Tag Archives: hope

Making ‘Room at the Inn’

Side-by-side on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, Louisiana, two buildings are in a life and death standoff. In the brick Planned Parenthood building, patient services center around impairing a woman’s reproductive system. Six recovery rooms remain vacant awaiting a license to perform abortions. “We definitely built this so we can provide abortions,” CEO of the abortion giant, Cecile Richards, announced last year.

Immediately beside it to the east, standing taller and brighter is the shiny glass building, Hope Woman’s Clinic, offering a full range of health care for the entirety of the woman, mind, body and soul. And in the heart of the building is the St. Clare Blessed Sacrament Chapel where daily Mass is offered and the power of Jesus Christ emanates to the staff to treat women of any faith and to build a culture of life.

Planned Parenthood opened for business last May, over a year later than projected, thanks to construction delays that Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans helped create. He had warned that any person or business helping with the Planned Parenthood building would not work for the Archdiocese. “We cannot cooperate with evil,” he stated.

Prime Location – Beside Planned Parenthood

The Hope Woman’s Clinic opened directly next door in October of this year. They do not want to just steal customers; they want to care for women in a way to prevent them from ever turning to Planned Parenthood.

According to the chief executive officer and attorney Angie Thomas, “The Hope Woman’s Clinic is unique in that we have paired together a full-service women’s clinic with an outreach to women in unplanned pregnancies.”

She explained that it is an extension of the Woman’s New Life Center (WNLC), which has expanded and flourished in large part due to the support of many Legates. “We can’t do this work without their help,” she said. “We don’t get half a billion dollars in government funding, and this is not a lucrative business.”

Helping Women and Children Thrive – A Brief History

In 2001, WNLC opened in New Orleans around the corner from an abortion facility, offering counseling and resources to women in unplanned pregnancies. When Hurricane Katrina shut down the abortion business in 2005, WNLC relocated right next to another abortion business in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

The new center proved that location, location, location, is key. Many babies survived because their abortion-minded mothers took a detour after seeing signs for counseling and information, or they were handed brochures explaining the truth. That same formula for success continued when a second WNLC opened in Baton Rouge immediately next to another abortion provider.

In 2015, WNLC expanded their health care services to open Hope Woman’s Clinic in the Metairie location. The expanded services included routine wellness exams and reproductive health solutions, even teaching natural family planning. When the Metairie abortion business closed and Planned Parenthood began building in New Orleans, the Hope Woman’s Clinic followed close behind. The land adjacent to Planned Parenthood was donated for the Hope Woman’s Clinic 5,800-square-foot building, and $2.2 million was raised through a fundraising campaign.

Better Care Promotes Total Well-Being

“By meeting women where they are at and becoming their medical provider, we help them to understand their bodies and to flourish,” Thomas said. “Everything we do is in line with the Church. She explained that the clinic’s doctor, Susan Caldwell, is a primary care physician trained in NaPro Technology which stands for Natural Procreative Technology, a new way to diagnose and treat reproductive and gynecological health that is effective, scientific and moral.

Caldwell previously worked for 10 years in an outpatient clinic. Once she learned that hormonal contraception–whether prescribed for birth control or a physical problem— was bad medicine, she became committed to helping women find a better way. “NaPro gives us a way to read a women’s signs to design a diagnostic strategy to bring healing for things like polycystic ovarian disease and endometriosis,” Caldwell said.

She explained that women are cared for beyond their reproductive cycles to include the whole person—from cholesterol and blood pressure to anxiety or depression. “We are focused on showing other doctors and patients that this is better care,” she said. “It can be done.”

There are certainly challenges to thinking, such as when mothers bring their teenage daughters in for birth control, women needing treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, or the case of an exotic dancer worried about her health since she had relationships with multiple partners but with no pregnancies. “We invite the women to think differently about themselves and about sex,” Caldwell said. “We give them the message: ‘You can make a better choice. You can better understand your body and your dignity and decide not to let someone hurt you with an STD or unplanned pregnancy.’” She also helps women to understand that sex and babies go together and that the well-being of the baby is important.

Spiritual Compassion

Father Joseph Doyle is the rector of the Josephite seminary in Washington, D.C. but had served as one of three chaplains for the New Orleans Legatus Chapter for 15 years, was the principal of the all-black St. Augustine High School, and also volunteered with WNLC and
Hope Woman’s Clinic.

