During Respect Life Week, we should never forget to remember the patron of unborn children and expectant mothers, St. Gerard Majella

Mama, mama, see what I got from the little boy.” In his hand, he held a small roll of bread. (It was from the baby Jesus)

St. Gerard Majella                                                                aleteia.org

By Larry Peterson

The Annual March for Life took place in Washington. D.C. on Friday, January 24. More than a half-million people marched in defense of the unborn. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, spoke live before the crowd, the first time in history a president has done so. However, many expectant women, unsure of their situation, did not attend.   If you were one of them, you might turn to St. Gerard Majella, the Patron Saint of Unborn Children and Expectant Mothers. Many a miracle has been attributed to this young man’s intercession.

Gerard was the youngest child born to Domenico and Benedetta Majella. They already had three daughters, and Gerard was their only son. The date was April 6, 1726. The Majellas were a hard-working Italian family and, Benedetta brought her children to Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces as often as she could. Gerard, only three, loved the statue of the “pretty lady with the baby.”

When Gerard got a bit older, he would run off to the shrine by himself. The first time he came home, he yelled out, “Mama, mama, see what I got from the little boy.” In his hand, he held a small roll of bread. No one paid much attention but after several days of coming home with bread, his mom decided to follow him and see what he was up to.

What she saw stunned her because the statue of Our Lady of Graces apparently came to life and the Child she was holding scampered down to play with Gerard. She quickly left and, sure enough, when Gerard came home, he had another small loaf of bread with him. Benedetta kept this to herself.

Gerard’s dad died when the boy was twelve, and the family was left in poverty. Gerard’s father had been a tailor so his mom sent him to her brother so Gerard could learn to sew and be a tailor like his father. However, after a four-year apprenticeship, Gerard was offered the job as a servant for the local Bishop of Lacedonia. Needing the money, he took the position.

The Bishop kept hearing stories about Gerard and his kindness and how he would always stop and visit the poor in the clinic, how he always helped others and would even bring the poor leftovers from the bishop’s table. The young man was gaining a reputation just by being himself.

When the Bishop passed away, Gerard returned to his trade as a tailor. He divided his earnings among his mother, the poor, and in offerings for the souls in purgatory. By the time he was 21 years old, he had established a steady business. His mom was quite worried about her son. He looked thin and frail because he was always fasting and doing penance. She begged him to eat, and he told her, “Mama, God will provide. As for me, I want to be a saint.”

Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but they thought him to sickly to endure the demands of the order. Finally, after much pleading and nagging, he was accepted as a lay brother into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer aka the Redemptorists.

As a lay brother, he would never be a priest, say Mass or hear confessions. He would live under the same roof and wear the same habit and share the prayers. He also would take the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. He would be a caretaker to the monastery. He embraced this role and served them well acting as gardener, sacristan, porter, cook, carpenter and, of course, the tailor.

But there was always the children. They flocked to Gerard to hear his amazing stories and learn how to pray. Once, when a large group was sitting around listening to him, a little boy fell off a cliff. When they reached the child, they thought he was dead. Gerard said to the boy’s father, “It is nothing.”  Then he traced a cross on the boy’s forehead, and he awoke. It was just one of Gerard’s many miracles that were witnessed by people.

Gerard had tuberculosis and died on October 16, 1755. He was 29 years old. Many miracles have been attributed to his intercession. One stands out as the reason he has come to be known as the patron of mothers. A few months before his death, he was visiting a family. He dropped his handkerchief, and one of the girls picked it up to return it to him. He told her to keep it because one day she would need it.

Years later, as a married woman, she was about to give birth, and the doctor was sure the child would not survive. She remembered the handkerchief and asked for it. When she held it to her womb, the pain disappeared and she gave birth to a healthy baby. There was no explanation.

In 1893 Pope Leo XIII beatified Gerard. And on December 11, 1904, Pope St. Pius X canonized him in Rome. He was now St. Gerard Majella.

St. Gerard;  please pray for all those pre-born children in danger of losing their lives and for all expectant moms everywhere.

