/oh-what-a-night/ Anyway, I didn’t have much time to write this, since today is the day I babysit my cute little twin grand babies…so I asked the Lord to help me. And He did. When I read the daily Mass readings, the one quoted above from Ezra really says it all! Thank you Ezra for writing my blog reflection for me today! Can’t you see the similarity between Ezra’s situation and ours?

What struck me the most about our procession last night was the CONTRAST between our FAITH and the bewildered UNBELIEF of those who saw us. First of all, I want to thank Pittsburgh Police, Zone 2, for their outstanding protection and assistance! They went above and beyond their duty to make sure we crossed all the roads safely! But, back to my thoughts about CONTRAST. Just look at this picture:

The line between darkness and light can’t get more CONTRASTED than this!!!

Just look at that photo. The MOST PURE, the MOST HUMBLE…contrasted with the most WICKED, the most EVIL and IMPURE place in our city. Wow. Just WOW!

It really HAS to be this way, in order for change to be affected, doesn’t it? If something needs to be destroyed, the most effective way of destroying it is with something that goes directly against it’s created purpose…something that CONTRASTS. Satan knows this. That is exactly why he loves abortion so much! He intentionally targets the most sacred love of a mother for her child by tricking her into turning the MOST SAFE PLACE on the planet (her womb)…into an execution chamber. And this she does to the person who is the MOST INNOCENT, MOST DEPENDENT, and who would love her more than anyone else. Not to digress too much, or make this post too lengthy, but there is another old testament verse that speaks about this:

Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”

Exodus 23:19

The trick of the devil to use what God created for a good and holy purpose, and twisting it into something that is opposite…a CONTRAST. This is such a terrible thing, that God even warned his people not to cook a young goat in its mother’s milk! Why? Because the PURPOSE of that milk was to nourish and sustain LIFE for the young goat…and if that milk is used to destroy the body of that same goat, it is now corrupted from its good and holy purpose.

So, last night, as I saw the CONTRAST between darkness and light in a very clear way. Standing in front of such an evil and dark place, I realized that we are taking back what the devil has stolen from us! He has tricked us into thinking impurity and immorality are no big deal. But when we stand in front of an abortion clinic where 3,000 babies die each year…we get a ring-side seat to see just where that “harmless” immorality leads. We are not going to be fooled anymore! We are going to CONTRAST all of the works of the devil, with the works of our GOD! If the world indulges in fleshly pleasures…such as overeating, drinking, laziness, selfishness, anger and pride…we will COUNTER those vices with the virtues of bodily restraint, abstinence, fasting, love, humility and self-sacrifice. This is the CONTRAST that will REPEL the enemy of our souls, and will ATTRACT his weak or lost children, back to safety and holiness.

So…here we go! I am trusting God for many miracles during these 40 days! We already witnessed a big one last night! Thanks be to God!!!

Read on for today’s shift reports:

Peg and Carissa had the first shift of the fall campaign! From the 7-9 am shift, they write:

First shift on the first day of the fall 40 Days for Life! I’m so honored to stand outside, pray and offer the hope and love of Jesus to the city of Pittsburgh and those involved with Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry with these lovely ladies!
 
To put things in perspective… The Nazis killed 6 million Jews.
The US alone has lost over 60 million babies to abortions since 1973 (Roe v. Wade). That’s 10x more than the Holocaust. And while each is an abomination, this child Holocaust is still happening every day right in our very backyard.😢💔
 
Do you believe prayer is powerful? Do you believe fasting moves mountains? Do you believe Gods heart weeps for every life lost and destroyed by abortion?
 
If you do, please consider joining us on the sidewalk over the next 40 days. If you can’t make it to the sidewalk, there are opportunities to pray and fast with us. Go to www.40daysforlifepittsburgh.com or message me! I’ll be glad to get you connected in any way!!

Carissa, Wed. 7-9am shift buddy
Veteran shift manager, Cathy (who was sick with a cold but came anyway…You are AWESOME Cathy!!!), off-duty Tuesday shift manager, Charlene, Shift manager Peg, and her buddy Carissa were the bright smiling faces that kicked off the first two hours of these 40 days this morning!
Thank you Diane and Tom for making sure our witness includes education to all passersby about the TRUTH of life in the womb! We know lives are saved because of this!
Charlene with new participant, Thao. Thank you Thao for helping us to fill needed time slots!!!

Cathy and Elsie had the 9-11am shift:

It was a fairly quiet day, with few clients going into the clinic.  Shift buddy Elsie, an Sidewalk Advocate, and Jim H. (also an SA), Priscilla, Bill L. and Debbie D. were there to pray and/or try to make contact with people.  Some people took literature, received a few “thank you” or “God bless”.  A gentleman who works down the street with one of the supporters of Mary’s House in Brookline stopped by to chat for a few minutes.  A tour group passed by.  The tour guide said, to no one in particular, “Oh, that’s an abortion clinic!”  like he had never realized it before.  I ‘m sure our presence  brought on that realization.