“Often women came to see us instead of going into the abortion clinic and then came back later with their babies,” Father Doyle said. He recalled a woman who came out of the abortion facility in tears because they would not accept her credit card. “A prayer warrior asked her why she was crying and invited her to our clinic,” Father Doyle said. “She ended up keeping her baby.”

Legate Advocacy and Support

Father Doyle described abortion as the defining issue of our time and credited Legatus as being an organization with a passion for life offering important support. Many from the New Orleans chapter have been involved.

David Lukinovich, president of the Baton Rouge Chapter and owner and president of Lukinovich Law (APLC), a law firm specializing in wealth conservation planning, said that he and his wife Kim first listened to Susan Mire, the founder of the WNLC, at a Legatus chapter meeting. “She talked about how entrepreneurship is part of the Gospel message,” he said. “She also shared her vision for crisis pregnancy centers.”

Lukinovich explained that things quickly fell into place from the start. “For instance, Susan prayed to the Blessed Mother for a phone system and the next day, Legate Steven Hubbell offered her a phone system that he no longer needed.” Lukinovich helped set up the WNLC as a 501(c)3 and was instrumental in land and building purchases.

Legates Jack and Anne Dardis have opened their home to a woman who comes to train natural family planning instructors and they had a group of medical professionals from Costa Rica stay with them during their training. According to Jack, advocating for life is a core value. “If we get a change there, we will have more people and more opportunity for money and help going to social justice causes.”

Gordon and Ann Stevens were involved with WNLC from the very beginning. Ann, a former Right to Life president of New Orleans, met Susan Mire while WNLC was still just an idea.

“This is a grassroots movement,” Ann explained. “There are so many people committed to life in New Orleans because the Catholic faith is strong here, although it crosses to other faiths.”

To her, a sign that God is supporting their pro-life efforts is that despite the expense and scarcity of land in the areas where the abortion businesses have located, they have been able to move right next door. “God knows this problem is far greater than we can solve, but he wants us to be there to represent hope,” Ann said. “It’s His plan; we just have to show up.”

PATTI MAGUIRE ARMSTRONG is a Legatus contributing writer.

Hope for the World

Guillaume D’Alançon
Ignatius Press, 2016
123 pages, paperback $14.95

In a thorough book-length interview subtitled To Unite All Things in Christ, Cardinal Raymond Burke offers his insights on the role of the Catholic Church in the modern world, the liturgy, spiritual renewal, marriage and family, respect for human life, and more. He recounts his own upbringing in a devout Catholic family, his early priestly years and his service as a bishop in the U.S. and Rome.

A great canonist with long pastoral experience, he treats difficult subjects with clarity and directness. His lucid and straightforward answers help with understanding the essential moral and spiritual challenges of today.

Order: Ignatius PressAmazon

Faith, Hope, and Clarity

ZimakFaith, Hope, and Clarity
Gary Zimak
Servant Books, 2015
144 pages, $14.99 paperback

Young Christians always struggle with discerning God’s will for their lives, and most adults grapple with good decision-making. In his new book subtitled How to Know God’s Will, Zimak looks at tried-and-true methods for discovering God’s will for our lives — prayer, scripture, the lives of the saints, Church teachings, seeking counsel from trusted friends and mentors, and St. Ignatius’ rules for discernment.

Zimak addresses the big, life-changing decisions and the many small, day-to-day choices that influence the course of our lives. He offers practical advice on accepting difficult circumstances and truly embracing God’s will amid life’s ups and downs.

Order: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Ambassadors of hope

Legatus members are spreading the faith and giving hope to thousands in Africa . . .

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

One of the things that struck me about the aftermath of 9/11 was how quickly Americans came together. Black and white, young and old, religious and atheist — even conservatives and liberals — all worked together. We left politics aside to mourn and rebuild.

There’s something about a crisis that brings people together. The outpouring of support for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti is the most recent example. People from around the world are still working together to save as many lives as possible in one of the deadliest earthquakes in human history. At press time, the official estimate of dead was 200,000. Two million were homeless. The quake affected more than 3 million people.

The Holy Father asked Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services to spearhead the Catholic Church’s response to the quake. CRS has pledged $25 million in aid, and it could go higher. On Jan. 19, the agency had collected $13.1 million for relief efforts, including a second collection requested by the U.S. bishops.

For many of us, Haiti opened our eyes and hearts to the poverty in our own hemisphere. Haiti’s capital city, so devastated by the quake, is only 710 miles from Miami. The tragedy has allowed us all to become “ambassadors of hope,” like the Legatus members who are working to build the Church in Africa.

