Our Lady of the Wayside

Our Lady of the Wayside
Protect Expectant Mothers and Their Babies

We Love Pope Benedict XVI

We Love Pope Benedict XVI
Love God. Love the Holy Father. Love Life from Conception till Natural Death.

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Thursday, 4 December 2014

Saint Gianna Molla, Brought to Sanctity Under the Mantle of Our Lady of Good Counsel




I was recently asked to speak about St Gianna Molla, widely seen as a patroness of expectant mothers, unborn children and difficult pregnancies. Researching St Gianna's life was fascinating and really helped me to appreciate this amazing woman. I have included some of my favourite bits of her life here, but there is so much I have left out, her truly Catholic childhood, her Catholic apostolates, her pro-life philosophy of medicine and the beautiful account her husband gives of their courtship and marriage. (Ladies, take note of who you meet on Marian Feast days!)
Gianna Molla once said, “If during the struggles to carry out our vocation, we should have to die, that would be the most beautiful day of our life.” And if you know any one thing about Gianna Molla, you probably know that she gave up her life to save the life of her unborn baby. A sacrifice like that doesn’t come out of nowhere, or out of a life lived selfishly. As much as any Mother may want to do everything to preserve the life of her child, it is never the less astoundingly heroic  to be able to choose this sacrificial path when the Mother has 3 other young children who will be left Motherless.

Both Gianna and her husband Pietro came from large Italian Catholic families. Gianna had a great love for the most vulnerable, the elderly, expectant Mothers and their babies, born and pre-born. She worked both as a GP and also as a paediatrician. As she saw medicine as an apostolate, it is unsurprising that she considered for some time the idea of becoming a medical missionary. Her elder brother, Fr Alberto, was a missionary doctor in the southern Amazon region of Brazil. And he was struggling with little resources and few volunteers to provide medical assistance to the local people. This idea was eventually ruled out for Gianna by the fact that her own health was not up to it and also that in the light of this, her confessor advised her that her vocation was Marriage. From then on she embraced this vocation to Marriage “quite deliberately” according to her husband.
Gianna and Pietro's meeting, courtship and engagement is a beautiful story in itself, deserving of a post of it's own. But the couple settled joyfully into a really Christian Marriage. Soon they had their first child Pierluigi in 1956, followed by Mariolina in 1957 and Laura in 1959. Each pregnancy was very difficult and in the third pregnancy she suffered from some kind of poisoning and was taken into hospital as an emergency case, but she made a full recovery. Two miscarriages followed this pregnancy, but, regarding these children as treasures in heaven the Mollas were not deterred from having more children.
Pietro said of Gianna's joy in her children,

Gianna was a joyful person, but when a child was born, her joy was full and perfect. Nothing was lacking. She was radiant. From the beginning of our Marriage she prepared herself with prayer to create the most welcoming, the most serene environment for our children.
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Then there was the Consecration to Our Lady. We lived in Ponte Nuovo, and two minutes away was a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. At the end of each child’s baptism, at Gianna’s request, I read an act of Consecration to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Gianna was devoted to her, and I think that her final choices were brought to maturity in the shadow of the Madonna of Good Counsel. (You can find prayers to our Lady of Good Counsel here)




Then in September 1961, Gianna was diagnosed with a fibroid tumour in the womb it was non-malignant and after a seemingly successful operation, Gianna went home and carried on with the pregnancy. Normal medical practise could have removed the disease uterus and thus removed the threat to Gianna’s health, this would have resulted in an unintended side effect of the death of her child however and so Gianna had instructed the doctor instead to place the baby’s life before her own.

How fully she knew the risk she was taking, or when she knew it is unclear. But Pietro recalls

You so desired another child. You prayed and asked that the Lord would hear you. The Lord heard you, but this Divine Grace required the sacrifice of your life.

Many times you asked yourself whether you were a worry to me. You said that never as then did you need tenderness and understanding.

I heard not a word from you in all those long months about your awareness as a physician of what was ahead of you. Certainly, this was to keep me from suffering.

