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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

PP Probe Underway

Very exciting news as we start down the road less travelled to the truth about abortion funding and the black hole that is Planned Parenthood.  Read more: House Launches Probe of PP

Monday, September 26, 2011


"Just for fun" from my friend Robbie...

This is deeeelicious music for the soul.  If you listen very carefully about almost 4 mins into this piece, you will here a familiar tune that we sing at Mass:  The Thaxted melody of "O God, Beyond All Praising" is beautifully conjured by the violins.  It all reminds me of what the psalmist composed in the 8th Psalm:

"O Lord, our Lord how majestic is Thy name in all the earth! Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted by the mouth of babes and infants, Thou has founded a bulwark because of Thy foes to still the enemy and the avenger.  When I look at Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars which Thou hast established; what is man that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?  Yet, Thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor. Thou hast given him dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!"

Somebody just asked me recently what kind of music I like.  That's hard to nail down, but I'm pretty sure that this music is straight from heaven. Just a small sampling of what God has in store for us, I think.

Friday, September 16, 2011

'There is no outside solution to an inside problem'

"ACCEPTANCE is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation -- some fact of my life unacceptable to me and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.  Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes." ~ Paul O., p. 417 4th Edition of Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Glorious News Under the Mantle of Our Lady

I’m deciding to share this news with you on a most fitting feast day – The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On Ash Wednesday of this year (March 9, 2011) some prayer warriors from my church, St. Joan of Arc in Phoenix, starting showing up at our neighborhood abortuary to pray weekly for the end of abortion.  We joined an existing valley initiative named Our Lady’s Mantle and, armed with rosary beads, prayer booklets and hearts fixed on the Lord, we took our love of the unborn to the streets to offer peaceful, prayerful vigil for our littlest brothers and sisters who were dying just a few blocks away from our parish.  

We wanted Planned Parenthood Thunderbird to know what so many people already know about abortion. It is bad for women, bad for our community and deadly for our unborn brothers and sisters.

We showed up with some informational signs, (not torches and pitchforks).  The signs simply stated that women and men regret their abortions.  You would have been amazed at all of the people who paid attention to those signs.  Thanks Karl.

We showed up with some love & compassionate understanding for those who suffer from our abortion-wounded culture.  We were pelted with raw eggs, and raw emotional outbursts but we did not return the hostility.  This was not easy, but we have a great Teacher.

We showed up with some prayer.  And boy did we have backup!  Father, with the assistance of Carol and a few others instituted Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at our parish on the 7th of May.   The Poor Clares out in Tonopah lifted our intentions weekly.  The understatement of the century: “ I think it worked.”

We showed up with consistency.  Examples abound:
·      My dear, anonymous friend who made our first ‘offering of suffering’ by literally leaving part of her chin skin on the sidewalk on opening day.
·      My pastor who showed up in his “Sin Fighting Suit” at the hottest times of the day—later joined by my husband, Ron.
·      The kids who showed up from their afternoon RE class with Jim and Linda.
·      The abortion-wounded women who courageously thanked us for our witness.
·      The green truck that was always joyously honking a triumphal thumbs up.
·      The friendly police officers who kept watch
·      Robbie, Laurie and Peg…my prayer warrior sisters who showed up rain and shine.  (Mostly blazing hot sunshine).
·      The Knights of Columbus & Mary M. on their Tuesday Night Vigil
·      Charlie, Ray and Jared; the men of the Fab Friday crew
·      The Thursday Ladies, Connie, Patricia, Pat, Linda, Maria and Kathleen
·      The stranger who gave us water bottles on more than one occasion
·      The good neighbors who told us to keep up the good fight.
·      Rebecca, the Avon Lady, who kept vigil next door to the abortuary and allowed us to keep our signs in her windows
·      The boutique: who offered their ongoing prayers.
·      The many individuals who suffered either physically or mentally- for the protection of those on the sidewalk

And most importantly, we showed up with our most powerful advocate…Our Lady.  Thanks for securing that wonderful image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, Sheila.  Her presence spoke volumes.