Cathy, 9-11

Hank and Judy were the shift managers from 11am-1pm:

It was a wonderful day to start the 40 Days for Life   The weather was beautiful temps in the low 70s and sunshine.  There was a lot of foot traffic passing PP but it was not an abortion day so not many people going into PP.  There were many prayer warriors as has been the case on most Weds from 11-1.  Fr.Tim and the Guardians for Life were there as usual and included 9 individuals (Irene, Rudy, Brian, Lisa, Joe, Tom, Dan, Terri,  and Fr), Debbie from Epiphany was there from 9-12, Elsie stayed beyond her earlier shift, John from St. Killian and Dan from Steubenville arrived at noon and Pat  dropped by for a short time.  Many passing by greeted us warmly with a thumbs-up, thanks, or God bless you.  We distributed a wealth of information (more than any in my past experiences) and Terri engaged and offered assistance to the friend of a young woman contemplating an abortion.  While the reason for our presences is heart-sickening we are blessed to be gathered with strong people of faith and of course where 2 or 3 gather in my Name, there I AM. 

Hank, 11-1
Joe and Dan, with the Knights of Columbus
Guardians for Life
Debbie from Epiphany
John from St. Killian’s
Faithful Fr. Tim, with his Guardians for Life
Dan from Steubenville, OH, was with us since noon.

Chris and John kept the vigil going from 1-3pm:

What glorious weather for the start of our campaign!  God smiled down upon us.   I arrived to the Rosary being prayed and prayers sung by Father Tim and the Guardians for Life.  I was joined by Dan, Joan, and John during my shift, with each of us praying multiple Rosaries silently.  There was light traffic in and out of PP, friendly comments and hugs from passersby and several unfriendly comments, too.  Our attempts to provide resource information cards were mostly rebuffed, but we still smiled and asked if they had a friend who needed some help. 

Joan
Wed. 1-3 shift buddy, John

Jeannie and Virginia held the fort from 3-5pm:

OK I have to admit it. This was one of those shifts that makes me very very nervous. Why? It was as Mary Poppins would say “nearly perfect in every way”.  The weather was beautiful, not to hot or too cool. Those who were for us were deeply for us.  Those who I call the “incidentals” the mailman , the UPS deliverer, the policeman  etc were agreeable and friendly.    Those who objected to us being there stopped and talked about it in a civil way, and we were able to open their hearts and minds.  We even managed to chat with one of the bar staff!!!
 
AMAZINGLY we had a woman explain that she had been raped and allowed her son to live because she felt it wasn’t his fault. We promised Christina prayers. I was joined  on the sidewalk by 2 amazing women including  the best card giver -outer ever: ,Virginia! 
 
My day was blessed, so I told Virginia get ready because all the bad stuff might be coming!!!   

Peace,

Jeannie, 3-5
John and 3-5 buddy, Virginia
John and Virginia, and those waiting for a bus.
Our wonderful Fran came on her “day off” to boost the prayer ranks today!

Joe, Jim and Audrey completed the final two hours on the first day:

back in the saddle again…  I’m back
 
First shift of the campaign, beautiful September eve…
Wonderful prayer warriors witnessing for life!
 
Greeted warmly with smiles and hugs from Shift Manager’s Jeannie and Virginia… Mostly quiet for while as Fran faithfully stayed over from the prior shift for the entirety of last shift.
 
Jim from Holy Child and Patrick from St. Mary of Mercy joined in and we shared and prayed on one side of the arc while Fran manned the other side…  It was Patrick’s first time!!!
 
Mostly positive / appreciative comments, though Jim did step-up quickly to save the fetal model display from potential harm as a woman approached it a bit aggressively…
 
Audrey joined in and before you knew it the first day came to a close as Tom & Diane (without Penney) came to pick-up the new groovy display…

Joe K. 5-7
Tonight’s prayer warriors, shift buddies Jim & Audrey, with Patrick and Fran
Nice new set-up, brought to us by Diane and Tom!

Oh, What a Night!!!

This was the most amazing way to kick off our 40 Days for Life EVER!!! Thanks SO much to Bishop Zubik for allowing Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament to be present with us in front of Planned Parenthood! And thank you to Fr. Chris Donley and Fr. Jason Charron for carrying Him through the streets of our city tonight! We are praying for many miracles in these next 40 days! To see the videos of our prayers on the sidewalk tonight, go to our 40 Days for Life Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/40daysforlifepgh/
We began with a holy Mass at Epiphany Church.
Our Eucharistic Lord processed with us through the city, from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood. The Pittsburgh police were AMAZING! They stayed with us for the entire route, to make sure everyone safely crossed all the intersections!
Leaving Epiphany Church in Uptown
Our faith was on display!
Onward Christian Soldiers!
Fr. Chris carrying Grace and Mercy through the streets of Pittsburgh, what a witness of faith to our city!
Crossing Liberty Avenue…almost there!
I was so glad we brought our Lord past this church!
I find it hard to describe the feeling I had, seeing such holiness at this place tonight. God is SO GOOD!!! Thank you Fr. Chris and Fr. Jason!!!
Continuing on around the block, to encompass the entire block with Jesus’ authority!
I love this picture! This is the kind of faith we all need to have! Like a child!
So beautiful!!!
As we processed through the narrow alley, on our way around the block, the group began a spontaneous singing of “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”, which sounded so beautiful as it resounded off the buildings!
We ended in front of Planned Parenthood for more prayer.
Megan, who coordinates our 40-day fast! I am sorry that I didn’t see you to say hi Megan!
We all have a little light…let’s let it shine for these next 40 days!!!