I watched you silently tidying up every corner of our house, every drawer, every dress, every personal object day after day as if for a long trip. But I did not dare to ask myself why.

Only a few days before the birth, in a firm and at the same time peaceful tone, with a profound gaze I have never forgotten, you declared to me: “If you have to decide between me and the baby, there is to be no hesitation. Choose the baby. I demand it. Save it!”

From that moment I, too, trembled and suffered with you.

He goes on to say:
“in your humility, and above all in the fullness of your trust in Providence, you were convinced that you were not committing an act of injustice towards our 3 children, because in that painful circumstance the one who had primary and indispensable need of you was the baby in your womb; and despite considering your duty to the upbringing of our children was no less serious than the duty of guaranteeing that they came to life after conception, you had complete trust in Providence regarding their education and their formation if the new pregnancy requested the sacrifice of your life.”

Indeed Gianna was fully aware of the sacredness of human life and had remarked,

              Woe to those young people who do not accept the vocation of Motherhood.

Of her own sacrifice she formally offered it to God saying

                “Yes, I have prayed so much in these days. With faith and hope I have entrusted myself in the Lord....I trust in God, Yes; but now it is up to me to fulfil my duty as a Mother. I renew to the Lord the offer of my life. I am ready for everything, to save my baby.”

Gianna’s last days in Pietro’s words,

Holy Saturday morning we had the incredible joy; the Divine gift of the child we awaited – Gianna Emmanuela.

A few hours later, your sufferings began, extraordinary, beyond your strength, sufferings which made you continually call on your Mother, who was already in Heaven.

You knew you had to die, and you felt the torment of leaving all our children who were so young, but you did not admit that to me.

When you took our little infant in your arms, you looked at her so affectionately, with a look that betrayed your unspeakable suffering at not being able to look after her, to raise her, to see her again.

But even in that moment there was no hint to me that you were afraid and much less certain you had to die. Only to Sr Maria Eugenia Crippa, ...did you say when you entered there;

                “Sister, here I am; I am here to die this time.”

And you said it – by testimony of Sr Maria Eugenia, “With a look of sorrow for the life you regretted leaving, but at the same time with calm. A true model of the heroic mother.” I remember everything you said to me Wednesday morning, with such a gentle serenity that it seemed almost other worldly:

                “Pietro, I’m cured now. Pietro, I was already over there and do you know what I saw? Someday I will tell you. But because we were so happy, we were too comfortable with our marvellous babies, full of health and grace, with all the blessings of heaven, they sent me down here, to suffer still, but it is not right to come to the Lord without enough suffering.”

This was and remains for me your testament of joy and suffering.

Then there were still greater sufferings.

You desired to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, at least on your lips, even Thursday and Friday, when you could no longer swallow the Sacred Particle. Beside you was a holy priest, Fr Olinto Marella.

The Lord could not attend to my weeping, my supplication, my prayers as I served Fr Marella’s Mass in the Hospital church, holding back my tears with difficulty. He could not attend to the prayers of our babies, of that holy priest, of our many dear ones who felt anguish for your life, as if you were a member of their own family. You repeated many times in your agony:

                “Jesus, I Love You, Jesus, I Love You.”

Wednesday evening you had asked to go back to our house. Saturday morning you came to your final agony.

Perhaps you, too, heard the voice of your babies, who were waking up in the next room. Almost at that very moment you went up to heaven with the saints.

Gianna’s canonisation was a first many times over she was the first married laywoman to be canonised, the first to have her husband and children present at her canonisation. She was the first canonised woman physician and the first canonised working mother, at a time when women with a professional career and young children were not so common.
Her husband Pietro died on Holy Saturday, the day Gianna Emmanuela was born, some 48 years later in 2010.
Her first miracle occurred in the hospital in Brazil where her brother, Fr Alberto worked, and where she had once dreamt of being a missionary.
Fr Alberto's cause for beatification has already been opened and there is a suggestion that Pietro Molla's cause also be examined.
Please support today's Mothers in difficult pregnancies who are tempted to abort by supporting the Good Counsel Network.
Clare McCullough


Monday, 15 September 2014

My GCN-Leaving Obituary. Also published under the title, ‘An Honour? Seriously??’ by Charis Willey


If you have any inclination toward joining the Good Counsel Intern Programme Charis' blog should give you a picture of what it's like, warts and all!

