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Sister M. Ruth
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Pro-life a way of life
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Nun on the Bus
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placeholder October 5, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 17   •   Oakland, CA
Respect for Live

Joni Durling, who coordinates events for the Issues4Life Foundation, will speak Oct. 10 at St. Mary Parish in Walnut Creek at a dinner and fundraiser for Birthright.
Courtesy photo

Pro-life a way of life for self-described 'Fool for Christ'

As goes most things in my life, I tripped and fell into the pro-life movement. I've always said that God never gently guides me anywhere. He hits me in the head with a two-by-four to lead me in His direction. I'm not a very contemplative person and I carry no college degree. "Fool for Christ" describes me perfectly.

Celebrate Life!

What: Birthright Walnut Creek/ Concord Pregnancy Center benefit

BBQ chicken dinner and speaker Joni Durling

When: Oct. 10, 5:30 p.m. social hour, 6:30 p.m. dinner

Where: St. Mary Parish, school gym, 1158 Bont Lane, Walnut Creek

Cost: $18 for adults; $7 for kids 5-12; under 5 are free

Reservations: 925-798-7227 or https://birthright-dinner.
I was raised by great Catholic, pro-life parents. I never even thought of deviating from the pro-life position, because I was exposed, at an early age, to the clear scientific and moral truth that, from conception, there was a unique human organism (scientific fact!) with a unique human soul (moral fact!) and that unique human being needed to be protected. So, at 16, when I was required to do service hours for my confirmation, I volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center. One day they were shorthanded and threw me into a counseling position.

I hated every second of it. What normal 16-year-old wants to talk to a total stranger about her pregnancy problems? I did it anyway and, by the grace of God, I was able to help women keep their babies. In fact, the pregnancy center staff were shocked I had so much success even with the older clientele.

I left pro-life work and went off to college, but at 19, a few things happened that brought me back. One of my roommates got pregnant and asked us what we thought she should do. My two other supposedly pro-life roommates told her to do whatever she felt she needed to do. (That's when I first stumbled into the "I'm personally pro-life" crowd.)

When she asked me, I laid out all of the facts and went into counseling mode. Sadly, I lost that battle. Later, after her abortion, I talked to my friend to make sure she knew I loved her. She said she wished she had listened to me, because I was the only one who had told her the truth. I felt like I should have tried harder. That's when I felt that two-by-four again. I just wasn't where I was supposed to be.

At that point, I left school and tried to find "my calling." I thought being a travel agent sounded fun, and the day I arrived home, I found a "travel agent — no experience necessary" job opening. God had other plans, however, and nine short months later, I bumped into Operation Rescue. Being single, I had a little more time on my hands than most and ended up working in their office. To me, it was the perfect place in the pro-life movement — helping to save babies by sitting in front of a door and not having to talk to anyone. We had sidewalk counselors for that. They were able to reach the girls and change their hearts, and I saw many children who God saved through our prayerful presence. Despite the jail time, it is a special gift to know a person exists simply because you were willing to be there.

Since then, I have held various positions in other pro-life organizations which still afforded me the time to rescue. Of course, life moves on. After meeting and marrying my husband, I "retired" from the rescue movement and started the next chapter in my pro-life "career:" raising the next pro-life generation.

We've gone on to have six kids who are also devoutly Catholic and pro-life. Through pro-life youth movements like "Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust," they've been trained far better than I ever was at their age. It's been wonderful to see them have the confidence to educate people on their own!

I couldn't stay away from the "action," though, and once again, I've fallen into a new role in the activist world when I offered to help Rev. Walter Hoye. My family has been blessed that he lets us help in his amazing efforts. I'm living proof that God can take someone with little knowledge, ability or skill, and give him or her everything needed to make a difference. He can use you, too, if you are willing!

(Joni Durling, event coordinator for the Issues4Life Foundation, will speak Oct. 10 at the Birthright dinner at St. Mary Parish, Walnut Creek.)

Dear friends of Birthright

Thank you for all the support, both monetary and verbal, you give the Birthright volunteers and Birthright mothers and babies. I hope you are spreading the word that Birthright exists so every pregnant mom who needs us can find us. We are doing all we can to advertise our presence, however, there are still many who do not know about us.

Thank you to all who have called to volunteer. We really need you to cover all the office hours in which we are still closed. We do not want to miss a call from someone who needs assistance.

We need special project volunteers to help with the Baby Bottle Fundraisers, church festivals, health fairs, etc., where we make the Birthright name known and show the fetal models.

Thank you to all the churches who allow us to be there, and to the priests who announce our presence from the pulpit.

We really appreciate your support and encouragement.

Thank you to all the people who take a baby bottle home, fill it up with spare change, and bring it back to the church office or our own office on Grant Avenue.

Of course, thank you to all the volunteers who day after day or week after week are there at the office or at our call. You are wonderfully appreciated.

Thank you foremost, to God who guides us, graces us, and allows us to do His work for His babies. We ask all who read this to pray for His continued blessings upon us and this work.

From our family to yours, may God bless you.

Theresa Fuller
Special to The Catholic Voice

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