“Pregnancy help centers are important for America. That’s why I’m here today.”
Faith and her 1-year-old son Noah traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life and to speak to Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress.
“I’m a little bit star-struck,” she told the Vice President while shaking his hand after sharing her story.
“I understand,” he said. “I am, too.”
Faith’s journey from the streets of misery to the halls of authority is a testament to God’s transformative power exercised through agents of His grace.
In this case, those agents were the people of the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) of Rolla and the St. Raymond’s Society.
Both organizations, which have strong local, Catholic ties, are part of a growing emphasis within the pro-life movement on empowering women to make real choices about their lives and the lives of their preborn children.
Jane Dalton is the client services director at the PRC, which helps women in difficult pregnancy situations choose life for their pro-born babies.
She’s also program director for the St. Raymond’s Society of Rolla, which helps the women embrace motherhood after making that life-affirming decision.
Her husband, Joseph Dalton, is the PRC’s executive director. Both are members of St. Patrick parish in Rolla.
They come into almost daily contact with women who are pregnant and frightened, some of whom are dead-set on having an abortion.
That was not the case when they met Faith, who was 21 and engaged to be married and found out through a free ultrasound at the PRC that she had become a mother.
“She was over-the-moon, completely happy to be pregnant,” Mrs. Dalton recalled.
But she came back a week later, almost unrecognizable.
People who she thought would share her joy were telling her to have an abortion, finish school and wait until after she was married and financially stable.
They said she was too young to be a good mother. They called her irresponsible for wanting to have the baby.
“No one was supporting her,” said Mrs. Dalton. “She was distraught and distressed, angry and disillusioned. It was as if she had become another person.”
After listening to her, the PRC staff asked Faith what she wanted.
“We actually talked about all of her options, all of her choices, without an agenda,” said Mrs. Dalton. “She told us how she envisioned her future. She wanted to be a good mother and also complete college and be successful in her field.
“She wanted to be able to do it all,” said Mrs. Dalton. “We told her, ‘You can, and we can help you.’”
That day, she chose life for her yet-to-be-born son.
About two months later, she came back to the PRC. Her fiancé had broken the engagement. She was now homeless.
There was room for her in Rolla’s St. Raymond’s House — one of three in the diocese.
The home offers a place for pregnant women and eventually their children to live temporarily while the moms learn parenting skills and prepare to live independently.
That was a major turning point for Faith.
She dove headfirst into the St. Raymond’s House life-skills curriculum, known as “My Ridiculously Amazing Life.”
She recounted in Washington how in less than a year, “I went from a homeless, pregnant, part-time waitress to a breastfeeding mom, a college graduate employed in my field of study with a 401k, and a business owner.
“Most importantly, I became a baptized Christian,” she said, adding, “I’m on my way to becoming the woman God created me to be.”
And yes, she believes her life is “ridiculously amazing.”
Nothing to hide
Faith shared her story with federal lawmakers as part of Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress event in Washington.
Later on, she met Vice President Pence and members of his staff in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near the White House.
She spoke candidly, passionately and gratefully about the people and circumstances that led to her son’s unexpected birth and to her own ongoing transformation.
The Vice President’s response to hearing her story and meeting her son was, “Thank you for being so transparent.”
He said she is an amazing woman and should be very proud of herself.
He then signed her table card, inscribing it to “the mother of Noah.”
The next morning, Faith, Noah and the Daltons traveled to St. Anthony School, where five busloads of pro-life pilgrims from the Jefferson City diocese were staying overnight before the March for Life.
Once again, she shared her story.
A correspondent from the EWTN Global Catholic Network interviewed her during the March for Life.
Faith said the people she met in Washington were “all so positive and encouraging.”
“I’ve always felt like a little person,” she said. “They made me feel really big.”
“We can live anyway”
Mrs. Dalton noted that when Faith found out she was pregnant, people began putting her down, and she started to believe it.
“She had no idea how how wonderful she really was,” said Mrs. Dalton.
She asserted that for most women who “choose” abortion, it boils down to doing what someone else — usually a person with power or influence — wants them to do.
Even when that influence is soft and unspoken, many women pursue abortion to avoid angering or disappointing people they love.
“We see that all the time,” said Mrs. Dalton. “Faith was really swimming upstream by not having abortion.”
Mrs. Dalton said Pregnancy Resource Centers are about giving women a real choice.
“We talk about all their options and what is best for them,” she said.
Faith said she now realizes that adversity is inevitable, “but we can live anyway.”
She asked for prayers to never forget how gracious and merciful the Father has been to her.
“Actually, I don’t think I ever could forget!” she said.
St. Raymond’s of Rolla’s Facebook is @Straysrolla, and its website is www.srshelp.org.