Bringing out the BIG GUNS…this Tuesday!!!

Our Lord Jesus Christ is SO merciful…SO good! All praise and honor and glory belong to Him!

For almost 10 years now, we have been covering the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood in prayer with the most humble, self-sacrificing, loving members of the Body of Christ in our entire Pittsburgh area! For 18 consecutive 40 Days for Life vigil, hundreds of my beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord have sacrificed their time and comfort, to make sure that our witness of love is able to continue in front of those doors of death at 933 Liberty Avenue. And yet, during these same ten years, as we stood by helplessly, 30,000…yes…that is THIRTY-THOUSAND…precious little babies were killed behind that very door. It is hard to even wrap my mind around that number!

Lord, how can we stop this???

We know the answer. He has told us to unite in prayer and fasting, and to remain in loving witness at that terrible site for 40-day time periods. He has made it very clear that he is moving in a powerful way to bring the issue of abortion front and center. He has removed the mask…the attractive veneer that the abortion industry so carefully painted upon the ugly procedure called abortion. He has performed miracles to give us hope, as former abortion workers such as Abby Johnson, Sue Thayer, Dr. Haywood Robinson and many others have joined us on the side of life.

So….why haven’t we seen any miracles in Pittsburgh?

I realize that I shouldn’t say that. We have seen PLENTY of miracles.

The first miracle has been our UNITY. As a team of many members of different churches, we have not let our differences cause division in this important battle to end abortion.

There have been many other miracles as well! We even know some of their names! Let’s see…I remember Jaden, Ralph, Adriel, Rowan, Wyatt, Winnie and Danica…to name just a few. There is another miracle due to be born next month, whose baby shower I will be attending tomorrow…and two more little miracles in their mother’s womb who are due to be born in the spring.

Still, I have to admit that I am disappointed that we have not seen the BIG miracle like 103 OTHER cities have seen…and that is the CLOSING of their abortion facility! When, oh Lord, will 933 Liberty Avenue cease to shed innocent blood? When will it be REDEEMED for YOUR good purpose???

Well, after almost 10 years…I think it is time to get out the “BIG GUNS”. Don’t you? So, what are our “big guns”? Certainly they are not what the world would think of when they think of power. Our weapons are the opposite. In fact, they are what the world deems to be the most foolish.

I shared a Facebook post today that sums up what I am talking about.

Jesus showed us by his life how we are to win this war. By our love, meekness and humility. And, he gave us himself in the Holy Church. He promised that he would never abandon us…that he would remain with us forever. For Catholics, he gives himself daily in the consecration of the Mass. He gives himself as food. And so, on Tuesday, we will be getting out our BIGGEST GUN EVER as Fr. Chris Donley carries the Blessed Sacrament…which is JESUS HIMSELF…as HE leads us on a procession from Epiphany Church to Planned Parenthood! We will process around the block and pray, with our Lord present in his very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity…right on the sidewalk in front of those doors of despair and hopelessness!

Everyone is welcome to join us for a kick-off Mass at Epiphany Church at 6 pm this Tuesday, and if you are able, to walk for the hour-long procession at 7 pm. Here are some instructions and the route we will take:

40 Days for Life Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood Instructions

  • Procession will begin at Epiphany Church at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 24th. We will walk to Planned Parenthood, circle the block and then return to the Church.
  • Please process in double-file line to avoid blocking the sidewalks to other pedestrians.
  • Please avoid unnecessary conversation during the procession, in order to keep it prayerful and solemn.
  • Feel free to pray vocally or silently, as you wish.
  • There may be a need to halt for traffic when crossing busy intersections.  If the processional line gets broken up, we will all get caught up again at Planned Parenthood.

Please pray, fast and sacrifice as much…no….MORE than you think you can during these 40 days! The roots of evil go very deep under that abortion clinic…and we need to give as much of ourselves as possible to loosen the soil so that God will pull them out!

We have two URGENT needs at the vigil next week! At 4 pm on Friday, shift manager Pat will be ALL ALONE if no one signs up! And on Saturday, September 28th, shift manager Jeff will be alone from 5-7 pm! Please let me know if you can come during those hours! Email Fran at franmac98fmc@gmail.com to sign up.

