Sisters of Life"The pregnant woman who does not want to be a mother is already a mother".

"The Sisters of Life are women consecrated to God through the traditional three vows, whose main mission is to help and accompany pregnant women. Their work, which is carried out in the United States and Canada, has helped save hundreds of lives.

Paloma López Campos-February 11, 2023-Reading time: 8 minutes
Sisters of Life

One of the nuns with a baby (Photo courtesy of Sisters of Life).

Since 1991, smiling women in blue and white habits can be found in the streets of the United States with a very specific mission: to protect life. They are the "Sisters of Life. These nuns go "wherever the Holy Spirit leads" to accompany pregnant mothers at risk of aborting the baby or in situations of great vulnerability, with the aim of becoming mothers themselves who welcome and help these women.

They are very aware that "each person is a story, a present and dreams", so they give themselves daily to all of them. They give diapers, housing, food, etc., but always keeping in mind that "what they really need is God in their life".

In Omnes we spoke with Sister Maria Cristina, who has contacted several religious to be able to answer this interview in which they talk about their mission and experience. As they tell us, their work can be summarized as follows: "Every life is sacred, it is a unique image of God. Every life matters.

What does it mean that all human lives matter?

-Each person, from the moment of conception, is unique and unrepeatable. There has never been another person like him or her, nor will there ever be. Each life is holy. Every life matters! 

Once an elderly lady called, saying that she was expecting quadruplets, that she had gone to a private clinic and was expecting 2 boys and 2 girls. The story sounded very strange and the doctors did not want to take the risk of treating her because they thought it was barbaric and crazy. Because of our fourth vow to defend life, we saw clearly that if the lady was telling the truth, there were 5 lives at stake. We had to defend them all and take the risk of being called crazy. 

The person matters from the moment of conception. Recently, in our graveyard, we buried frozen embryos in pipettes, because the mother had just converted to Catholicism and had realized that she still had several frozen embryos, her children, in the hospital! It was a beautiful ceremony and gave the mother a peace that even she could not have imagined. As a mother, she named her children - she knew how many were boys and girls - and gave them the rest they needed and the peace her own heart needed.

How do you help people to see themselves again as gifts, as children of God?

-It depends. A lot of times we start by inviting them to take their pulse and listen to their heartbeat, then we ask them: "Who calls to life?"

Recognizing that we don't give ourselves a single moment of life - not even one heartbeat - is the first step in knowing that life is a gift. To know that we are small before a God who gives life is the first step. To know that we are dependent on God gives us peace of mind and is an invitation to let Him take care of everything. Our God is a God of eternal life, we are made from and for eternity. 

With some people it is immediate, but with others it takes longer. Many people have not even considered this simple thing. They have to know that their life is a gift and that it is good, to see that their child's life is a gift.  

Listening to the woman without haste, getting to know her and to really know what her worries and fears are... In this process, she is accompanied and friends are sought so that the loneliness that overwhelms them while facing this pregnancy disappears. 

Sometimes, by listening to the person, their life, their successes and failures, their sorrows and joys, you can clearly see how God has been in that person's life and how the baby they are carrying, without internet, cell phone or anything else, is putting new people in their life and giving them the opportunity to dream again and to look at their own future with hope. 

What does your accompaniment consist of?

-Each person who comes to us is a story, a present and dreams. 

A pregnant woman who does not want to become a mother is rejecting the reality that she is already a mother. In every convent the day always begins praying for the most vulnerable and asking God to inspire us in our mission.

When we contact a mother for the first time, the most important thing is to listen to her, to know her, to love her and to remind her of all her good things. She is good and has dignity, that is why we are here to accompany her, to teach her that she has to be respected above all and loved mainly because she is worthy, because she is good, not because we are good. She has been chosen to bring a life into the world, because she is surely a good mother and the life she carries belongs to God.

The spiritual battle that every person experiences is real and it is good to help these people who live trapped by the culture of death to identify God and the enemy, to freely choose what is good for them. 

Sometimes we accompany them to an ultrasound, so they can see and hear the baby's heart for the first time. That heart that sounds like a galloping horse is a cry for freedom. 

Recently, a girl who was very vulnerable to having an abortion told us that her concern was that her parents were on their way to the United States and they were living on the streets of Mexico City and had not eaten for days. Well, God opens doors, and we got food for them and a shelter so they would not be on the streets, until they could continue their journey. 

Accompanying them to high-risk pregnancy consultations is really an invitation to a sacred moment, a moment of total vulnerability, of absolute poverty where, only at the feet of Jesus Crucified with Mary, we can learn, without forgetting that it is there that God saves the world. 