 So, under intense pressure from Clare in the shape of threats to withdraw my good reference and just general messages every couple of days telling me to sit down and do it, and (most recently) the declaration that God told her I have to, I have sat down to write my leaving blog. Here it is, so grab a cuppa, kick back and relax, and read my scrawl!

   When I left Good Counsel Network, I was told by a member of staff who shall remain nameless that it had been a great honour for me to be there and that everyone had done very well to put up with me for all that time (that person knows who they are and I saw the perfect sign for them the other day which read: ‘The National Sarcasm Society: like we need your help’ ;) ), and that, in a nutshell, is the essence of my time at Good Counsel. It was indeed a great honour to stand outside abortion ‘clinics’ for hours on end in the blistering heat and freezing cold rain (Not simultaneously. Except sometimes). Oh, and did I mention to get shouted at by random passers-by? And ignored by most of the others?

   And I was humbled with joy at the honour of getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning to make the long journey from the intern house to the vigil in time for eight. And at participating in two 40 Days for Life campaigns where basically for a month and a half of your life you get almost no sleep, spend hours travelling to vigil sites, develop ear strain and thumb twitches from pleading with volunteers by call and text to come pray, develop abnormal eating patterns, and then you collapse at the end. Only to start a 'normal' (i.e.all-year-round  -ed) vigil again at eight the next day.
   And it was an honour to have to calculate whether you can actually afford to buy a coffee to get warm after a winter vigil shift because £60/week can disappear fast in London! (But the good news is I discovered that if you go to the same Pret often enough you get free coffee sometimes . J ) So what on earth possessed me to stay for a year, a whole nine extra months when I only came for three??

    Because it was an honour to get to walk mothers through a difficult time in their lives. To help mothers who have had abortions towards healing. And it was an honour to get to hold the babies who otherwise wouldn’t be there. To be a part of the story of people whose lives are going to change the world somehow just because they got the chance to live. It was an honour to get to daily Mass and Adoration. It was an honour to get to know people at the vigil, in the office, and even on their way into an abortion centre before they changed their minds, who I can honestly say are the most inspiring and amazing people I ever met or maybe ever will. It was an honour to be part of the Good Counsel family and forge friendships I know will last a lifetime.

   It was an honour to learn to love the rosary like never before—praying it for hours outside the ‘clinics’ each day and then the intern rosary in the evening changes you! It was an honour to live by faith when there was no money left and yet you knew that this was God’s work and somehow He was going to provide what was needed. And to grow in every way beyond what you thought you ever would by doing things you never thought you could (Organising and MC-ing for an event Lila Rose was speaking at, seriously?!). It was an honour in uncountable ways to be part of the mission at Good Counsel for a time and I know that it has changed me for the good in so many ways (and hopefully knocked years off my time in purgatory!).

   On the putting up with me front, well, I would have said it was the other way round..! But maybe I can’t really comment on the subject of putting up with myself from someone else’s point of view; it’s something slightly outside my range of experience. Maybe it’s because I was always late for everything… Or would start ‘just one more job’ as everyone was trying to close the office and go home for the evening… Or procrastinate endlessly about things… Or would grumble loudly about going to vigils…

    However, leaving such issues to one side, my three-months-that-became-a-year at Good Counsel is now over and I’m away doing other things. What did I actually achieve? Nothing that earth shaking; I just played a small part in a small organisation that’s saving lives one mother and baby at a time. Basically, I am a drop in the ocean, but, as Mother Teresa said, the ocean would be missing something without my drop. So yes, if you were wondering about going to a vigil or joining the intern programme, you should! It will be the hardest and best thing you ever do. So let’s all be drops that will build into a deluge and turn our country and our world PRO-LIFE! I can tell you, it is an honour.
For more information on joining the intern programme email us at fredathome2@yahoo.co.uk and see our website.

