DAY 12: Thank you, Sisters of the Holy Spirit; Volunteers George S., Rich D., Gregory H.; Beloved people praying and fasting with us this fall; the Beloved who accompany us for Life on the sidewalk downtown; and Nikki and the managing team who shepherd us so generously.

Little Girl Praying
Roberto Ferruzzi (1853-1934)
Museum of Fine Arts, Sevastopol, Ukraine
Copyright Arthotek / La Collection

When you call to me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29:12

I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.  Therefore, I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

During the celebration of Mass, I love to pray the CONFITEOR .  It is right to join voices, hearts, all of us gathered there.  We declare the truth our hearts want to say out loud.  When we witness for life together on the sidewalk, we share the same truth with abortion bound people. Their truth and ours is the same.  We know the battles our heart fights to make our heart true.  Because we live it, we know their reluctance.  We know the battle is worth it. The battle we share has been real since the beginning. Our God, Beauty ever ancient, ever new (Saint Augustine) longs for us to let Him fight on our side.


Most media groups, biased by their pro-abortion ideology, refuse to acknowledge the truth about abortion trauma and regret. Instead, they insist that women are ‘empowered’ by ending the lives of their children.  They claim women can move on afterward as if nothing happened. Our Can’t Stay Silent project shares real stories of women who have had an abortion. These women cannot stay silent any longer. LIVE ACTION provides a platform for them. By sharing their stories, these women hope they can save other women from the pain and suffering abortion causes. They hope to save the lives of their children too. 


I Can’t Stay Silent. I Regret My Abortion: Sylvia’s Story. I was 19.  We were away at college and had fallen into a relationship quickly in our freshman year.  In my junior year, we decided to break up. The last time we had sex, the condom broke. It was the beginning of summer. I panicked. I thought I would lose my full scholarship. I wanted to keep my good girl reputation. I could not see how I could support a child and finish school. I didn’t ask for advice because I was pretty clear about what I wanted. The father was able to pay for about half, $250.  I called my sister. We went to Planned Parenthood.

The counselor at the window said it would be a quick, easy surgery.  I could resume my life.  I think they gave me a medication. The huge room was extremely cold, extremely impersonal. The table felt like metal. I felt sleepy but aware.  The vacuum suction machine sounded horrible.  “You’re going to feel a little pain, a little pressure, and then it’s going to be over.”  My stomach felt like it was being pulled out of my body. I wanted to see the canister for what was coming out of me, you know, after being told it was just a blob of cells, and me not doing any research.  I looked and could see a lot of blood, tissue, white flecks.   I come to in a chair.  My sister scooped me up and took me to her apartment where I slept the rest of the day.  The next day I felt a lot of pain. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Tylenol wouldn’t help. I wandered around the rest of that summer. In the fall I went back to school and acted like nothing had happened.

That’s what I did for a good 20 years.  I literally didn’t think much about it. As a matter of fact, I went to work for Planned Parenthood for about 18 months. I worked on the contraceptive side, not on the abortion side. I would to try to help girls avoid getting pregnant. At the same time, I knew contraceptives are not 100% effective, not even close. My situation proved that. I worried about the young women.  They had no support system. They didn’t know other options.  They had no counseling. They came in for contraceptives and treatment for STDs.  That wasn’t helping.

Much later, God sent me a woman who accompanied me and taught me about God’s unconditional love. I asked God to forgive me for my abortion. I felt forgiven immediately. But I wasn’t free from my shame and guilt. We moved to Florida.  My new church had an abortion recovery program. I thought about it for a year. I heard God say, “I’ve got something for you,” I phoned them. 

The healing was tough. I’d never dealt with the anger I’d felt since my abortion.  Everybody else dealt with it.  It exhibited itself everywhere in my life. Healing was an eight-week journey.  I dared to be transparent with God and myself.  I looked at the feelings I had worked hard to bury.  Then, I asked God, “How can I serve?”  Sharing my testimony is my ministry. I am grateful that my life turned around by the age of 59. I’m grateful I accepted His offer after so many years of fighting it.

This testimony is edited. Take the time. Let Sylvia tell you her testimony face to face in her video.