Sister Maria Cristina with a newborn baby

In the middle of Covid, we received an email asking for prayers for a girl who was in a coma after giving birth and was going to be disconnected because she had been this situation for weeks. We immediately contacted them and told them not to do anything until we went to the hospital. God opened doors, as the Covid visitor control system and access was blocked. We got to the room and there was the girl, plugged into I don't know how many machines. The family told us that she was Catholic and this gave us permission to call the hospital chaplain to visit her and give her the Anointing of the Sick. While we waited, we prayed the Rosary, and at each Our Father saying "lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil," the girl would grunt. It is that the temptation to avoid suffering, despair, is for everyone. Two days later, we were told that her organs began to function and, in a short time, she was at home with her children.  

We love going to deliveries and c-sections too! And sometimes, it's just in the hope of baptizing that little boy or girl who comes with some rare disease and no hope of life, and celebrating their first breath and that they have made it to Heaven. Wouldn't this be celebrating the life of a saint?

How can a woman find God in the midst of a crisis such as an unexpected pregnancy or when there is no one to support her?

-The crisis is not living reality. Helping her to embrace reality and live it well is the challenge.

"Sisters of Life" with some of the women they accompany.

The enemy attacks these girls in several ways: loneliness, fear and accusation. To fight against loneliness, we accompany them, either ourselves or collaborators, in their daily lives, at medical appointments. We bring them food, we welcome them for a few days in a house, we take them out of situations of domestic violence, we go with them out of the city to breathe fresh air, without the pressure of the cell phone, noise and rush... We go wherever they need and the Holy Spirit guides us. We help them to heal relationships with family and friends, through forgiveness, which sometimes takes time.

We help them to name their fears and to manage them so that they do not block them, because fear is not from God. Sometimes these are fears and shame before pregnancy, or a child that comes with a disease... Fears can be diverse, but the sower is always the same, the enemy, and the solution is to trust in God.

We want them to recognize their identity as daughters of God, this brings a lot of healing. This identity can be hidden and forgotten if the girl was baptized. Sometimes we have to start from zero, explaining to them that they are the creatures of a Creator who is Love and Life. Here we attend women of all religions, or who have no religion, but no one gives a second of life to herself.

Each person is a world! And it is an adventure to meet and accompany them.

What support do you offer to women and their children?

-Restoring their dignity and identity is the best thing we can do for them. Recognizing that life is a gift, both theirs and that of the baby they are expecting. They can be given diapers, cribs, strollers, etc., but what they really need is God in their life.

For those women who have suffered an abortion, we help them through this grief by starting with naming the child. 

A pregnant woman, whether she is a mother and cares for her child, has an abortion or gives her child up for adoption, is a mother. Therefore, we help her to be a mother in all these circumstances. We have a mission: hope and healing. For those who went through abortion, we help them to name their child, to grieve, to celebrate Mother's Day in peace, and to forgive themselves and those who did not give them hope and led them to have an abortion.

You also work with young people in universities, why? From a spiritual point of view, what are young people most often looking for?

-Young people leave home and go to university, often far from home and family, and they need a motherly presence that listens to them. We are mothers! And consecrated life in the habit is a vocation and a public witness, which helps them to consider their own vocation, which always begins with knowing that they are beloved sons and daughters of God, worthy. We help young people to know their dignity, to learn to be respected, to live chastity and not to let themselves be used. The opposite of love is not hatred, but being used.

College girls who become pregnant are very tempted to have abortions, because they think that their life and professional future are over. In addition, the debts that many students take on here when they enter college are very large.

People are searching for love and meaning, for an answer to the questions in their hearts. They are trying to find a meaning for their suffering. The great questions of life... What is authentic love? Am I capable of it? How can I discern it? Worship, look to Jesus, He is the answer to all the desires of our hearts.

You organize vocational retreats, how can a woman find her vocation? What is the main question she should ask herself if she is considering joining your congregation?

-Vocation is a call from God. It is good to have time to listen to God, therefore, we must give women time to listen. Vocation is giving life and we have to find out in what way God invites us to give it. When God calls you, you know it. 

The religious vocation is above all a spousal vocation with the Lord, with a spiritual motherhood that leads you to give your life to others for the love of Christ. In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, we take a fourth vow to defend life.

If someone is interested in our order, they should contact us and start a relationship. We do not kidnap anyone here. They should not be afraid to contact us and get to know us. On our website you can fill out a questionnaire that does not oblige you to anything.

If God calls her, God will give her the grace she needs to continue.

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