Fr. Frank Pavone
Priests for Life
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September 5, 2007 marks the 10th
anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa. Now declared “Blessed,” she continues
to inspire disciples of Christ worldwide.
My own interaction with her came
shortly after I took leadership of Priests for Life. I asked if I could visit
with her in Calcutta, and spent a week with her in June of 1994 discussing the
new ministry I was leading, and the direction of pro-life strategy overall. Two
events that had recently occurred shaped our conversations.
One was the speech she had
given in February at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. She spoke
in the presence of President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice-President and Mrs. Gore.
It was an unforgettable moment, as this short, humble woman proclaimed to those
"… If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how
can we tell other people not to kill one another?…Any country that accepts
abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what
they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
I told her what an impact the
speech made on the pro-life community. "What about the rest of the American
people?", she asked me at once. She then gave me a homework assignment to
spread the speech far and wide, which Priests for Life has been doing ever
The other recent event we
discussed was that President Clinton had signed in May the “Freedom of Access to
Clinic Entrances” bill, which made it a federal crime to peacefully, physically
obstruct access to the door of an abortion mill. When I explained this new law
to her, she looked at me and said, "Father, if we had laws like that here in
India, I would have been thrown in jail many times! Here I go to the places
where abortions are done and I take the women by the arm and say, ‘Come
with me; we will help you and your child!’
Another striking moment was when
she brought me to one of her homes in Calcutta where prostitutes lived whom she
had rescued from life on the streets. She showed me the blankets they had made.
She was glowing with joy and admiration as she said, “Look, Father, at the
good work these women have done.” Her vision of people’s goodness was not
obscured by any evil they may have done.
She loved the priesthood, and
after hearing me speak about Priests for Life, she sought and obtained an
immediate audience with the local bishop so that the three of us could talk
about how to establish it in India. Later she wrote me saying, “I hope many
priests and deacons will join Priests for Life.” Indeed, the whole pro-life
movement draws strength from Mother Teresa, as together we seek to save the
lives of the poorest of the poor, and free all people from the poverty of
thinking we can abort them.
You are invited to join in a
Novena of Prayer in honor of Mother Teresa from August 27 to September 5. Visit
www.PrayerCampaign.org, where you can download the prayer and also send us your
own story of how Mother Teresa’s life and example has inspired you!