Photo: Felix Carroll
Marie Romagnano, RN, is the founder of the Marian Fathers’ healthcare apostolate, Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, which now draws thousands of professionals worldwide.
Mercy and Post-Abortive Mothers
By Dan Valenti (Apr 26, 2012)
Doctor Bryan Thatcher, MD, founder and director of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers, tells the story: "Several years ago, with tears streaming down her face, a 75-year-old patient of mine said to me in the office, 'I have never told this story to anyone. Sixty years ago, when I was 15, I got pregnant by my future husband. I was scared and had an abortion. Do you think God could ever forgive me?' She had been carrying all that guilt and shame for 60 years, wondering if she could ever be forgiven by the God of love and mercy."
The answer, of course, is "Yes." As revealed in the Diary of St. Faustina by Jesus Himself, the mercy of God has no limits, knows no boundaries, and cannot be qualified by any amount of sin. A person only needs to recognize Divine Mercy and accept it in his or her life with an open, trusting heart. This applies to any sin, even abortion.
The decision to have an abortion is typically agonizing, marked by confusion, wracked by despair, plagued by helplessness, and crippled by anxiety. How do we care for such women? Pope John Paul II, in his Evangelum Vitae (The Gospel of Life), addresses women who have had abortions:
"The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision," the Pope writes.
"The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of Mercies is ready to give you His forgiveness and His peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord" (99).
In short, Divine Mercy is the answer.
"Just as God loves us, we must learn to love ourselves," Dr. Thatcher says. "Remember that 'every saint had a past, and every sinner has a future.' There is no such thing as the 'unforgivable' sin! A prophet is one who speaks the truth. We must not minimize the sin of abortion, and we must also leave the judging up to God. [That being said], let us thank God for His unfathomable mercy. God loves us unconditionally and just the way we are. All are called to be the light of the world; let us use our mistakes as a vehicle for conversion and evangelization, letting the Merciful Rays from The Divine Mercy radiate to us, through us, and out to a hurting world."
Nurse Marie Romagnano, RN, founder of Healthcare Professionals for Divine Mercy, another apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, has developed a set of guidelines for providing care in this oft-misunderstood health crisis, which is also a profound spiritual crisis.
"Mothers who have experienced abortion are catastrophically emotionally injured and often do not recognize this injury to their soul," Nurse Marie says. "They can recognize physical injury but often avoid the deep, interior pain of the loss of the child within them. There is no natural recovery from this wound. Only the mercy of God can intercede. God's mercy is endless, boundless, and has no limits."
What should you do if a suffering mother approaches you?
"Be available to talk," Nurse Marie advises. "Be supportive and assist wherever possible with food, shelter, and safe harbor. Mercy in action is the best possible intervention to initiate healing. Encourage this suffering mother to place great trust in the mercy of God, for there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Let the mother know that her child is with God and has already forgiven her. Point out that the child is interceding on her behalf."
Doctor Thatcher, who travels extensively for his work with EADM, says that he "occasionally [comes across] a post-abortive woman or man who feels that God's mercy is not for them. In their eyes, they have committed the 'unforgivable sin.' But the irony is that those who have committed grave sin are exactly the ones that Jesus came to heal! Isn't it true what is written, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick' (Mt 10:12)? Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted and downtrodden, and told St. Faustina, "The greater the sinner, the great the right he has to My mercy" (Diary, 723).
In addition, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us in paragraph 1443:
During His public life, Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: He reintegrated sinners into the community of the people of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is that Jesus receives sinners at His table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God's forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God.
For women considering abortion, Nurse Marie advises to pray The Divine Mercy Chaplet with her. If that's not possible, then pray the Chaplet for her. You can also discuss the mercy of God with her.
"Tell her how Jesus, The Divine Mercy, will directly intervene to assist her in her situation, no matter what the circumstances are, in preserving the life of her child," Nurse Marie says. "Jesus will give her the grace to bring the child safely into the world."