Finally, I want to let you know about another opportunity to get out your “big guns” in Pittsburgh! There will be a seven-day, 24-hour, round the clock Eucharistic adoration prayer vigil inside of St. Stanislaus Church, in the Strip District, beginning at 8am on Monday, October 7th and ending on October 13th. They need two people per hour, 24 hours a day, for seven days. The rosary and chaplet of Divine Mercy will be prayed out loud before the Blessed Sacrament EVERY HOUR for these seven consecutive days! Think of the prayer power and the GRACE that God will pour out upon our city!!! I have signed up for my hour already! Go to: http://www.pittsburghrosarycongress.org/ to sign yourself up!

In Christ,

Nikki

Afraid of Commitment?

You know, I constantly have to fight against the fear I have of doing too much…of over-committing myself.  I’m afraid that if I take on one more thing, that will be the straw that breaks my back.  Can any of you relate to that?

I believe that that’s a tool the devil uses to stop God’s children from really working against evil. If enough good people are too timid and too afraid to go that extra mile, to give themselves away and we content ourselves with filling up our lives with spiritual exercises…you know, going to church and Bible studies…which are all good, but if we fill up all our time with that, and we don’t leave any room to actually do the work that God is calling us to do as his followers, then that plays right into the devil’s hands.  Then we have a bunch of good and holy people, sitting in churches, praising God while the rest of the world outside of our churches are in such desperate need, while we are too busy inside our churches to go out into the world to bring his goodness and his light and truth to those who are starving for it. 

Now I am not saying that I can go out on my own strength.  If I am maxed out and I feel that I just cannot fit one more thing into my life…and I just go ahead and commit to doing one more thing on my own strength…that won’t work.  I will collapse.  I’m to do this in his power, in his strength, trusting in him.  And as long as I make prayer a daily priority, as long as that’s my foundation, then whatever I commit to do, after that, on top of that, then God will give me the strength to do it. 

When I feel that I just can’t do anymore, what really endears me to God…to his most beautiful, sacred heart, is when I am afraid to take that next step, but I do it anyway.  Not in my own strength, but I do it leaning in to Him.  Leaning into His strength, trusting in Him.  Saying, “Jesus, I’m afraid to do this, I’m afraid this is too much, I’m afraid I’m going to fall, but I’m going to do it anyway, knowing that you’re in control, you’re in charge of me.  And if it is too much for me, and if I do fall, I’m going to fall pleasing you, and you’re going to pick me up, and you’re going to dust me off, and I’m going to be stronger for the effort.  And I’m going to be closer to you, for that effort that I put out there for you.” 

When I do this, I can never lose.  When I take that next step, when I don’t think I can do it, I do it anyway, in the strength of Christ, I can never fail.  He always uses it for good…for my good and for the good of others.

So I encourage you, if you’re afraid to sign up to come to the vigil, if you feel that you just can’t do any more in your life…as long as you’re putting Christ first every day in prayer, Bible reading and worship or Mass, then you don’t need to fear.  Go ahead, sign up, make that commitment.  I’m not telling you that just because I’m trying to fill up the vigil  hours, which I am…I’m telling you that for your own good…for our own good as the Body of Christ!  You know, Jesus tells us that if we try to hold onto our lives, that we will lose them, it’s when we give our lives away that we find true life.  And he doesn’t lead us astray.  He tells us this because he knows we’re afraid.  We’re afraid of giving away too much.  We’re afraid of being empty if we give away that last bit of energy that we have.  And… That’s the devil’s lie.  The more that we give away of ourselves…the more that he fills us with His strength and his power.  And once we do it, and we taste it for ourselves and we see it, then we want to do it more because we know that it’s true!  But we have to do it that first time!  We have to take that step in fear and trusting in God, and doing it anyway.  Do that, and I promise you, you will not be sorry.

Here are the times that we most need help during this fall campaign (which runs from September 25th – November 3rd:

  • EVERY WEDNESDAY 1-3 pm!
  • EVERY SATURDAY 5-7 pm!
  • (1) Wednesday 9-11 am (Oct. 23)
  • (2) Tuesdays 12-1 pm (Oct. 8 & Oct. 29)
  • (3) Fridays 3 – 5 pm (Sept. 27, Oct. 25 & Nov. 1)
  • (2) Saturdays 3 – 5 pm (Oct. 26 & Nov. 2)

Of course if you cannot come during any of these times, we still need extra coverage ANY time from 7 am to 7 pm EVERY DAY from September 25th through November 3rd! Sign up when you can or just show up! We need to show the world, God and ourselves that WE CARE about the sanctity of each and every human life…and THIS MATTERS TO US!!!

Contact Fran to sign up. Email her at franmac98fmc@gmail.com

Letter to Nalani, in Heaven

Dearest Nalani,

I just wanted to write to you in Heaven, to tell you that I am so sad about what happened to you.  You were so precious…beautiful and innocent.  I didn’t know you or your family, but you lived near me.  I am glad that you are in a better place now.  This world that I still live in is almost unrecognizable from the world that I grew up in.  Children used to be cherished.  They used to be cared for and protected.  Now they are prey for the evil one.  Satan is furiously hell-bent on destroying innocence and fomenting anger and hatred.  It almost seems like he knows his time is short, so he is making the most of what he has left.