Copyright©LarryPeterson 2020 (updated from 2018)

 


The Roe and Doe “Twins” The rarely discussed “Double Abortion Whammy”

public domain

By Larry Peterson

We have all heard of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that, to date, has LEGALLY allowed for the termination of more than 60,000,000 children in utero. But many of us are not aware that on the very same day that decision was handed down, the very same court by the very same vote also handed down a decision called Doe vs. Bolton.

The Doe vs. Bolton ruling created the proverbial “double whammy” to the abortion issue. If Roe vs. Wade ever failed or was overturned, Doe vs. Bolton could immediately take its place. In fact, it would not only take its place, it legalizes abortion up to and including a full-term pregnancy. This should be a cause of significant concern to all those who respect life but rarely is this decision ever mentioned. The fact of the matter is, on January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court had given birth to the “Roe & Doe” twins.

The ruling in the Doe vs. Bolton case is summed up here:  : (The link supplies the details:

  • The Court’s opinion in Doe vs. Bolton stated that a woman may obtain an abortion after viability, if necessary, to protect her health. The Court defined “health,” as follows:

“Whether in the words of the Georgia statute, “an abortion is necessary” is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age-relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

Incredible as it is, if Roe vs. Wade was ever overturned, Doe vs. Bolton would take its place. Doe vs. Bolton allows for abortion “after viability” for almost any conceivable reason. According to Doe vs. Bolton, an abortion could be permitted at full term because the baby’s crying when born might cause too much stress for someone in the house who has a psychological problem. Far fetched? Not really. Just get a doctor to sign off on it.

Ironically, the pseudonym “Mary Doe” was used by her attorney to protect her identity. The attorney general of Georgia at  the time was  Arthur Bolton so the case became known as “Doe vs. Bolton.” The name of the plaintiff was actually Sandra Cano who, years later, claimed to be pro-life and sued because she claimed she never knew her attorney had used her as the anonymous plaintiff in the case. The case eventually returned to the Supreme Court where her claim was rejected. Sandra Cano passed away in  2014.

Five years after Roe vs.Wade and Doe vs. Bolton were approved by SCOTUS, my wife gave birth to a daughter. She was born prematurely at 24 weeks (six months). She was born alive and fully formed but just needed more time to develop. She was baptized and given the name Theresa Mary. There was never a positive reason given as to why she was premature. The closest explanation we received was, “Sometimes things happen that we do not understand.” The bottom line to that is she was a real person who lived and died.  She is buried with my parents, and her name is on a tombstone. It simply reads;  Theresa Mary Peterson. September 6, 1978—September 6,1978.

Having had the experience and burying our pre-mature child heightened the sadness and dismay, both of us felt toward abortion. The blindness, the disregard, and the callousness that is shown by so many to the most vulnerable of all the living are beyond understanding. How many future doctors, scientists, carpenters, artists, priests, firemen, police officers, letter-carriers, and so forth had never lived to see the light of day, eradicated before their very first breath was inhaled?

God help us today and tomorrow.

Copyright©Larry Peterson 2020


He watched the Little Heart beating—-beating, beating, beating—and then it just stopped. The suddenly still heart caused the conversion of the “Champion of Abortion.”

 

Baby—legal to kill in America            stock photo

By Larry Peterson

INFANTICIDE is a noun: It means: 1) the act of killing an infant. 2) the practice of killing newborn infants. 3) a person who kills an infant.    That is what Infanticide means; simple as that.

In January 2019, New York State has passed its own RHA (Reproductive Health Act). Amidst “hoots & hollers” and the Freedom Tower being lit up in pink, the bill was signed into law by the devout Catholic governor of N.Y. Today, to the delight of many, infanticide is legal in N.Y.

Many people in our supposedly civilized society, have moved into a different universe. They have embraced the legal execution of the most vulnerable of us all…children (babies are children). We can now legally kill them from conception to fully born and breathing on their own. No matter the size, kill them if you wish…no problem

As the parents of a daughter who was stillborn on September 6, 1978, we were fully cognizant of the LIFE that was lost to us and her siblings. My wife (who passed away from cancer in 2003) almost died that day in a valiant attempt to get to a Catholic hospital so the baby might be baptized. That is a story for another time but we both understood the insanity of treating tiny people in-utero as nothing more than “products of conception” or “blobs of tissue”. They are no such thing. They are people, just like us–only a lot smaller.