 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Humbled by a Six Year Old Boy & by a 24 week Pregnant Women‎

I once wrote in a blog post about counselling outside Whitfield Street abortion centre in the cold. Kicking my feet together to keep warm and feeling sorry for myself. I found myself being humbled when a‎ 'little old lady' arrived opposite the centre to pray, and promptly knelt down on the very cold pavement!

I was telling a few people that the 6-8am slot on the 24 hours a day, 40 Days for Life vigil in Ealing is one of the harder times to arrange for people to be there praying. I said, I'd even gone myself at that time couple of times. No sooner had I said this than a 24 week Pregnant women pipes-up and says, "Yes, I had to get up at 4am to get there on public transport to join my husband there at 6am, he'd already been there most the night." This just didn't make my jumping into the car at 5.30am sound half so good.

It was nice that after listening to a young Married Muslim couple talk about keeping their Baby, in spite of ‎genuine death threats from her Family, at the 'Cast the Vision' opening event, a six year old signed-up to be called to come and pray at the vigil. As he didn't have a mobile of his own, Charis, a Good Counsel intern telephoned his Mother on Friday. When he was put on the phone, he said he was quite busy on Saturdays with other activities, so he'd come on Monday for one and a half hours in the afternoon, as he does not have extra activities on a Monday! Very business like.

So just sign-up to pray in Ealing or at another 40 Days‎ for Life vigil or another Good Counsel vigil or even a Helpers of God's Precious Infants vigil. Just come along to help save lives & Souls.

Please donate to support the Mothers that choose Life for their Children.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Fundraising Job Opportunity at Good Counsel



Guild of Our Lady

of Good Counsel

P.O. Box 46679, London NW9 8 ZT



 


Fundraising Co-ordinator Required

For March 2014           0.6 post  (hours negotiable)

Salary:  circa £25,000 (pro rata)

 

The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel, a Catholic charity, is a life-affirming women’s organisation which offers a free pregnancy test, free advice, medical information, practical help and moral support to women seeking abortion.

We offer women highly practical help and moral support which they may need to keep their child, from accommodation and financial help, baby clothes and nappies, to friendship, on-going support and advice as well as planning for the future. As a Catholic charity, staff at The Guild offer their time and work to Jesus through Mary.

Due to the high demend for our services, and the subsequent costs, we require a fundraiser who can focus on helping us to meet those costs.

We are looking for someone who is committed to the work of the charity and who has some experience of fundraising, including online fundraising. The successful applicant will have excellent communication skills and the ability to build and maintain good relationships with people from a wide variety of organisations.

Whilst based at our London office, there will be the opportunity for some working from home. Some unsocialable hours such as evenings and weekends may be involved.

 

For further information and an application form, or for an infomal discussion about the role, please email fredathome2@yahoo.co.uk. Closing date for applications:  1st March 2014

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Pro-Life History: London Pro-Lifers & the Closure of A Marie Stopes Abortuary 1994

A little of London's Pro-Life history, and the closure of a London m*r*e stopes abortuary to encourage you as we continue to hope and pray that more abortion "clinics" in London will close. Join us in prayer here

Sunday Telegraph 27th February 1994: "STOPES SHUTS ABORTION CLINIC"
“After 10 years in the front line of the fight between abortionists and pro-life campaigners, the Marie Stopes clinic in Cricklewood, London closes today”.
 

What joy those headlines were to us pro-lifers in 1994!

On Saturday the 26th February 1994 a small group of regular prayerful protestors who prayed at the Marie Stopes site in Cricklewood arrived to be greeted by a Sunday Telegraph reporter who asked us how we felt about the closure of this facility that same weekend. We did not believe her and we tried not to engage in conversation as this reporter had been particularly difficult with us on previous occasions and had not reported our activities fairly. We tried to get on with the job of praying and counselling but no one was entering the so called clinic. We started to realize that maybe she was telling us the truth and that this place was actually closing. One of our group a Polish lady by the name of Anna gave the reporter a few lines for her article and we carried on praying. Nearly twenty years on and Anna is still praying weekly at Ealing. God bless her efforts.

