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Kaitlyn and her husband, Benjamin, celebrate the baptism of their son, Isaac. Serena and her husband, Michael, were the godparents.

The Forecast Calls for Beautiful Showers

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By Melanie Williams (Dec 9, 2016)
In the spring of 2013, Kaitlyn Mason was a newlywed and expecting her first child. Her friends and family held multiple baby showers for her, events that planted the seeds for a ministry.

After the birth of her daughter, Kaitlyn found out that her sister was in a crisis pregnancy and was considering having an abortion. Kaitlyn, who happened to be a hotline volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, helped her sister to ultimately choose life for her child. However, due to family strains, her sister wasn't given a baby shower. Kaitlyn saw the need for a ministry that would put on baby showers for women in crisis pregnancies who need support.

Joined with her friend Serena Boykin, Kaitlyn created "Mary Garden Showers." The name "Mary Garden Showers" came to Kaitlyn from the idea of a Mary Garden in which flowers, plants, and trees are named for Our Lady and Jesus. These baby showers would be a different kind of "garden" for Mary.

Their first shower was held in February 2015 at their local parish in Charlotte, North Carolina. There are now four chapters of their ministry: one in Charlotte; one in Columbus, Ohio; and two in Indianapolis, Indiana. When a woman wants to start a chapter in her area, she must first get permission from her pastor. Then Kaitlyn and Serena provide informational support, including a handbook on how to host a Mary Garden baby shower. The chapter then establishes a relationship with local crisis pregnancy centers, and women who choose life are referred to the chapter. The chapter then finds a sponsor group for the woman, and they hold the shower in a Catholic parish.

Serena said, "It's a way of evangelizing also, because we know that the Church is a place with the Presence of Christ. It's the first time that many of these women are exposed to anything like that."

They have also been able to make the ministry ecumenical. This can inspire women of other denominations to start asking questions about Mary.

Ever since the founding of their ministry, Kaitlyn and Serena wanted a solid, Catholic message that they could share with the mothers — yet universal enough to be accepted by the mothers who may or may not be Catholic, or even believe in Christ.

While praying about this in Lent of 2016, Kaitlyn was preparing for her Marian consecration and attended a Mercy and Mary Retreat by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. At the retreat, it became clear to her that devotion to Mary and the Divine Mercy were exactly what God wanted them to be sharing with women in crisis pregnancies through Mary Garden Showers.

After the retreat, Kaitlyn and Serena reached out to the Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy, a group sponsored by the Marian Fathers in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Missionaries were eager to help. The Marian Missionaries are now able to provide canvas Divine Mercy Images for every woman who is given a baby shower.

"Father Gaitley told us on the retreat that mercy runs to the lowest spot," Kaitlyn said, "so we're trying to fill that spot that these women have right now."

Due to the difficult situations most of the women they minister to are in, Kaitlyn and Serena often lose contact with them after their showers. By giving these Images of Divine Mercy at each shower — along with an image of Jesus with Mary, and a framed Catholic reflection on motherhood — Kaitlyn and Serena are hoping to give a lasting message to the women that they are being cared for by God.
"This is our passion," Kaitlyn said.

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Elizabeth - Feb 26, 2017

What a marvelous initiative! Giving baby showers to those mothers in urgent need of love and financial support for their new born babies. If every body contributes a little bit what a great difference that will make in the life of a single mother facing such a situation! God will bless you for the work you are doing. Many many follow your example

Kaitlyn Mason - Apr 12, 2017

Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for your words of encouragement. God is certainly blessing us. And yes, with everyone contributing a little bit, apostolates and initiatives like this can truly help to end abortion and welcome babies into the world with much love. Peace to you! Thanks for reading.