Our almost two-pound daughter was named Theresa Mary, and she was buried with my parents. She was a real person who lived and died. And her mother, who never saw her or held her was willing to die for her, unseen and unheard. This is what respecting God-given life is all about. It is the ultimate act of love and unselfishness. Secularism does not understand this. It never will.

Many people accept the undeniable truth that life is a precious gift from God.  This belief is also backed by science. Life is life, no matter how big and no matter how small. No life belongs to another and the fact that a child needs a mother’s womb to grow changes nothing. That child is unique and special with its own DNA and character and personality. That little person has as much right to live as do any of us, no matter what age.

We live with the infamous Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade passed in 1973. Since then over 61 million tiny lives have been snuffed out under the guise of “reproductive rights.” No one has ever taken away a woman’s right to reproduce. The fact that seven men voted for a law that allows a woman to destroy her own child does not make it right. Far from it, it has allowed for an ongoing abomination.

What is so astonishing is that so many folks do not see anything wrong with participating in a holocaust that has claimed more than sixty million lives. Most of these people seem to be no different than anyone else. They work, pay their bills, mow their lawns, and celebrate Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Yes, and they go to church and pray too. I do NOT understand. Whatever have we wrought?

Having laid out those thoughts, I now go back to an article from Life Site News from November of 2008.  It is about the former “champion of abortion”, Stojan Adasevic. This man performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes 35 a day, throughout 26 years. Then, miraculously, he became the most important and influential pro-life leader in Serbia.

What happened to him is well worth paying attention to.  ‘Stojan’s conversion came about from an experience he had in performing what would be his final abortion.  These are the words of Stojan after that procedure:

“As I pull out the mess, thinking it will be bone fragments I lay it on the cloth. I look, and I see a human heart, contracting and expanding and beating, beating, beating.  I thought I would go mad. I can see the heartbeat is slowing, ever more slowly, and more slowly still until it finally stops completely.  Nobody could have seen what I had seen with my very own eyes, and be more convinced than I was I had killed a human being.

After that, Stojan had an ongoing dream where children were playing and laughing but ran away when they saw him. They were filled with fear. There was a man in the dream. He was dressed in black and white and when Stojan asked him who he was, he told him he was Thomas Aquinas. You can read the entire story by opening this link

Suffice it to say that Stojan Adasevic has told his story throughout Europe. He has returned to the Orthodox faith and has become a student of St. Thomas Aquinas.

It is now February 2019. Illinois is not to be outdone by New York. They are going to propose their own RHA. Their proposed law says that women “who become pregnant [have] a fundamental right…to have an abortion,” and “provides that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under the law of this state.”  This bill would reportedly void existing statute(s)  protecting the life of a child born alive during a late-term abortion. Infanticide will be “all the rage” in the great state of Illinois.

Last but not least, Senate Democrats on Monday (February 25, 2019) blocked a Republican bill that would have threatened prison for doctors who don’t try saving the life of infants born alive during abortions. These “upstanding”, “reputable” American legislators who have taken an oath to protect the Constitution, willingly have agreed that doctors can allow born-alive children to die.

In the war being waged by Satan, the master of lies and deception, his influence is so great and the deception so pronounced it takes many years of flowing graces from God before the light begins to enter the darkness. We must continue to pray as hard as we can until this scourge against human life is stopped. The most powerful weapon in our arsenal to combat this genocide is prayer.

“Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.”

Mother Teresa

copyright©Larry Peterson 2019


Offering One’s Own Life to save a Life vs. Rejoicing in Sanctions that Destroy Life; The Paradox that is Humanity is Inexplicable

By Larry Peterson

New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo,  signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, on January 22, 2019, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The intentional signing of this bill on that day and the cheering that followed brought me back to a day 40 years earlier. The date was September 6, 1978. For my young family that was also a day about the life and death of a baby.

