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The Deacon's Bench

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From St. Louis comes this powerful story about the woman coordinating that city’s 40 Days for Life campaign:

Maria Thompson was a teenager when she became pregnant. The 18-year-old was living in Mexico City. The father, 11 years older than her, didn’t want anything to do with the baby. Her parents, as she recalled, “would not tolerate any deviation.” So when they found out she was pregnant, “I had no place to go.”

The year was 1973. Abortion was legal in Mexico, and the father of her child sent her to have an abortion. At that time, abortions were performed in the home of the doctor, Thompson recalled.

For the first several months after the abortion, Thompson said it was “very difficult for me to see a baby.” She supported a woman’s choice to have an abortion, noting “it was the thing to do.” It wasn’t until later that she realized “it was nothing but to cover the pain and anguish” of her own abortion. She also considered suicide.

Years later, Thompson married and had a child. She later became pregnant again, but lost that child through a miscarriage, an experience she said was sent to her by God.

“The child I lost in a miscarriage was the same age of the aborted child,” she recalled. “That’s when life really became worse for me. I realized what had been bothering me.”

Thompson, who had strayed from her Catholic upbringing, returned to the Church. She sought forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and attended a retreat through Project Rachel, the Church’s ministry to those who have experienced an abortion.

Today, the member of St. Ferdinand Parish in Florissant helps organize the semi-annual 40 Days for Life campaign, an effort which calls on people of all faith backgrounds to pray and fast for an end to abortion. Among their duties, participants take turns keeping a prayer vigil outside of the local Planned Parenthood abortion facility during the 40 days of the campaign.

Thompson said she is willing to share her story with the world, because “it means the difference between a woman being lost forever and a child being saved.”

She thinks of the parable of the three servants and the one who neglects to do anything with his talents. (Matthew 25: 14-30).

“I don’t know what my talents are, but I know I have a story to get through to other women — so maybe somebody will hear and not do what I have done,” she said.

That’s just the beginning. There’s much more. Check it out.

And, for an even more powerful testimony, there’s an audio slide show that tells Maria’s story in her own words.

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