I started praying at Cricklewood in January 1992. These vigils were organized by PLAN (Pro life Action Network which was later renamed Helpers of God’s Precious Infants) out of our HQ which was the home of faithful prolifers, the Toolan Family and Tamsin Geach ( now Sr. Tamsin OP) They worked hard keeping vigils going at Cricklewood and Buckhurst Hill. It was a time of serious confrontation with the police and regular arrests. This was a very frightening and difficult period. In the early years at Cricklewood, vigils had been kept by wonderful people working mostly alone. It would be difficult to name them all but three I must mention who gave so much for the prolife movement. One was Vincent Grimer who placed a Miraculous Medal in the guttering at this site. He entered religious life and sadly died very young. The second was Maurice Lewis who often spent all night alone in prayer outside Marie Stopes. He also died young in Canada following many harsh imprisonments for his pro-life work both in Britain and Canada, often being kept in solitary confinement. I am sure they have been blessed for all their prayers and good works. The third was Ted Atkinson who was arrested at least 3 times at Cricklewood and has served 17 prison sentences for pro-life activities.

It was common place in the 80’s/early 90’s for there to be regular arrests at the weekly prayer vigil for no reason other than the rosary being prayed and posters displayed that offended the staff who worked there. Many people were arrested in a brutal manner and there were numerous court cases. One such case we all found very amusing was where the prosecution witnesses failed to turn up so the case was thrown out of court to the relief of the defendants. Our prayers were answered.

During this difficult time we pro-lifers were supported and guided by Fr. James Morrow, who gave his whole being to the unborn. I remember several occasions when Fr. bought a mini bus down from Scotland full of faithful Scots to help our vigil at Cricklewood. They drove all through the night to get to London for 7.30am. I remember thinking that they would never be able to stand for so long in the cold after such a journey with no sleep. How wrong I was, they showed us how to do it. What an inspiration they were. Fr. Morrow died on the 18th September 2010. It was a privilege to have known such a man.  Please intercede for us, dear Fr. Morrow, as we pray for you. After our vigil ended we would all go to Holy Mass together and then end up at the local greasy spoon for a much deserved breakfast.

The year before Cricklewood closed we were supported by a group of prolifers who had travelled from the USA to help us. Also 3 Russians came to tell us the repercussions on a nation that has an abortion mentality. One of the Americans was treated very badly and was deported. Our activities were hitting the news headlines daily. Abortion was getting the coverage that was needed to highlight this tragedy. 

We were elated when we realized that Cricklewood had closed and deep down we wanted to say we have done our bit, we will have a rest and not return to an abortuary for a while but we knew this was no way to react after being given such a gift. What was our journey from the Home Counties into London when so many had travelled so far and suffered so much? The following week a Saturday vigil started at Ealing which continues to this day. So many people played a part in the closure of Cricklewood, it was an international effort, but not least of all were people who did not even know where Cricklewood was who prayed for its closure.

There were so many times that we felt our prayers were not being heard and it is only in retrospect that we can now see the fruits of them. When Tamsin Geach announced that she was to enter the convent we felt that our London pro-life activities would fall apart but we were looked after as Theresa Milligan ( an American prolifer who is now Theresa Madden) rode in to save the day. She kept the work going until she was to return to her family in the USA. It was during a retreat at Braemar with Fr. Morrow that Theresa told us she would be leaving us to go home. Again we could not see a future without a leader. On the train journey home from Scotland we were feeling very low and several of us put the O’Doherty family under pressure to take up the baton. Rose and Mick said they did not have the skills to communicate with us or arrange our activities. We convinced them they could and that they had to, otherwise London would come to a halt. No pressure!!!! They said they would hold things together till someone with the skills could be found. They are still doing a magnificent job. Not only did they take over, but with the spiritual help of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Monsignor Reilly the activities have just grown and grown.