There is one thing that the people of Planned Parenthood do not understand about Our Mother.  She has an abiding love for her children.  She hates the evil that is abortion and she is imploring us to change our culture at the Calvary that exists in these Planned Parenthood facilities.  She uses her daughters and sons on the sidewalk to remind Planned Parenthood that she is here for them too.  She longs for them with a Mother’s love.  She wants to wrap them in her mantle and take them to herself and show them that they do not need to shed any more innocent blood.  She admonished us to persevere at the sidewalk and she promised that Her Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ would be there with us.

So we followed Our Lady’s direction and we are so happy to know that God heard our prayers.  No longer will this Planned Parenthood at 32nd and Thunderbird offer abortion services.  May God be praised.   Lifesite News Article about the Abortion Changes

We continue to offer prayer and sacrifices for the conversion of all who participate in this abomination.  We have not given up on Jackie, the nurse practitioner, her staff and the other Planned Parenthood Clinics that are still operating. There is room for them in our midst.  There is still some time to change.  I say that with great experience, for I was once like them.   

Our Lady’s initiative of peaceful, prayerful vigil will continue. The clinic website states that they will be offering abortion referrals and the morning after pill, so our work is not yet finished.  But one day…one glorious, blissful day, there will be a “For Lease” sign in the window of the Planned Parenthood clinic at 32nd street and Thunderbird. 

Until THAT day, I’ll see you on the sidewalk.

Under the Mantle,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Study, Alarming Stats, Same Ol' Message...Abortion harms women!

Huge Study Confirms Link between Abortion and Mental Health Problems; Validates Silent No More Women

A study published today by Great Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists concludes that women who have had abortions have an 81% greater chance of subsequent mental health problems.  Leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC), the world’s largest network of individuals harmed by abortion, say that the report validates what many post-abortive women already know.

“This is not just another study.  It’s historic,” said SNMAC co-founder Georgette Forney.  “It combines the results of 22 studies conducted over a 14-year period in six countries involving 877,181 women.  And it confirms what Silent No More members have been saying all along – abortion harms women.”

The study is the first meta-analysis of research conducted on abortion’s impact on mental health.  It found that post-abortive women are 37% more likely to suffer depression, 110% more likely to engage in higher alcohol use, and 155% more likely to engage in suicidal behavior.

“This report is devastating to those who try to deny the hurt and anguish women suffer from abortion,” added Janet Morana, another SNMAC co-founder.  “The cruelty of those who lie to pregnant women about abortion’s impact is compounded by the heartlessness of abortion industry propagandists who dismiss post-abortive women’s pain as non-existent.  After this enormous scientific study, abortion’s apologists should apologize to the millions of women they’ve tried to marginalize.”     

Fr. Frank Pavone, SNMAC Pastoral Director and National Director of Priests for Life, expanded on the report’s impact.  “What I pray will be one of the major results of this study is that more women will realize that they are not alone.  The pain they’ve been internalizing, perhaps for years or decades, is not uncommon; in fact, it’s quite normal.  There is help and there is healing.  I urge them to”

Since the launching of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in 2003, 3,4845 women and men have shared their testimonies publicly at over 865 gatherings in 48 states and ten countries where more than 110,830 attendees have heard the truth about abortion’s negative aftereffects.  More than 10,100 people representing 57 countries are registered to be Silent No More.  Raising awareness about the hurtful aftermath of abortion and the help that is available to cope with the pain are two of the Campaign’s goals.  The Campaign has over 1,300 testimonies posted here, with over 120 that are shared via video! 
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is a joint project of Anglicans for Life and Priests for Life.  For more information, please visit our website: 

Coleman, P.K. (in press). Abortion and Mental Health: A Quantitative Synthesis and Analysis of Research Published from 1995-2009.  British Journal of Psychiatry.