It was during the beginning of Loretta’s sixth month of pregnancy. We had been to the doctor the previous morning and, although he did not say anything, you could tell by his demeanor that something was not right. He had said to her, “I want to see you in a week.” He looked at me and, with tightened lips, gave a little shrug. I understood this was not a “thumbs up.”

It was a quiet walk to the car, and when we settled in and began driving, she said to me, “Somethings wrong. He knows it, and I know it.”  She paused and took a breath. A tear fell from her eye. I still said nothing. Then she said, “Let’s say the Rosary right now.” And we did.

During the previous few days, there was very little movement from the baby. The doctor also said that the heartbeat “could be a bit stronger.”  The rest of the day there was no movement. We had gone to bed and fallen asleep. I was on my right side, and Loretta was lying against my back. Suddenly something jabbed me in the back. It was hard enough to wake me. I sat up and said, “The baby just kicked me.”

She said softly, “Yes, I know.”

It was 2 a.m., and all was dark and peaceful but we did not fall back asleep. We just laid quietly, side by side, holding hands and waiting.  A second kick never came.

The next morning, after I had gone to work, Loretta began to hemorrhage. Her mom had been staying with us for a few days and thanked God she was there. She called 911 and then called and left a message for me at work. Then my three kids, ages eight, five, and one, sidled up to their grandma and watched their mom being taken away on a stretcher. The two oldest still remember that morning. Mary, just a baby at the time, does not.

My first stop (I was running a small delivery service) was ten minutes away from the hospital. We lived thirty minutes away, and I was waiting at the emergency room entrance when the ambulance arrived. When they pulled the gurney out, I was stunned at what I saw. My wife had bled so much that her hair was smeared with it. She was in and out of consciousness. I stood by helplessly as they rushed her into the ER.

For those who reject and scoff at the wonder of God’s human creations here is an example of how one woman did not. As I was standing there not knowing what to do or where to go, a priest came in and asked me if I was Larry Peterson.  I just nodded, and he told me that my mother-in-law had called his parish.  As Loretta was being wheeled out of the house, she made her mother promise to have a priest waiting to baptize her child. Her mom kept her promise.

What was also amazing was the fact that there was a hospital ten minutes from our house. The paramedics wanted to go there. Loretta demanded they take her to the Catholic hospital a half hour away. They told her it was way too risky because of the amount of blood she was losing. She would not relent, and they did as she asked. She was determined to have her child baptized. She had knowingly and willingly put her life on the line for her child.

Father Hyland came to me later and told me he had baptized our daughter (we named her Theresa Mary). The doctor said the baby had lived for a moment and died. She was two pounds and too small to survive. What happened over the next three weeks could have driven some folks away from the Church.

When I walked into Loretta’s room the next day the first thing she asked me was, “What did they do with Theresa?”

I had not even thought about that. Loretta had come close to dying from loss of blood and had required several transfusions. I asked her how she was, did she eat, just making small talk while I processed her question. She asked again, “Well, do you know what they did with our daughter?”

“No,” I said, “but I will find out right now.”

I headed down to the administrative offices and told the receptionist why I was there. She was gone a few minutes and came back with a nun by her side. “This is Sister Carol Ann. She is our administrator.

Sister came over to me, shook my hand and said, “Mr. Peterson, our policy is to bury the cremated remains of the stillborn in sacred ground. That is where the remains would be. Now, if there is anything else I can help you with? If not,  I am truly sorry for your loss, but sometimes it is for best.”

She walked away, and I said nothing.  I was thinking instead; Buried in sacred ground?  This happened yesterday. It’s for the best? How can they do that? Huh? I went back to my wife’s room. She was as pale as could be and very weak. I told her what I had been told and we agreed that we would come back the following week when she was feeling better.

We had three, young, demanding, kids at home and her mom was still there. It took longer for her to get back on her feet than was expected. Two weeks passed before she went anywhere. Then we headed for the doctor’s office. He told her she was doing well and finally, she asked the big question; “Okay doctor, where is the sacred ground located that Sister Carol Ann told Larry  contains the remains of the stillborn?”