It seemed to me that prolife work became less stressful with the arrival in England of the Franciscans who had a serenity that we needed. Their very presence gave people confidence to come and pray with us. The numbers started to grow. It was at Ealing that it was becoming evident that there was something very important missing in our work and a young woman who was praying there called Clare knew exactly what it was. We would stop and counsel women going into the facility and if we got them to change direction it was down to us to take them away and follow them up with whatever was needed to change their minds. This proved difficult as it was not always practical to take a girl home or spend hours supporting her. It was at this point that Clare started the Good Counsel Network. I do not have the words to describe what she and her co-workers have achieved and we will not know in this life how many babies are alive today due to their work. We all know that what has been accomplished could have only happened through the Grace of God who has worked through so many people doing so many different activities. We are now blessed, thank God with 40 Days for Life; our prayers are continually being answered.
 
Mary Fincham, Helpers of God's Precious Infants
 
Please donate to support the work of the Good Counsel Network 
 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Mother Leaps Out of Abortion Centre Window to Choose Life!



Earlier this week one of our Counsellors was standing outside a London abortion centre and spoke to a woman who said she was being forced to abort by those accompanying her to the "clinic". Concerned but unsure what to do, the Counsellor began to pray and asked others to pray for the woman.

Experience has shown that sometimes, though people say they are being forced to abort, they do not always welcome any intervention by us.

She then came out and spoke to the Counsellor again, stressing once more that she was being forced to end her pregnancy. The people with her came out and started threatening the Counsellor and also insisting that the woman must abort. She returned into the abortion centre and then began ringing our Centre frantically. At this point we called the Police. The Police arrived and went inside to speak to the woman and those accompanying her. By now we had begun to spread the word to our prayer supporters and asked for prayers for the woman. While the Police were inside the abortion centre, the woman leapt out of the ground floor window and cleared 3 fences to escape! She later contacted our Centre where she received some support and help.

It turned out that 'Ana' had taken the first abortion pill and then had gone back for the second one, under huge pressure from well-meaning family members, who thought the abortion was for the best.
But her doubts were enough to make her very unwilling to go through with it and instead she stood with them outside the abortuary saying "I want to keep my baby." with them insisting she abort. Eventually she was bullied back into the abortuary. When our Counsellor called the Police, her companions were distracted by having to answer their questions and it gave Ana a chance to escape.

Since then we have helped her to obtain appropriate medical care from a Consultant and she has chosen to let her baby live.

Please pray for this young woman and her child. Due to her circumstances, she may still be at risk of losing the baby. But for now we are also rejoicing that Mother AND baby are both alive and well!

UPDATE** Because of the uniqueness of this whole situation, we have received many offers of prayer for this woman and it has had a huge, huge impact on her. Not only have those who were trying to force her to abort changed their minds but they are now positively supporting and helping her and doing what they can to help improve the baby's chances of survival. Ana believes that this change of heart is solely due to prayer and so do we, so please keep up the prayers and spread the word, as it is still very early days for this baby!

On a side note, we are completely broke at the moment and for the most of the "40 Days for Life" campaign, our staff have had to put up with wages coming weeks late, which is more than tough when you are on a low wage and are doing very frontline work!!

Please help us to raise money to reach out to and support Mothers with Counselling, Advice, Financial help, Practical Support, Mother and Baby Goods, Housing and Friendship.
During the 40 Days for Life Campaign, the pro-abortion group 40 Days of Choice has launched a "Pi** off a Picket" Campaign (sorry!) which has raised £508 for the pro-abortion group "Education" for "Choice". We are also running a fundraising campaign, Our Lady's Pocket Fund to raise £5,000. Please support this campaign and show that Pro-Lifers Give Double during 40 Days for Life. (For other ways to donate)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

"Nearly Every Day A Woman Chooses Life" Deepen Your Faith & Work for A Pro-Life Future on Good Counsel's Intern Programme

We are recruiting again for our Intern programme.