You are now safe in the arms of your Heavenly Father.  From Heaven, you can pray for your earthly family, as I am praying for them too.  Please pray for me, that I will be able to continue to stand firm against the evil that is all around me.  Pray that I won’t give in to discouragement and that I will always trust that God has a plan, and that He is working it out for good.

May your short life on earth serve as a reminder to those of us who remain, to always be vigilant to fight against all evil and to do everything we can to defend innocent human life.  Until the day that Jesus comes in his glory…and makes all things new.

Rest in peace, sweet Nalani.

______________________________________________________________________________

For those of us who are still fighting the battle:

Can you feel the fury of hell all around us?  Do you sense the spirit of chaos and destruction?  Do you think that God is on the move and that our years of prayers and fasting have something to do with it?

We voluntarily suffer for the innocent children who are killed by abortion.  We stand and pray.  We try to offer hope and help.  We freeze.  We get rained on.  Our feet and backs hurt.  We get insulted.

An innocent 2-year old gets abducted…and her precious life is violently ended.  Why?

Why would someone want to kill a child?  It is unfathomable to me.  Simply unfathomable evil.  Pure, unadulterated evil. 

How should those of us who love goodness, truth and beauty respond to the evil in our midst?  What can we do?  It is a helpless feeling to live in this world, at this time, and to be powerless to make a difference.

The only thing I can think of to do tonight is to stay awake for Nalani.  I was so sad, and felt so unsettled about the news of her body being found tonight, that I just couldn’t bring myself to lie down in my comfortable bed.  I decided that since I have no power to defeat evil, that I would simply do the little that I can right now…and that is to suffer in spirit for her, and for her family.  

Nalani, I will sleep on the floor for you tonight.  It won’t make a difference to anyone, I know.  But maybe God will look upon my little bit of suffering, in solidarity with you and your family…and maybe He will extend some extra grace to them to help them get through this time.

The same goes for you, little ones in your mother’s wombs…who will be killed this week at Planned Parenthood.  I will come to the sidewalk to be there for you.  You won’t be alone in your suffering.

As for our response to evil…we really have two choices.  We can cower and hide…pull the covers over our heads and hope it passes us by. Or, we can let it make us strongerWe can be all the more determined to react to evil in equal degrees of goodness.  Yes…we can match the degree of evil with the same amount of goodness.  Equal and opposite reactions.  For instance…look at this pile of baby gifts in my foyer. 

All these were donated by our 40 Days for Life team this week.  They are to be given to a 14-year old girl who went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion last April…but courageously decided to let her baby girl live to see the light of day. 

When the world sees evil getting stronger…we can let them see goodness getting stronger as well.

We can love each other…in word and in deed.

We can pray for each other.

And we can share in each other’s suffering.

Nalani, we will keep fighting the good fight.  For you.

In our loving Lord Jesus,

Nikki

The Lazy River of God…

The Texas-shaped lazy river that we enjoyed during our time in Houston…read on to find out how this compares to participating in 40 Days for Life!

I wish to write about my experience of attending this past weekend’s 40 Days for Life symposium in Houston, so that all of our 40 Days for Life family in Pittsburgh can, in a small way, share some of the blessings that we received by attending this wonderful symposium.

This symposium was special because of two amazing trips that we were taken on…read on to hear about them:

First, when we arrived in Houston on Friday, the very first thing we did was load all 200+ leaders into four large buses and drove to the mega-Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Houston, which is the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world.

I had seen pictures of it many times before, but I was surprised at the emotional reaction that I experienced when I actually saw it in person. I took a picture of my face, and as a remedy to my own vanity and pride, I will post it to show you my initial reaction to this monstrosity of evil:

Here is a photo of the people sitting behind me on the bus, you will see in many faces the same look of sadness and horror:

The temperature outdoors was about 3 degrees cooler than hell, as one leader aptly put it. I tried to offer my suffering in the heat for those whose lives have and are being lost in that building, but it was tough.

Pro-lifers poured from the buses onto the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood
Dr. Noreen (center) is a former abortionist, now pro-life. Pictured with two local 40 Days for Life leaders, Kathy and Jane.

Although the heat was intense…especially for us Yankees…It was the perfect way to begin our symposium. Standing in front of the largest abortion facility in the world was the stark reminder that I needed to remember why I was at the symposium in the first place.