His mouth literally opened and he momentarily stared at her. Then he said, “I have no idea what you are talking about. You had better go ask her.”

We left and headed to the hospital. We walked into the administrator’s office, and I told the receptionist we wanted to visit the “sacred ground” where the remains of our daughter were. She hurried away from her desk and a few minutes later came back and told us Sister would be right with us. We began our wait.

We waited for almost forty minutes. It was unnerving, to say the least. Finally, the waiting ended as Sister Carol Ann came in. She was followed by two nuns and a priest. Sister introduced us to Father Burke, Sister Bridgitte, and Sister Gabriel. Sister opened a folder and made believe she was reading. Then she looked up at Loretta and said, “Mrs. Peterson, you never had a baby in this hospital.”  Momentary silence erupted in the waiting room.

Loretta just looked at the woman in the veil and habit and said, “I think you have the wrong folder. I DID have a baby here on September 6. She was a girl and her name was Theresa and Father Hyland baptized her and my doctor told me he delivered an intact fetus. I want to see where the sacred ground is you dumped her in.”

Up steps the priest and he introduces himself as Father Burke.  He starts talking about when does “personhood” begin and how even Thomas Aquinas questions when it begins and it isn’t necessarily at conception. Loretta and I had morphed into being the enemy and the administrative staff had joined forces to stop us.

The next thing I knew I was nose to nose with this priest who is trying to cover up an obvious hospital disaster. He was trying to back away from me when someone stepped between us. It was a stranger who had come into the waiting room. He looked at me and said, “It will be okay. Don’t worry. It will be okay.”

His words settled me. He was like a guardian angel because I was going to say things to that priest I would have regretted later. I never got the man’s name nor did I ever see him again. He seemed to come from nowhere and vanish into nowhere just like that.

As we left the room Sister Bridgitte came over to us and said in a very low voice, “There were ‘products of conception’. Call Dr. Ali.” She grabbed Loretta’s hands and squeezed them. Tears were in her eyes. Then she walked away.

I called Dr. Ali and discovered he was the chief pathologist at the hospital. He knew exactly what I was talking about. I cannot quote what he said but he confirmed that we were the parents of a stillborn baby girl. He told us that because she was less than two pounds and it was a teaching hospital they brought her to the lab for research. She had been used as a guinea pig. He apologized profusely and said, “please trust me? I will  do my very best to resolve this for you.”

On October 1, 1978, the Feast Day of  St. Therese, the phone rang, and Loretta answered. It was Dr. Ali. All he said was, “Mrs. Peterson, I found your daughter. What would you like me to do.”

Loretta started crying and handed me the phone. I told him I would make arrangements with the funeral home near the hospital. A few days later, the desecrated remains of  Theresa Mary Peterson left the funeral home in a tiny white casket. The casket was placed on the front seat of a limousine. We followed it to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y. She was buried with my parents and her name is on the tombstone. She did exist and will always be remembered.

We had honored the life that never lived out of honor and respect for the life that could have been.

Fast forward back to January 22, 2019. Led by their “devout” Catholic governor, Andrew Cuomo, lawmakers in New York State have passed a bill that allows for the execution of full-term babies. Yes, that is correct, FULL TERM  fully developed, ready for birth, infants.

When the bill was passed, a suffocating wind exploded from the halls of the capitol caused by the cheers and screams of those upstanding “lawmakers” who had voted to legalize infanticide. Indeed, the wind has moved like a tsunami across our land leaving behind a foul and repugnant odor.

There is an inexplicable paradox that engulfs humanity. There are many women and men like Loretta Peterson who are willing to lay down their very lives for their child, even if it is still unborn.  And then there are those people who rejoice in the death and destruction of the most innocent and helpless of all God’s creations.

As the great Pope, St. John Paul II said, “A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”

Lest evil prevails, I hope within our nation there are more of us than them.

©copyright Larry Peterson 2019