This review offers the largest estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion available in the world literature. The results revealed moderate to high increased risk of mental health problems after abortion. Consistent with evidence-based medicine, this information should be used by health care professionals.  

What are the basic results? What should women know?
1) Overall, women with an abortion history experience an 81% increased risk for mental health problems. The results showed that the level of increased risk associated with abortion varies from 34% to 230% depending on the nature of the outcome. Separate effects were calculated based on the type of mental health outcome with the results revealing the following: the increased risk for anxiety disorders was 34%; for depression it was 37%; for alcohol use/abuse it was 110%, for marijuana use/abuse it was 220%, and for suicide behaviors it was 155%.
2) When compared to unintended pregnancy delivered women had a 55% increased risk of experiencing any mental health problem.
3) Finally, nearly 10% of the incidence of all mental health problems was shown to be directly attributable to abortion.
Why was this meta-analysis conducted?
1) Recently published, less systematic reviews of the scientific literature on abortion and mental health, including the American Psychological Association report and one by Johns Hopkins researchers among others, are prone to bias, and as a result actively mislead the public.
2) Practitioners need an accurate synopsis of the best available evidence in order to provide women with valid information in order to make informed health care decisions.
How is a meta-analysis different from the many other papers and reviews published in recent years? Why should we believe the information from a meta-analysis is any more accurate and reliable or less biased?
1) A meta-analysis is a quantitative or numerical synthesis of data from many previously published studies.
2) In a meta-analysis all studies are not treated equally. Contributions of individual study effects to the overall results are weighted statistically based on sample size.
3) Only studies that meet very stringent methodologically-based criteria are entered into the analysis; whereas in other types of reviews authors may not reveal the criteria employed or the criteria may be too restrictive (missing valuable studies) or too general (including weak studies in conclusions).
4) The bottom line is the results are far more reliable than the results of a single study or a qualitative review, because of the wealth of data incorporated and the objective methods for combining effects.  
Isn’t it possible for meta-analyses to differ in strength and reliability? What distinguishes this one?
1) In order to avoid any allegations of bias, very stringent inclusion criteria were employed. This means every strong study was included and weaker studies were excluded. Specifically, among the rules for inclusion were sample size of 100 or more participants, use of a comparison group, and employment of controls for variables that may confound the effects such as demographics, exposure to violence, prior history of mental health problems, etc.
2) This meta-analysis is based on 22 published studies, 36 effects, and it brings together data on 877,181 participants 163,831 of whom experienced an abortion.
3) The paper is being published in a very prestigious journal, the British Journal of Psychiatry, which is considered one of the top psychiatry journals in the world. This means the paper has been extensively scrutinized by well-respected scientists and the results of studies are trusted by practitioners throughout the world. 

Scar Tissue

A lovely reminder about how we heal.  This article is timely considering a rather humbling wipe out I experienced while on a run about 90 days ago.  Luckily no one was around me to see the carnage of my humiliation (is that necessarily a good thing?).  I had giant strawberries on my elbow, knee and the palms of my hands, the likes of which I had not seen since my softball days in high school.  And I, too, watched in amazement, over a relatively short period of time, how these areas became new again from the inside out.  Truly, Christ heals us from the inside out.

My scars are still visible, but now I now know to avoid the loose gravel like bubonic plague!