Members of the national and international team spoke during the rally in front of Planned Parenthood

I want to share one thought that I had, as our bus stopped in front of this terrible building: While I was still in my seat, feeling so overwhelmed and discouraged…I looked out the window to see many men who are leaders in this movement. They were all busy organizing and directing the gathering crowd. These men included; Shawn Carney, Matt Britain, Steve Karlen, Robert Colquhoun, Brian Wilson and Rev. Brian Walker (among others). As I sat there, wanting to find a hole to crawl into…looking at these strong male leaders, I sensed that they were our warriors. I had the feeling that I was on the front lines of a very dangerous battle and I did not have the strength to fight, but I was so thankful for the leadership of these godly men. I had the thought that fighting abortion is like being in a war, and men are the ones that God equipped to really fight the hard battle on the front line. Me, as a woman, can fight behind the scenes, Through prayer and fasting and organizing people to show up on the sidewalk… which I know, is also on the front lines… and we women also do battle. But still, I really have a sense of gratitude for these spiritually strong men who have answered the call to lead us! I just wanted to say this. I realize that it may sound old-fashioned and not politically correct these days.

After our time at Planned Parenthood we had a gala event with a wonderful dinner and many great speakers which motivated and inspired us, including Ante, whom we met here in Pittsburgh.

40 Days for Life leaders and team members gathered at the Houston Marriott Marquis for a wonderful evening Gala on Friday

The following day, on Saturday, was an all day symposium with many speakers, including testimonies of those who chose Life and also those who suffered from abortion. One of the most powerful speaker panels included two former abortionists, one former abortion clinic manager, and a post abortive women. As they role played a scene from how an abortion would take place, they were unexpectedly brought to tears as they reenacted the scene.

In the above photo, two former abortion doctors, along with a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager, re-enact an actual abortion appointment with a post-abortive participant. It was more emotional than they expected.
This woman gave a powerfully inspiring testimony of being pressured by her doctor to abort her daughter (the young woman seated beside her), who is a beautiful young woman who loves the Lord and who also shares her story with people all around the country.

Saturday night was such a fun time, as we were fed a Texas style barbecue and had the opportunity to learn how to country line dance, which I enjoyed!

Judy and Nikki, having a blast line dancing to country music! I discovered that flip flops are not the ideal footwear for country dancing…next time I will bring my boots!
Pittsburgh team: Beth, Judy, Nikki and Lisa

On Sunday those of us who are Catholic went to Mass together at a beautiful 150-year-old city parish called “Church of the Annunciation”. The church was PACKED and we heard a wonderful sermon about the importance of praying in front of abortion clinics!

Historic 150-year old Church of the Annunciation in Houston was packed with pro-lifers on Sunday!

After Mass, all of us had the life-changing and profound experience of taking a two hour bus trip (four buses packed full of 40 days for life leaders), to Brian/College Station, to visit the former Planned Parenthood building, which is now the site of the International 40 Days for Life headquarters!!! This was truly the icing on the cake of a magnificent weekend!

Group photo of everyone in front of 40 Days for Life headquarters
Dr. Haywood Robinson spoke in front of the former Planned Parenthood where he used to do abortions. Now he works there providing medical care to women who are being assisted in choosing LIFE for their babies! Only God could write a story like this one!

Dr. Haywood Robinson stood in front of that building and told us that he used to do abortions in that same Planned Parenthood…before he met Jesus Christ and was transformed by grace. I was moved to tears to see God‘s power and His Hand in this movement! To see that man standing there speaking to us… to see the transformation in his life and in the lives of so many other former abortionists and workers who were there… brought me to tears. This time they were tears of joy.

Haywood made the analogy of 40 Days for Life being like a lazy river of God. When you stand there, looking at that former abortion clinic, which now serves as the headquarters of 40 Days for Life …and all those former abortion-workers who are now on the side of LIFE… you can’t help but see how 40 days for life is a movement completely of God! With that knowledge, we can feel safe and comfortable (as in the lazy river), because we know that we are in the center of God’s will… as we float along in this movement. It is a wonderful analogy, although I must admit that sometimes I don’t feel like I am floating. I feel more like I am paddling upstream, but that is just because I have the continual fight against my own weak human nature and my own laziness and selfishness! But really, we are in the lazy river of God when we participate in 40 days for life!

Shawn Carney, President of 40 Days for Life, welcomed us to their headquarters in College Station
Pittsburgh girls…Judy, Nikki, Beth and Lisa
Kruno and Ante join us for a team photo…we will miss these guys!

Dr. Robinson made the analogy of 40 days for life being like a lazy river of God.

He probably came up with this analogy because we had a really cool lazy river at the Marriott Marquis, where our 40 days conference was held. This lazy river is in the shape of Texas! (Texans are mighty proud of their state!)

Ante, along with many 40 Days for Life leaders enjoy a Texas barbecue in front of the 40 Days for Life headquarters.

The 40 Days for Life national team had a delicious Texas-style barbecue lunch for us. They truly treated us like kings and queens all weekend! I am so grateful to all of their generous donors who made this weekend possible!

It was amazing to walk through those same doors that Abby Johnson walked through every day to work at Planned Parenthood.

We were given a tour of the building, including one of the rooms in which abortions were performed. Unlike the experience of being in front of the mega-Planned Parenthood in Houston…which was so dark and unsettling…inside of this former abortion facility…which has since been exorcised and blessed…I felt nothing but gratitude and joy.

