We continue here our series highlighting the members of the Priests for Life Family who serve on our staff and pastoral team.
I was raised in a wonderful Catholic family, at one point called The Fabulous Finn Family (for our pro-life work). My parents are John and Sherry Finn, and I have five great siblings. We did pro-life work as a family, praying in front of abortion clinics, my mom offering help to the women arriving, and us kids marching and praying with our dad with pro-life signs. Thankfully, we were given a great foundation of faith and being actively pro-life.
In my early twenties, I drifted from the narrow road, and got pregnant out of wedlock. I had some people ask me if I wanted to get an abortion, but thankfully because of the pro-life work our family did when I was young, I knew I didn’t want to abort my baby, and also to cause myself regret for the rest of my life. I came home a prodigal daughter with a baby in my womb, and thankfully, my family loved and helped me. I decided to place my baby for adoption in order to have a mom and dad who were ready to raise a child. And so through a Catholic adoption agency, I found a wonderful couple for my baby. My pregnancy went by fast, and I was able to give the best gift possible to a great couple yearning for a second baby to adopt.
After giving birth to Marianna, my life went on a beautiful path, one that I’ve been on the past 30 years. I immediately started volunteering on a hotline for pregnant moms, and helping in a crisis pregnancy center. I've been blessed to help many pro-life organizations grow their funding and staff, and to work in many different aspects of pro-life ministry for my whole adult life. I’ve been blessed to help many moms and personally save the lives of many babies, some of whom are now adults and I know them and their families.
We got reunited with Marianna when she was 19, and have enjoyed visiting with her many times at big family events, and her usually attending with her adoptive dad, Jerry. This past summer, Jerry and I actually gave a talk together about adoption, me as the birth mother, and him the adoptive dad. Every time I see Jerry, he cries for a moment, about how thankful he and his wife are to have Marianna in their family, and how blessed he is to be part of my family.
I met my husband, Tom, in pro-life work and we’ve continued to do ministry together for many years with our four sons.
Priests for Life is one of the organizations I am blessed to have been part of the early days of growth. I met Fr. Frank at a Human Life International conference and told him of my past work with Operation Rescue and that I was going to work for a group in D.C. With a smile, he said, "You're not going to work in D.C. . . . you're going to work in New York with Priests for Life." That's what ended up happening!
I was Fr. Frank's first full-time missionary in Port Chester, and was blessed to work with him in the one-room PFL office in the parish rectory. I helped Fr. Frank implement some fundraising practices and then to start hiring paid staff to help with office work and the data base. I have precious memories of all those early workers and key volunteers. I remember visiting Janet's home where she had the 'PFL resource department' neatly organized and productive in the basement of her home. I was blessed to travel with Fr. Frank and another pro-life leader to do some work with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. I took the photo you often see of Fr. Frank and Mother Teresa sitting on a bench visiting (inside her Mother House foyer next to the drinking well).
We all know Fr. Frank is a very hard and efficient worker. In those early days, I would tell him he needed to slow down a bit and relax so he wouldn't get burned out. He would say, "I can't relax while the killing is going on. If I try to relax, that only tires me out. I need to keep focused on ending abortion." To my knowledge, he has never gotten burned out. I also remember in those early days Fr. Frank would travel with a suitcase without wheels -- lugging it here and there. He couldn't be bothered with finding a suitcase with wheels. I'm sure he now has wheels on his suitcase!
I'm so blessed to see the growth and impact Priests for Life has accomplished the past 25+ years. I know the work is vital and many hearts and lives are being touched. The battle rages on, and Fr. Frank and Janet are incredible warriors and leaders who should be prayed for and encouraged at all times.