Day 8…St. Juan Diego (Sharpsburg) & St. Bernadette (Monroeville)

Today (Thursday) we need volunteers for the noon hour, but especially during the hours of 1pm – 7pm!  Shift manager Lisa will be all alone from 1-3, Helen will be alone from 3-5 and Rick from 5-7 if no one signs up!  Please show that you care and support these 40 Days for Life campaigns by coming to pray during these hours if you can!  To sign yourself up on our online vigil calendar, go to

Thank you and God bless you!


I have been thinking about the meaning of suffering lately.  Maybe from seeing the determination and love of so many dedicated men and women who have voluntarily suffered by choosing to pray at the vigil in spite of bitter cold, dangerous ice and snow…even when no one was signed up…choosing to be there anyway.  I have to be honest…as a life-long Protestant…I never really understood why anyone would CHOOSE to suffer.  I did not see any value or merit in it.  It just wasn’t something that I ever heard talked about in church.  After all, Jesus paid the price for us on the cross, and it is a done deal!  We can’t save ourselves through anything that we do…even if we chose to be crucified as he was.  That wouldn’t save us.  So the whole idea of Lent never really hit home for me.

But lately, as I read the stories and see the photos from our vigil, my heart is endeared to these loving souls who sacrifice their comfort, safety, time and pride…offering up their fears to God…and come to witness and pray for an end to abortion.  Seeing them shivering in the cold fosters in my heart an affection that words, no matter how eloquent, ever could.  And I thought about times in my life when I have suffered and someone has helped me…or vice-versa.  Those relationships were forever strengthened because of the shared suffering.  Because someone CHOSE to suffer with me, the love in our relationship was forever cemented.

I think that is what Lent is all about.  We CHOOSE to suffer with Christ, through his 40 days in the desert, his passion and death on the Cross.  Abortion causes Jesus to suffer.  These are his precious children that are being killed…and by sacrificing our time at the vigil, we show him that we care.  We do it because we love him.  And it forever cements our relationship with him in a way that mere words never could.

Pope Francis tweeted yesterday the following words…which sum up why we do this pro-life work:

“You have asked me for a word of hope: what I have to offer you has a name: Jesus Christ.”

I also want to pass along a bit of encouraging news!  One of our shift managers is also a volunteer at The Pregnancy Resource Center.  She said that a young woman came into the center yesterday because someone at the vigil had given her one of the pink resource sheets!  She is still undecided about what to do…please pray for her!  Those resource sheets really do work!  Keep up the good work everyone!

Now for the stories and photos from today…

Sue D. was our early morning shift manager.  She writes:

7am-9am shift update:

33 degrees feels good!! Haha! It was quiet on the street until about 8am. It seemed to me that a lot of workers were going into pp. Walt who stood with me last wednesday came again and this was already his 2nd shift this week! Shortly after him, Peggy came…who is also committed to 3 shifts/week! We finished a rosary and divine mercy together. Katie came to witness as well and was prepared with lots of information about options, well organized in her folder!

Walt, Peggy and Katie...early morning prayer warriors
Walt, Peggy and Katie…early morning prayer warriors

About 5 clients entered and we did our best to identify who would be approaching pp doors so that we could offer them information. Bill stopped by briefly and Marian on her way to work! A women stopped on the sidewalk and spoke to Peggy, she said that she did not believe in abortion and they prayed together before the woman left on her way! Beth, a SA came shortly before 9am as well as the next shift manager with a friend! It was  uplifting to see such a nice, large pro-life crowd….everyone doing their part!

Cathy was the shift manager from 9-11, and she was also there to represent her parish, St. Juan Diego.  

Wonderful friends for life during Cathy's shift
Wonderful friends for life during Cathy’s shift, Beth, Mary, Kate and Walt

Cathy wrote:

My fellow parishioner from St. Juan Diego, Mary, and I joined Beth, Kate and Walt who had already been at PP for awhile.  There were some people going in and out, and one angry woman who walked by while saying how much she loved PP for the healthcare she received.


