Movies are filled with scenes of babies being left at the ornate doors of old convents. A kind nun in full habit emerges and retrieves the baby, gently caring for the child. It’s a motif that has contributed to the pro-life reputation of the Catholic Church — and the reason for that is based in truth. Now the Sisters of Life reminds people again that the charge of the Church remains to take care of those in need — especially the women and children who need them most.
The Sisters of Life, founded by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1991 in New York, are taking up residence in a convent housed in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona, at St. Agnes Parish. There, they will stay with the Sisters of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity at Most Holy Trinity Parish, according to the Catholic Sun.
Sr. Bethany Madonna, the superior who leads the sisters, said, “The sisters will be welcome and meet with women at their convent at St. Agnes. We’ll be serving women who are pregnant and vulnerable.”
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Additionally, the story reports, they will work with pro-life pregnancy centers such as the Aid to Women Center, Life Choices Women’s Clinics and First Way.
Sr. Bethany also added an important factor that addresses a misconception many abortion advocates don’t always grasp about the pro-life movement. “We don’t just serve women when they find out that they’re pregnant or after the baby is born but we accompany women for as long as they desire,” she said.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, who was instrumental in inviting the Sisters of Life to establish their presence in the Diocese of Phoenix, noted, “I think the Sisters of Life are a community that’s vitally needed in the Church and in the world today. What they bring is a very direct and singular, beautiful focus on the Gospel of Life and the inherent dignity of every human being from the moment of conception.”
The Sisters of Life website is adamant that the sisters are there to give options for women who are pregnant and scared. “Your dreams are not out of reach,” the website reads. “There are real options that will get you back on your feet again, never regretting what might have been. You don’t need to feel pressured to have an abortion.”
But that’s not all that they do.
With a presence on several college campuses, including Colorado State University, the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, University of Denver, and North Dakota State University, this new presence at the Phoenix Diocese also means a presence on the campus of Arizona State University.
“I’m really looking forward to the impact it will have on our Millennials and those in our colleges and universities,” Bishop Olmsted said. “I know in my conversations with them that they have found there’s a lot of confusion these days about identity of men and women.”
The campus outreach, Sr. Bethany said, has three components: prayer, presence and program.
“The desire is to welcome the college students into our prayer on campus, to be present to them, to accompany them, to meet with them and then to have programs where they can be enriched, particularly women’s nights where women can learn about the beauty of femininity and God’s gift in calling them as women,” Sr. Bethany said, adding, “The desire is to create an openness and a conversation, and also for women on campus to know there are sisters present to walk with them if they’re pregnant, and to be a source of support to them as well. We’re available to everyone, but we also want them to know that we can walk with them if they were to ever find themselves unexpectedly pregnant.”
Sisters of Life is located in the United States and Canada in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Denver, Toronto, and now, Phoenix. The motto of Sisters of Life says, “We believe every person is valuable and sacred. We believe that every person is good, loved, unique and unrepeatable. We believe that every person’s life has deep meaning, purpose and worth. In fact, we give our lives for that truth.”
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