The “Heartbeat Sessions” is a music series produced by Ex Corde featuring Benedictine College students and alumni. Ex Corde is a publication of Benedictine College, a Catholic, Newman Guide recommended college.  It draws its inspiration from Saint John Paul II, who said colleges must “instill the Gospel message of Christ in souls and cultures.”   Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 20, (August 15, 1990) Saint John Paul II. 

Heartbeat Sessions: Teresa & Annie Goodwin – “In the Bleak Midwinter”


The Sisters of the Holy Spirit are blessing us with their prayers throughout these 40 days.  Sister Jolenta


Sally and Al


It was clear and cold as I set off for the sidewalk this morning, with a sky full of stars and a full moon hanging at the horizon.  Vince and I prayed with little interruption.  Rich, George, and John slipped in quietly to join us.  We were glad to see the first rays of sun peeking into the Valley of the Shadow as Ken and Pat arrived for the next shift.  

Rich, John, Vince, George

Basking in the sunshine, Pat, Ken, Rich and George


The weather was a little brisk today on the sidewalk but the prayers were filled with warmth and feeling. Pat and I were joined in the first hour by the faithful men of the K of C, Rich and George, who pray with us the first hour of our shift each week. Just Pat and I for the second hour but there was a large group that arrived as we were leaving to pray with Rich and Rosanne in the next shift. Prayers were offered for the babies and women that will enter these dreadful doors this week and we also united our prayers with the rosaries being prayed around the country today for the conversion of our nation back to God.

We did have some positive interaction with people passing by. Two men prayed the Chaplet with us, after Pat gave them a rosary. One was an immigrant from Guatemala who asked for the rosary. I think it may have been a first experience for both of them.  Another encounter was with a young man from Boston who was singing on the other side of Liberty Avenue and joined us for a brief while to profess his faith in God and his concern for the plight of the Nation and the world. 

Our shift is always blessed by the rosary walkers who pass by every Sunday and pray a decade of the rosary on the sidewalk.

Knights of Columbus Rich and George, rosary walkers, a man from Guatemala and more, joined Ken and Pat.


What a pleasant surprise when you are expecting one prayer warrior to show up and instead are blessed with a group. We had Frassati Pittsburgh, a couple students from Franciscan University, and Louis from Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish.  The Knights of Columbus dropped off some donuts to give to those who might be hungry. We prayed and witnessed. It was a good day.

Some members of Frassati Pittsburgh. Inspired by the life of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, we aim to cultivate a community of Christ-seeking young adults.

Shift Manager Rich with Frassati Pittsburgh, students from Franciscan University, and Louis from Most Precious Blood of Jesus Parish. 

LINDSAY and LISA and RANDY K. 1-3   

Today was an uneventful day. I was super grateful for and blessed by Randy and Lisa’s prayerful companionship and comforting, friendly presence on the sidewalk with me.  I would otherwise have been alone. We are making progress in the pro-life movement, and suddenly many/most of the vigil slots are not longer occupied by church groups or concerned individuals. Like many churches, Pittsburgh passersby either ignored us or blessed us. I didn’t really have anything notable happen to prompt a blog report for today’s prayerful vigil.  

But as I was leaving, I was in my car at the light facing 933 Liberty Avenue/Planned Parenthood. On the uppermost floor, far right hand side, I notice framed pictures on the windowsill. I obviously could not see the pictures. But I imagined they were photos of smiling family members lovingly displayed on the windowsill of a PP staffer. I imagined baby pictures. Children’s pictures. Family pictures. Smiling adults, laughing children, adorable babies, fluffy cats…  I then realized the irony. These same moments and memories are being robbed by PP from the patrons of PP seeking/receiving abortion and birth control services/products. These innocent mothers-to-be/fathers-to-be/families-to-be/framed photographs-to-be who were pressured or duped into abortion have been cruelly stripped by PP of the same opportunities to proudly display their (never to be born) children’s photos on the windowsills of their lives.  I just found this thought to be very sad, and very ironic.  Every mother – even unplanned mothers – LOVE to display photographs of their babies, children, families, fluffy cats…I just pray that scared, misled, expectant mothers considering abortion will reconsider, so that someday they too may be graced with the smiling images of their babies/children/families lovingly displayed on the windowsills of their lives.

Randy and Lisa, prayerful companionship and comforting, friendly presence



Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God, Save us.

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