This is the reception desk, where thousands of women paid for their abortions. This desk has now been redeemed. Notice the iconic photo on the wall behind the glass…the now famous photo of the Planned Parenthood sign being torn down!
We were told that before the interior of the building was painted, but after the exorcism, church congregations were invited to come in and pray…and the entire wall area was COVERED with scripture verses, which members of those churches wrote on the walls. So this space is now LITERALLY covered with the Word of God! This photo was taken of the inside of a closet, which still has a verse of scripture visible.

We went into the very room where the abortions took place, which still contained the table that the women would lay on, (now covered with roses)…but the darkness was not there. Only redemption.

Dr. Haywood Robinson, standing in the very room in which he used to do abortions.
Former bed of pain, now redeemed.

They also showed us the plans for a memorial which they are going to build in the backyard, which will be a large granite wall with 6,400 gold crosses… to memorialize the lives that were lost there.

Plans for the memorial…
This plaque and angel statues will be part of the memorial.
Dr. Haywood and Dr. Noreen…two former abortion doctors, now working to save lives from abortion!
The very hallway where Abby Johnson walked, and so many poor women and babies were destroyed.
I just had to take a picture of the sky as we were standing on that holy ground…God is with us!!!
Photos hanging in the reception area…

This beautiful figurine of Mary, pregnant with Jesus is displayed in the board room

So what are you waiting for? The lazy river of God is waiting for you to JUMP IN!!! Sign up here for the fall campaign:

https://40daysforlife.com/local-campaigns/pittsburgh/

Inspiring events this week! Croatia Pro-Life Leaders in Pittsburgh!

This has been a whirlwind week with the funny, energetic and passionately pro-life 40 Days for Life leaders from Croatia! From the minute I picked Kruno and Ante up at the Pittsburgh airport (last Friday), through today, I have enjoyed these two wonderful young leaders as they speak and show their inspiring new documentary, “40 Days…”. They stayed with Joe and I for their first three nights and it was like having two new sons in my home. They even started calling me “Mom”. Their film has inspired many people and will undoubtedly save many lives! You can watch it for free on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAzm0ftoqsg&t=115s

Here are some photos from this week’s events:

SATURDAY

On Saturday, Ante and Kruno spoke and screened their film after 5pm Mass at St. Nicholas Croatian Church in Millvale. During the event in the church hall, Bishop William Waltersheid blessed our event and added his inspiring thoughts on the importance of the pro life movement by Christians. We are grateful to St. Nicholas parish and Bishop Waltersheid for a heart-changing evening! Bishop Waltersheid was presented with a DVD copy of the film in gratitude for his attendance.
Saturday night showing at Saint Nicholas
Lisa and her daughters brought Kruno and Ante to see our Vigil site
Saturday in front of Planned Parenthood

Ante
Kruno and Bill
Our protection and our hope

SUNDAY

Fr. Jason Charron, from Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie hosted Kruno and Ante at his church on Sunday with a showing of the film following the 11am Divine Liturgy. It was a beautiful afternoon of pro-life fellowship and many were inspired by Ante and Kruno’s enthusiasm and their love for the Lord!
Many people came to watch the film, from Holy Trinity Church and elsewhere.
At Fr. Jason‘s church, everyone watching the film attentively
A nice showing at Fr. Jason‘s church
Lisa, Kruno, Ante, Nikki
After we left Fr. Jason’s Church, I took Kruno and Ante to meet two of my heroes, who also happen to be my mentors in the pro-life movement and in my walk with God…Sally and Al Brunn. Although they are in a nursing home now, since Al had a stroke in December, their minds are sharp as pins and they are full of peace and joy. Kruno and Ante were very inspired by their visit with Sally and Al.

MONDAY

Pizza-Man Joe…making his homemade pizza at Monday’s cook-out at the Bruni’s!
It was a fun time of food and fellowship at our home. Everyone enjoyed Joe’s pizza and other goodies on the backyard pavilion.
Everyone’s attention was focused on the film. Even the children did not take their eyes off of this moving and inspiring documentary!

TUESDAY

Many pro lifers gathered inside of Catholic Charities Welcome Center on Tuesday to see the screening of “40 Days” and to hear Ante and Kruno’s inspiring message of 40 Days for Life in Croatia!
Ante’s enthusiasm for saving lives is contagious!
Kruno and Ante meet another Pittsburgh pro-life legend, Helen Cindrich, Executive Director of People Concerned for the Unborn Child…PCUC, the OLDEST pro-life organization in the USA!
Lisa took them to the Croatian Federation in Monroeville

WEDNESDAY

Pastor Joe Stump and the wonderful worship team at Lincoln Place Nazarene led us in a beautiful time of song.
Kruno with hands raised to the Lord.
Kruno opened the event with a short presentation on Croatia…its natural beauty, history and people.
Ante inspired many with his passion for saving lives through 40 Days for Life in Croatia!
Joe and Ante say goodbye…Joe was full of emotion…these young men really got into his heart during our time together. He will miss them.
Saying goodbye to daddy Joe
Saying goodbye…
This pro-life mom will miss her “sons”. This old German lady is taken by surprise by these Europeans ready display of affection…but in a good way!
Ante loves to clown around…and he loved his American “Coke”
After staying at the Bruni’s house for their first three nights in Pittsburgh…Ante and Kruno left for the Koslosky’s for the following two nights. Here they are, clowning around at Lisa’s house. It looks like they are having fun…yes?