I (Nikki) managed the vigil from 11-2 and had the great honor of sharing the sidewalk with the wonderful and prayerful group from St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Monroeville.  Here are some pictures:

Great group from St. Bernadette!
Great group from St. Bernadette!

day 8, 3rd shift, pat, katie and walt

"off-duty" shift manager, but "on-duty" sidewalk advocate, Beth, with Dee, who coordinated her group from St. Bernadette. Love the matching scarves!
“off-duty” shift manager, but “on-duty” sidewalk advocate, Beth, with Dee, who coordinated her group from St. Bernadette. Love the matching scarves!
Jeff came to pray during his lunch hour. I attend church with Jeff at St. Irenaeus in Oakmont
Jeff came to pray during his lunch hour. I attend church with Jeff at St. Irenaeus in Oakmont
Jim, Mary and Dee from St. Bernadette...joined by Judy who comes often to pray and witness
Jim, Mary and Dee from St. Bernadette…joined by Judy who comes often to pray and witness


Lisa from St. Bernadette, joined with another Lisa
Lisa from St. Bernadette, joined with another Lisa

Planned Parenthood was very busy today, many people entering and exiting during my shift.  Many couples seemed to be going in around 1pm.  We prayed and offered literature.  There were many joyful faces, peaceful prayers and Christian music playing softly in the background.  What else can we do in the face of this great evil?  Just be present…and with us…Christ.  Just show up and leave the rest to him.

Barbara took over for me and managed the vigil from 2-5pm. I am always glad to see her smiling face, but especially today, with her new sign:

What a powerful sign! Thanks Barbara!
What a powerful sign! Thanks Barbara!

She writes:

In the Litany of the Holy Face, we pray,

“O adorable Face, fresher than the roses of spring,

O adorable Face, treasure of graces and of blessings,

O adorable Face, whose incomparable beauty was obscured under the dreadful cloud of the sins of the world.”

It seems to me that in America today the face of a baby can also remind us of freshness, treasures and of being under the dreadful cloud of sinfulness.

Have you seen the photo of the aborted baby whose abortion tore away the lower half of his face?

Two women stopped to talk with us.  One of them was about 10 weeks pregnant.  Her baby at home was about a year old.  She had her first baby when she was 14 years old.  Her friend had an abortion a couple of years ago.  “It was necessary,” she said.  She has a 17 year old son who is as valuable to her as her arm. As we prayed with her abortion, she cried and said it was the worst thing in her life.  She had not wondered about the gender of the baby.  “I just pushed away any thoughts about it.”   They talked about the necessity of teaching children birth control.  When I offered thoughts about chastity I felt like I was talking in Latin.

A man stopped to pray with us while he waited for his bus.  Bill stopped and shared good news about his being offered membership on a parish committee.

Our faithful prayer partner, Hank arrived and we said the Rosary.

Life is good.

Barbara Lewis

Shift Manager

Audrey and Jim finished out the day from 5-7.  Jim wrote:

Wednesday 2/17 5-7 pm shift I was blessed to have Hank  at my side….joined for stints by Marion and Natalie as well.  It was a Winter Wonderland with big snowflakes as a squall settled on Downtown Pittsburgh between 6-7 pm.

Natalie and Hank answer the call to stand with shift manager Jim!
Natalie and Hank answer the call to stand with shift manager Jim!

There were a few good conversations with passersby, one in particular with a woman who served our Country who expressed her frustration that young women continue to choose abortion and how culture in our Country has strayed from our principles of helping and serving each other while being accountable.  She mentioned she belongs to a church and I asked and encouraged her to ask her church to sign up for a shift and join us in our prayerful vigil.

Your sister in Christ,


2 thoughts on “Day 8…St. Juan Diego (Sharpsburg) & St. Bernadette (Monroeville)

  • February 18, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Father Michael Gaitley speaks to the message by Nikki. It’s a great book to read during Lent. God bless all of you!

    • February 18, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! I love Fr. Michael Gaitley! It was his book, “The One Thing is Three” that first introduced me to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy!


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