Healing —  Burns, Blessings and Sacred Scars
By Margaret Silf (America: February 26, 2007) The pain of a broken
heart is far worse than the pain of a broken leg I put my hand in the
oven a few weeks ago and scorched myself on the heating element. In
normal times this would have been just another domestic accident—a
careless mistake for which my skin paid the penalty. But the times
were not normal. I was in a dark space following the breakdown of a
significant relationship; and this accident became an incident that,
in hindsight, has taken on something of the power of parable. My close
encounter with the grill left me, initially, quite oblivious of the
pain that was about to follow. As so often in these matters, the pain
of trauma is delayed. I recall once slicing off the tip of my finger
with an electric bread slicer (oh, the joy of our high-tech kitchen
aids!) and being genuinely surprised to see the blood issuing from the
wound, and the redesigned shape of my digit. It was a full few minutes
later before the searing pain kicked in.Now, as I reflect back, I can
see the same pattern revealed in the deeper, invisible traumas in our
lives. The initial shock of what has happened simply doesn’t sink in,
and we are granted a short respite of stunned numbness before our
minds and hearts have to begin to deal with the fallout.Needless to
say, my hand soon registered its displeasure at being so undeservedly
barbecued. For a while the wound screamed through my consciousness,
allowing me to think of little else, yet at the same time refusing to
allow itself to be touched with any kind of balm. It sat there, across
my hand, growing daily more livid and leaving me helpless either to
help myself or allow anyone else to help me.I realize now that my more
personal trauma was behaving in much the same way: taking over every
waking thought and every restless dream, yet repelling any attempts at
tender ministration. The wounded animal tends to bite the one who
would feed and care for it. The fact that we belong to that same
animal kingdom is particularly apparent when we are hurting.But then
the matter moved on again. Within a few days the pain began to
subside. It was possible to touch the wound, and to administer
soothing cream to it. I watched, not without a sense of wonder, how my
own body’s self-healing capabilities began to work. The angry redness
faded to a more conciliatory dark pink. The pain became less
insistent. The scorched skin gradually fell away, and I could see this
miraculous process unfolding before my eyes, as a new skin cover was
being created. Everything that had been damaged and destroyed was
being gently set aside, health was being restored, and a new beginning
was being woven. The pain was still there, but it no longer dominated
my mind. I was beginning to focus on the healing process instead, and
even to cooperate with it.The healing of an aching heart and
devastated feelings takes a lot longer than that. Maybe it takes a
lifetime. But my hand seemed to be telling me that healing is the real
thing, and that Dame Julian of Norwich got it right when she said that
“all shall be well.” My hand is teaching my heart to trust the mystery
that is ceaselessly striving for our greater good, out of whatever
facts we present. Day by day my skin has knitted back together, and
now all I have left to show for my destructive adventure is a slight
scar. I’m actually hoping that the scar never completely fades,
because it is something of an icon for me. It leads me through and
beyond itself to the place where I meet the Healer. It will always
remind me that whatever the trauma, the permanent reality in which we
live and move and have our being is about wholeness, not harm. One of
my favorite Scripture texts is the assurance in Jeremiah (29:11-12):
“I know what plans I have in mind for you, plans for peace, not for
disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Our scars are our
reminders, not just that we have been hurt but, more important, that
we have been healed.There is a custom among some Native American
peoples, that when someone is bereaved or suffers any kind of
traumatic loss, that person is invited to go out into the forest
carrying an axe, and to choose a special tree, to represent the aching
space of the loss or the breakdown. Once the tree has been selected,
the bereaved one (for every kind of loss in life is a bereavement),
strikes several sharp blows into the bark of the tree with the axe.
The wounds of the heart are inflicted, both symbolically and actually,
upon the tree. The tree is wounded but not destroyed, and from then on
the one who has suffered the loss is encouraged to visit the tree
regularly, and to be present to its gradual healing, over time, from
the wounds it has suffered. The tree and the mourner become one in
their pain and in their healing until eventually what they share has
become a deep and sacred scar.Our neighbors across the English Channel
enjoy an interesting linguistic quirk. The French word blesser, which
we anglophones are likely to associate with our word blessing,
actually means “to wound.” Since I uncovered this fact in my school
French lessons, I have always subconsciously linked “woundedness” and
“blessing” in my mind. My recent experience confirms that association.
In my darkest hour I begged God in prayer for a glimpse of light, an
angel’s touch, to guide me on. The next day I put my hand in the oven.
And God did the rest.

Margaret Silf lives in Staffordshire, England.
Her latest books are Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for
Everyday Living and the Catholic Press Association award-winning The
Gift of Prayer.