The Intern Programme has been a great blessing for us. The Volunteers on the programme take part in a great deal of front-line pro-life work in a peaceful and prayerful Catholic atmosphere. It can be very hard work but it also has been both extremely fruitful in terms of the numbers of babies saved and extremely fruitful in the lives of those involved in the programme. Some Interns have gone on to work with the Good Counsel Network. Others want to take the skills they have learnt back to their own countries or towns.

Interns volunteer full-time with us and have the opportunity to learn:

How to start and run a successful Crisis Pregnancy Centre
How to start and run a Vigil at an abortion centre
How to run a 40 Days Campaign
How to advise and support pregnant women in crisis
How to remain faithful to the Catholic Church's teachings in all aspects of your pro-life work

Internships are offered for 2-6 month periods. Interns live in London and receive a subsistence allowance, travel expenses and free accommodation.

If you are interested, please get in touch at info@goodcounselnetwork.com and if possible send us your CV. Also see the internship page on our website.
 Interns Socialising 


Intern Slavomir Serving at Exposition
Here are some testimonies from our past Interns

Intern Experience: Martyn McGettigan

More Intern Socialising
I now know that doing nothing will never be an option again.
The most daunting thing, as a new intern, is obviously the front-line work at the clinics themselves. This is especially true if, like me, you hadn't done anything of the sort before. Many hours are spent outside the clinics, sometimes in very unfavourable weather, and, on top of that, you have to stay alert and be
ready to offer help to any women who might come along. Actually speaking to complete strangers about such serious matters is the most daunting part of it all. It's amazing, though, how quickly it becomes easier and you are given training and advice by experienced pavement counsellors before you start. There are quiet times, too, when you can pray and prepare yourself. I found that, provided you keep focussed on why you're there, it isn't too difficult just to do your part as well as you can and allow God to do the rest. On training days at the office you get to learn all about the work that Good Counsel does, the history and current situation of the pro-life movement and much more besides. You have the opportunity to be involved in many aspects of what the Good Counsel Network does. While I was there the Lenten "40 Days for Life" Campaign took place and it was a great privilege to be involved in and help organise it. One thing which I certainly got from the experience was a much greater awareness of how various aspects of Church teaching fit together. During my internship I saw first-hand exactly how the breakdown of the traditional family, the culture of contraception, secular materialism and abortion are all connected. I believe it has done me a lot of good to see this and I now know that doing nothing about the issue will never be an option again. There are many more things I could write about, such as the people I met and made friends with or the advantages of working in an office that has it's own chapel with daily Mass and Adoration but, if I did, this would become too long. I will finish by saying: The Good Counsel Internship is the best thing I have done and I'd strongly recommend applying for it.

Intern Experience: Jessica Almeida

I have been amazed to find that nearly every day a woman outside an abortion clinic turns and chooses to take up our offer of help instead of going in for an abortion.
Moving from the countryside to busy London was a shock to the system, especially the daily commute.
The work with the Good Counsel itself is fascinating and very different to the work I am used to doing as a junior doctor in a hospital. In hospital, I had seen first-
hand how little information is given to women seeking abortion – how little consideration is given to the reasons that a woman seeks abortion, the development of the baby and what other possible solutions there are in her situation. In no way was a woman making an informed choice.
The Good Counsel take a loving but truthful approach to pregnant women. Explaining the development of the baby, what abortion is and what the risks are. The reality is far from the easy way out that many people think. Plenty of time is given to understanding the woman’s situation and women receive dedicated practical support that offers a real option to continue with the pregnancy in her situation.
Standing outside an abortion clinic praying and offering this help, you can see the hope in the eyes of the women. It is only when hope is lost that in desperation and fear women end up at private abortion clinics. I have been amazed to find that nearly every day a woman outside an abortion clinic turns and chooses to take up our offer of help instead of going in for an abortion.
Seeing the mothers and babies that have been helped, when they visit the centre for on-going support or even to help others themselves, is a wonderful confirmation of the value and success of this work.




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