Dear Fr. Pavone -
I’d like to share with you the story of a Mom who risked everything for her child. Her name is Maria and she’s a personal friend of mine. She suffers from a variety of physical disorders, among them anaphylactic food allergies and Lupus. Additionally, she was diagnosed with a rare, progressive and usually terminal lung condition (LAM) during her third pregnancy.
This was confirmed by open surgical lung biopsy at Loyola University’s Foster McGraw Hospital in Chicago suburban Maywood, IL. But all in all, she is just an ordinary Mom who took her extraordinary love for her child and coupled it with her faith. In doing so, God rewarded her with a miraculous healing.
Maria sought treatment for the illnesses which threatened her. Doctor after doctor, five to be exact, pleaded with her to abort her unborn child. She remained faithful. At the conclusion of her third pregnancy, doctors had given up hope of her survival. They only prayed that they could help her hang on until delivery, buying precious time for her growing child. They tried to keep her comfortable. After a dramatic and sudden delivery, Maria begged to have the oxygen mask removed long enough to see her prematurely delivered newborn son face to face as he nursed. They did so. All monitors silenced and her collapsed lungs returned to normal function the moment they removed it. She was disconnected from all medical equipment and recovered, by the grace of God. He also graced her with a beautiful voice propelled by those miraculous lungs!
She had two other children prior to this "miracle child." he told me that when faced with the decision to end her pregnancy in order to optimize her chances of survival she had an unsettling thought. What if, she thought, I do end this pregnancy? What message will they get? These other children of mine could be lead to believe that I value my own life over theirs. A child should never be faced with that possibility, she told me -- a mother’s love by definition is all encompassing, all sacrificing. She told me that her life, if it were to continue after making a choice to end the pregnancy, would be pointless - that no mother can make a louder statement of love than to say "I love you more than life itself."
I cherish this mother as a friend and know that she has taken her love for her children to a heroic degree. Her dedication and integrity are rare qualities in today’s society.
A happy post script to her story is the life she has gone on to live. She wrote a song, called "A Child of Hope," to inspire other women who are faced with similarly hard life decisions. She recorded a CD by the same name. She knows there are many women out there who face desperate decisions. She sings this song, and others like it, with that beautiful voice, the one restored from the brink of death. This is, she believes, how she is divinely called to use the gift given back to her. Sadly, her marriage dissolved after this took place.
She is not discouraged by these negative events. She does all she can to the best of her modest abilities. She gives her children a Catholic Homeschool education, citing her desire to nurture and imbue Catholic values as her most compelling reasons. She is an exceptional woman and mother, whose life is a living tribute to a Mother’s Love - and the ultimate statement of "Pro-Life". Her music and her testimony are powerful and moving. She lives meagerly, relying only on God’s Providence to care for herself and her three young children.
I hope, by sharing this story, to help spread the news of the blessings God has for those who love Him and respect the Life he freely gifts us with.
May He shower you with the same blessings as you continue this vital work.
Mrs. Christine Klamer