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Sisters of Life in Toronto

During my visits to New York when I would visit my dear friend Fr. Richard Neuhaus (RIP), I had a few opportunities to meet members of the Sisters of Life Community. This order of religious, founded under the inspiration of Cardinal John O'Connor (RIP) has dedicated themselves to working and praying for the cause of life.

(As as aside, I am pleased to also say that a very talented young woman from my current assignment here in Mattawa is approaching the day of her final vows with this community... may God be with you Sister!!)

Click on the title of this post to read an article published in the National Post (Holy Post Blog) about the establishment of a convent of these sisters in Toronto where they work diligently to assist women so that they will make a pro-life decision and bring their unborn child to birth.

Please remember to pray for communities such as the Sisters for Life in their ministry.


  1. They are indeed putting flesh to the word, and by showing compasssion and understanding, compliment the work of the pro-life organizaitons. No longer can the claim be made that pro-life people are all talk and no action.

    Good work Sisters and may God Bless!


  2. I had a friend, colleague and distant cousin that joined the Sisters of Life, must be close to 15 years ago now. She had a tragic life up until that point and seems to be very happy. I wish her the best although I tried to talk her out of it, as I previously tried to dissuade her from several other ill fated life adventures. People get to make their own choices. I wish her the best, as always.

    The Sisterhood doesn't seem to have accomplished many of the things she had hoped it would when she joined, nor is her life as she envisioned it. Maybe what it is will be enough.

    John O'Conner was instrumental in founding this order, as I'm sure you're aware. Because of this, the Sisters of life, are the very model of what an entirely inflexible, authoritarian Catholic churchman would envision a Women's religious order should be. I'm betting that in the end, the Sisters of Life will not be viable, for this exact reason.

    Men and women have different natures. Feminists(mostly women) and traditionalists(mostly men) agree on this. Traditionalists believe that submission is a primary feminine trait. Most women, it seems to me, disagree. The success of this order and maybe even the Catholic Church hinge upon who is correct.

    Women are key to the future success of the Catholic Church. Women largely determine the extent of family participation in organized religion. Women imprint religiosity on their offspring at a very young age. If the Church can hold onto women, it will at least not whither away in the next few generations, giving Catholicism time to regenerate. I don't think the Church is doing anything much to appeal to the rapidly changing culture of women, whether in the developed or developing World.

    As a parish priest, you probably see this as well as anyone can. Do you think women are satisfied with Church efforts on their behalf, as opposed to just hanging around in the hope that things will eventually change for the better? Fess up, what are the women in your congregation counseling their children about chastity, marriage, birth control, careers and submission of women to men? How much are the women of your congregation teaching their children about the infallibilty of the Church and what degree of leadership are these women going to allow you over them or their children? Not so much, I'm guessing.

  3. Reddog: I cannot speak authoritatively as to what women are teaching their children behind closed doors, but I have not been confronted by any who challenge the teachings you referenced.

    As to your characterization of religious orders, I would point out that the only orders that seem to be flourishing are the ones that are traditional in their structure and religious way of life. If I may suggest, you may not be seeing the truth in this matter. The religious life (for Sisters and Brothers) has always been a counter sign to the ways of society. Their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience as well as their religious dress have set them aside from the path of modern culture and it seems that the communities that are growing are the ones who understand and practice this way of life.

    Don't know if this answers all of your questions, but I hope I offer enough to keep the conversation going.


    Fr. Tim

  4. The anti abortion movement, as it has developed over the last 40 years, in America, has lost.

    Nobody minds if abortion becomes less popular as an option in cases of unwanted pregnancy. Nobody mourns the decrease in the numbers of abortion clinics. If Planned Parenthood is hounded out of business because of a too stident and militant attitude about abortion, that's OK. Whether or not abortion is health care and should be subsidized by the government or healthcare insurance is a civil matter, unrelated to the legality of abortion.

    Currently, girls and women have the choice of whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. Thay can raise the child as their own, it can be raised within the family by others, with participation by the mother or given up for adoption. These options have always been legal, never threatened and never will be.

    The goal of the hard core anti abortion movement is and always has been the recriminalization of abortion. Not only will that never happen but the more the anti abortion movement agitates for this goal, the more they demonize themselves in the public eye. Good, that's the way it should be. These people, most of them operatives of the Catholic Church, do more against their cause than for it. They rail against an enemy that really isn't there. Look hard, you will find no opposing hard core pro abortion movement. Even Planned Parenthood isn't that. Abortion is just a small part of their program.