THURSDAY

Pastor Joe and Judy Stump hosted Kruno and Ante for their final two nights in Pittsburgh. Here are some photos of their sight-seeing!

The dynamic duo with Pastor Joe and Judy Stump
At the Carnegie Museum with the Stumps
With the dinosaurs
Ante-saurus
Ante and Kruno had a great day with Pastor Joe and Judy

On Friday, we will all fly out to Houston for the International 40 Days for Life Symposium. Check back next week for a blog post about that event.

Open Letter to Rep. Brian Sims

Dear Rep. Brian Sims,

Although I have not fed or clothed any poor children yet today...I am responding to the video you recently posted that shows you harassing the “old white woman” in front of Planned Parenthood. As a grandmother of four, and one who prays weekly in front of Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh, I think I am qualified to write this letter.

You may think that, as a young, affluent, influential person, you can intimidate us “old white ladies” to just go away. I mean, how difficult can it be to scare us old ladies? How can we possibly endure pressure from politicians who give us a hard time? We will certainly succumb in fear and trepidation and slink back to our kitchens where we belong…to bake cookies or something.

NOT!!!

The mistake you are making is your assumption that we so-called “pseudo-Christians” will be deterred by humiliation and intimidation from other people, even from those who are supposedly in a position of human authority. You see, as TRUE Christians…we have already humbled ourselves to the authority of GOD…as He has given us to know Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ! HE is our example, and HE is our authority. As he willingly suffered from the “authorities” in his day, so we also count it a privilege to suffer for him…if he asks us to.

Actually, It is understandable that you would make such a mistake. After all, people tend to assume that others are just like they are. If somebody is a liar, they never trust anything that anyone says to them. A husband who cheats on his wife is always suspicious of her, thinking she is doing the same. The same thing goes for a person who is proud and arrogant…one who desires the respect and esteem of other people. A person such as that assumes that others can be manipulated in a way that they themselves could be.

It always amazes me how two people can sometimes look at the same thing, yet see two totally different realities. For example, surely you have seen photos of abortion. When I first saw the torn, mutilated corpses of abortion victims…it broke my heart! I cried and sobbed after viewing those photos. But what do you see? A woman’s choice? When I hold a newborn baby…such a tiny, fragile life…I am moved to compassion and the desire to tenderly care for that child. I am amazed and in awe of the miracle of new life! But what do you see? A burden to be eliminated?

You stated in your video how important it is for you to be involved in this great “civil rights” movement…which is very ironic that you would say that, because it IS in fact a civil rights movement…just in the OPPOSITE way that you think! The unborn human is the one being killed and oppressed here…NOT the pregnant moms!

Did you see the faces of the parents in Colorado, as they frantically searched for their children, following this week’s tragic school shooting? The expressions of anxiety and grief in their faces brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that there is truly no greater bond (humanly speaking), than that of a parent for their child! In fact, I would bet that if you randomly polled 100 people on the streets, and asked them what the worst possible thing they could imagine happening to them would be…I would bet that most of them would say experiencing the death of a child. Yet, you think it is a good thing for women to walk into Planned Parenthood and pay money to bring about that same result! The ONE thing that everyone fears most…in your eyes is somehow good, and should be applauded. In fact, you think it is SUCH a good thing that you are willing to rant and rave and try to intimidate those who are trying to save parents who are in danger of experiencing that grief.

Just look at the faces of those parents in Colorado.

Sadly, maybe you will never personally experience the joy that comes from having a child, created by God, through a loving union of man and woman. But those of us who have been blessed with children understand what a treasure our children are! They are a gift from God! Even now, although my children are grown and have children of their own…if any sort of physical injury befalls them, when I learn about it, I experience an actual physical pain…like a twinge…in the innermost part of my body. There is still a connection. You cannot separate a child from the mother. There is an eternal bond. God it made it that way in order to show us the same bond that exists between Him and all of his children.

So, Rep. Sims…I ask you…just who are you trying to intimidate? Those of us who are already bowed down as low as we can be? We are already face down on the ground (spiritually speaking)…and you want to trample on us? We count it an honor to be trampled on for our Lord. So, if you thought that you could intimidate us by your call for increased persecution….you have made a fatal mistake..

You see, you may think you are only fighting against “old white women“…when in fact, you are actually fighting against GOD.

Good luck with that!

Nikki Bruni