Live Action News has previously highlighted the life-saving work done by an order of religious sisters who originated in New York and now also serve in Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Denver, Philadelphia, and Ontario. The sisters, who profess a fourth vow to “protect and enhance the sacredness of every human life” alongside the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, assist women experiencing unplanned pregnancies as well as women who are seeking healing from a past abortion. One Canadian woman is particularly grateful for their help.
According to the Catholic Register, 38-year-old Nicole Meinen was devastated to learn in 2020 that she was expecting a baby. The mother of three children from ages of eight to 15 was already working 12-hour shifts at a dairy company and felt unsure how she could possibly manage a new baby on top of everything else. She commented, “It was a shock to find out I was pregnant. It was so challenging to accept. I was ashamed, but I was also very scared. I was scared of being judged. I was scared of being alone. I contemplated an abortion. It seemed like the only way out.”
While Meinen had planned to take the abortion pill, when the time came, she couldn’t do it. “I remembered all the pain, all the tears — I couldn’t do it again. Yet I was also struggling with how I could keep the baby. I teetered back and forth: should I have an abortion or should I keep my baby?” Then she contacted the Sisters of Life located in Ontario, and things began to change.
She recalled, “The sisters phoned every other day, kept me company, sang songs to me, brought me food, threw me a baby shower and even connected me with other pro-lifers in my community. The help they offered wasn’t self-seeking at all. They didn’t care what I had done in the past nor about my denomination, all they cared about was what I was going to do in the present moment.”
With the support of the sisters, Meinen found the strength to choose life for her daughter Emma Grace, born on January 6, 2021. Emma is named after Sr. Mary Grace, one of the sisters who walked beside Meinen throughout the pregnancy and beyond. For her part, Meinen can hardly believe what she almost missed out on. “When I look at my daughter’s eyes, I can’t imagine my life without her. I look at her and wonder how I could have thought of it any other way. I have Emma to thank for my new friendships. I have Emma to thank for my newfound hope.”
In choosing life for her daughter, the trajectory of Meinen’s own life truly has profoundly changed for the better. “It had always been a dream of mine to go back to school and the sisters encouraged me to pursue this. I applied to Fanshawe College’s pre-health and science program. Surprisingly, I got accepted. Thanks to the sisters, who have introduced me to pro-lifers in my community, I am able through their help to balance school, work and motherhood.”
Meinen’s own family, initially very critical of her unplanned pregnancy, now delight in their young granddaughter.
For their part, the Sisters of Life will continue their ministry, one woman at a time. Sr. Antoniana Maria Macapagal, superior of the Toronto convent, said, “Any woman is welcome with the Sisters of Life. We reach out to women of all ages and all denominations. We want women to know that we’re here for them….We believe that each person’s life matters and that God has a plan for each person. All life is valuable and sacred because we are all made in God’s image and likeness. The Sisters of Life’s mission is to offer help for pregnant women to choose life and hope for women who have suffered through an abortion.”
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