    Chastity, artificial birth control, STD prevention, Church sanctioned heterosexual marriage, obediance to Catholic teachings and any number of other issues, pro and con, that Catholic sponsored, Right to Life activists espouse, are not associated in most peoples minds with abortion and almost nobody thinks they should be regulated, prohibited or encouraged by civil law.

    In the end, the Church hides behind the barricade of its assertion that core teachings of Catholicism constitute somekind of bizarre, arbitrary "natural law", that must be recognized as true and inviolable by all of humanity. This is in direct opposition to the protection of minorities and dissidents that is a cornerstone of our democracy and that the Church itself has used for generations to secure its place in society. If you want to overturn this principle with "natural law", go ahead. Let me warn you though, it's a sword that cuts both ways.

  5. Reddog: I appreciate you taking the time to write but I beg to disagree. A clear majority of people in the USA now support legislation that reflects most of what the pro-life position is asking for.

    I know that P.P. might be responsible for a great deal of good, but so long as they are the agents of abortion, either directly or indirectly, they are to be opposed. For anyone who believes that, well before birth, a separate human entity comes into existence, it is akin to saying that someone was a good father, husband and all round "bon vivant," if you can just over look his being a serial killer!

    A pre-born human may depend upon its mother's body for nutrition and a safe environment within which to mature, but it is an independent human person all the same a some time before the end of its gestation.

    A majority of state governments now have on the books, or are currently enacting (from the pro-life point of view,) legislation that more and more is limiting the right of choice on the part of the mother to a point, prior to birth. This is, in my opinion, a very good thing.

    When the only reason for terminating that life is the decision on the part of the woman who brought it into existence not to want to take responsibility for its life after birth, (especially when there are tens of thousands of infertile couples who want to adopt - many of them rendered such by various sexually transmitted diseases contracted in their youth) it does not meet a standard sufficient to permit the termination of another's life.

    Does this mean the recriminalization of abortion? Yes it does. However though, just as infanticide is illegal under the criminal code today yet those convicted of it are most likely to receive mandatory treatment than punishment.

    And yes, compassion, understanding and sufficient societal resources need to be provided to sustain the woman when needed. I do point out however, that the overwhelming number of women who birth, continue with their normal daily routines to within a few weeks of delivery. Perhaps such women could be afforded maternity leave prior to birth, and for sufficient time afterward to regain one's normal health if they choose to place the child for adoption. There certainly is no moral stigma attached to being pregnant and offering the child up for adoption. It is even possible if desired, for her to maintain a role in her child's offspring if that is found to be the most successful method of adaptation for all the parents involved and in the best interests of the child.

    This seems only logical to me.

    IF it is wrong for one human person to deliberately end the life of another simply as an expression of free will (I can't kill anyone I choose to eliminate - it's called murder!), then it should also be wrong to take a life just because it is dependent upon its another for sustenance and life. Any infant would meet that qualification of life, pre-or post birth!

    Freedom does not stand in opposition to the authority of truth (and yes, I freely admit to believing that there is such a things as "absolute truth," at least as it is expressed by the law of the land,) but rather it forms itself in accordance with that truth.

    The law by times may be "an ass" as the saying goes, but there is a reason behind its depiction as the balance scales of justice. The key of a successful society is that it is based upon the principle that everyone is "equal under the law"; to understand that which passes from conventional wisdom in a culture or society, is oft times, in a flash replaced by an entirely new understanding of a question. An understanding brought forth into the public's consciousness by new knowledge, as the logical outcome of the fruits of science and technology.

    (continued below)

  6. (continued from above)

    There is an excellent chance that similar progress can be made within our Canadian culture as well, if voices that speak for the pro-life cause are not silent in the face of demands from the pro-choice partisans to be quiet. I intend to do what I can to make the argument for life where ever and whenever I can. As a Catholic and a priest, I must do so; and it is a commitment I wholly and freely believe accept as worthy, and because I am free to do so.

    I hope this blog will continue to be a spot where many people will read and perhaps participate in this debate so that maybe we can find a common understanding as to how to balance the rights of the mother and the pre-born child that grows within her, particularly if the gestation of the child is not a DIRECT PHYSICAL THREAT to the health of the mother.

    This will not satisfy everyone in this debate, but it can save thousands of Canadians who will carry forth our genetic stock, diversity in genetics being a "good" in human and non-human biological health.

    This act must be seen in that context. Just as cleaning the environment does not simply depend upon the acts of governments or corporations, but firstly upon the acceptance of citizens to pay the price for the good of all, so too the protection of species demands we ensure future generations the same freedoms we enjoy today.

    Fr. Tim


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