Like Haiti, many African nations suffer from lack of education and opportunity. Although some of the poverty stems from corrupt governments, there are tremendous opportunities to make a difference at the grass roots level.

Pope Benedict XVI believes the Church is making great progress in building stability and peace on the continent. He presided over a special synod for African bishops last October. The three-week assembly of bishops pondered the theme “The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.”

“The synod has forcefully reemphasized — and has manifested — that the Church is the Family of God, in which there cannot be ethnic, linguistic or cultural divisions,” the Pope said at the synod’s closing. “I encourage you with the words of the Lord Jesus: Be salt and light in the beloved African land!”

Legatus members like Chuck Ormsby Jr., Christopher Hoar, and Art Wigchers are doing just that. They’ve committed their time, talent and financial blessings to partnering with African communities. The impact of their efforts will last for generations.

Ormby’s organization is digging wells, and building a school and church. Hoar’s group is aiding orphans and providing educational opportunities. Their work is providing hope where there was little. And it’s giving rise to a new generation of Catholics who will, God willing, spread the Gospel to the entire world.

Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.

Does earthly success equal spiritual failure?

According to Webster, “beatitude” means perfect blessedness or happiness. But when you read the beatitudes, you seemingly find anything but happiness. It is the poor, the hungry, the weeping and the persecuted who are blessed in the sight of God. In Luke’s gospel (Lk 6:20-26), Jesus even adds woes for those who are rich, full, mirthful and popular. It would appear that worldly success inevitably leads to spiritual misery.

I once heard a preacher say that many of God’s people look more like they’ve been baptized in pickle juice than in water. Is this holiness? Is piety all about being miserable, unsuccessful and glum? What are we to make of Jesus’ alarming words?

The last thing we ought to do is to tame Jesus’ hard sayings. The Lion of Judah does not respond favorably when we try to domesticate him. But neither should we be literalists and interpret the beatitudes out of context.

Jeremiah helps us see what Jesus is getting at in the Beatitudes: “Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord” (Jer 17:5-8 ). Whether our possessions happen to be money, a business, a spouse, or children, they become an obstacle when we find our security and sense of self-worth in them. Our ultimate security can only be in one place, and our natural tendency is to look for it in someone or something we can see. To look for security in an invisible “Someone” is more than natural — it’s supernatural. To do this we need supernatural gifts called faith and hope.

Faith is really about finding our ultimate security and identity in God’s love, protection and help. Is it wrong to take pleasure in a growing business or a loving spouse? No. But to find your security in them sets you up for heartbreak. Ask the investor in Florida real estate who bought big just before the market plummeted.

The supernatural virtue of hope is about what you are looking forward to in the future, being more excited about the promise of heaven than any earthly blessing. Is it wrong to look forward to a vacation in Europe, moving up in the company, or your child graduating from college? Not at all. But if you think you will find your ultimate fulfillment in these things, you are under a great illusion. Ask the upwardly mobile executive who climbs to the top of the corporate ladder only to find emptiness there. Saint Paul said it well: “If our hopes in Christ are limited to this life only, we are the most pitiable of men” (1 Cor 15:19).

We’ve all been given the supernatural gifts of faith and hope in baptism. But these two virtues are like spiritual muscles that must be exercised and developed. If you don’t use them, you lose them. And the only way to grow them is to put some stress on them. This hurts, of course.

So what have you done lately to develop faith and hope? Or better yet, are you grateful for the challenges God has permitted in your life in order to help you develop your faith and hope? Losses in business, declines in health, disappointments in relationships — these can all be seen as just so many lamentable annoyances … or as opportunities to grow.

When faith and hope are well developed, they impart a kind of strength and joy that cannot be taken away by the trials and tribulations that devastate superficial happiness. Saint Francis of Assisi had no possessions and was in constant pain in the last few years of his life, yet he was one of the most joyful persons that ever lived. That’s because faith and hope matured in him and produced beatitude here and glory in the age to come.

The beatitudes do not demand a morose Christianity. They are all about laying the foundations of an unshakable joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio is a Texas-based business owner and theologian. He has spoken to numerous Legatus chapters across the country.

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The Beatitudes and woes (Luke 6:21-26)

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you that hunger, for you shall be satisfied.

Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.

Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil because of the Son of Man! Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger.

Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.