A version of this article was originally published in the January 2021 edition of Columbia, magazine of the Knights of Columbus.
Faith received Holy Communion, returned to her pew and tried to settle her soul.
God had revealed that becoming Catholic would bring her closer not only to Him but to the man she would marry.
“It’s been a few months,” she prayed silently, “and I have yet to meet my husband.”
Her little boy was fidgeting. A young man who had seen Faith launch from reluctant pregnancy into radiant motherhood offered to take him to the back of church so she could receive Holy Communion in peace.
After Mass, she found them both kneeling and praying in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
“I saw it as a miracle moment,” she recalled. “My son never behaved this way.”
Joe and Jane Dalton, directors of the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) of Rolla had been like parents to Faith, helping her embrace life for little Noah and a hopeful future for herself.
In due time, they had also sponsored her and Noah into the Catholic Church.
Gabe is Joe and Jane’s son.
“I’d sat next to Gabe so many times at Mass,” Faith recalled. “My eyes were suddenly open and I knew he was the one.”
Truth to power
Almost four years ago, Faith was engaged to be married when she found out she was pregnant.
Still in college but nonetheless excited to be a mother, she came to the PRC for a free ultrasound.
The not-for-profit center, founded by members of Knights of Columbus St. Patrick Council 2627 in Rolla, offers a wide range of services to women who are pregnant and in crisis or need.
She came back about two weeks later, crestfallen. Her fiancé had broken up with her because she insisted on giving birth to the baby.
“I felt betrayed, alone, confused, discouraged, hopeless,” she recalled.
She was working a low-paying part-time job and had nowhere to live.
Jane Dalton, the PRC’s client services director, listened to Faith, then asked her what she wanted.
Faith wanted to give her baby life — and a good one, at that.
She wanted to finish her degree, become financially self-sufficient and raise her baby to have a better life than she had had so far.
Jane told her: “You can, and we can help you.”
The Rolla PRC employs certified, professional life-skills coaches who meet one-on-one with each client to help her ask the right questions and make decisions based on her own needs.
“They convinced me I was not alone, that whatever I needed, they would help me get,” Faith recounted. “And that’s exactly what they did.”
There was room for Faith at what is now the PRC Maternity Home, a temporary residence for women who are pregnant and in need of a supportive community.
The staff offers long-term help, structure and life coaching to women who choose life for their babies.
Jane developed the Bridges curriculum to help the PRC clients reach their full potential.
The goal is to break the cycle of poverty by helping them develop the skills and habits necessary to become self-sufficient, and then pass those skills on to their children.
Before long, Faith was excelling in her college studies and soaring through the life-skills program, aptly titled “My Ridiculously Amazing Life.”
She finished her degree in 2017, began her career as a cosmetologist and gave birth to Noah.
What’s more, she accepted Christ back into her life.
“God really used my crisis to bring me closer to Him,” she said. “And He continues to do that.”
In January 2019, Faith got an invitation to Washington, D.C., to share her story with federal lawmakers as part of Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress event during the March for Life.
There, she met then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of his staff in his office near the White House.
“I got to tell him how I started out as a homeless, pregnant, part-time waitress and went from that to being a mom, a college graduate employed in my field of study with a 401k, and had started a business,” she said.
“If that’s not a story of God’s miraculous way of turning things around, I don’t know what is.”
Five Catholic bishops blessed her and Noah that day, and a group of Sisters of Life surrounded them and listened in awe to their story.
Faith started recognizing something different about the Catholics around her.
“I noticed that Catholic people forgive and love and give differently from what I learned to live like before,” she said.
The Daltons’ answers to her questions on the flight back to Missouri gave her peace and clarity.
“What I learned set well with my soul,” she said. “I asked God what all of this meant, and He said, ‘It means you’re supposed to be Catholic.’”
She began going to Mass with the Daltons each Sunday. Father David Veit, who was the pastor, and Deacon Michael Brooks helped her prepare for the Sacraments of Initiation.
On June 23, 2019, Fr. Veit baptized Noah, confirmed Faith and give her First Holy Communion.
Joe and Jane Dalton served as Noah’s godparents.
Jane served as Faith’s confirmation sponsor.
Made for each other
Faith remained a resident of the Maternity Home until Noah was 2.
As she became close with Joe and Jane, she got to know the rest of the family, including their son Gabe.
Gabe, 21, who had helped her move in, also helped her move to the home they would eventually share as husband and wife.
Both admired each other from afar but knew that a relationship would not be appropriate while Faith was a client of the PRC.
“She later told me she thought I was trying to ignore her,” Gabe recalled. “In reality, I was trying not to stare too much.”
Gabe completed a welding course and accepted a job in Minnesota.
He came back to visit, “and I saw him in a totally different light,” Faith recalled. “He was really mature and had a definite confidence about him.”
She didn’t want to risk ruining her friendship with his parents, so she patiently prayed and waited.
Finally, confident that she already had God’s blessing, she invited Joe and Jane over for Sunday lunch and asked for permission to get to know their son better.
“We were surprised and delighted,” Jane recalled.
Gabe called Faith that evening. They went on their first date the following day.
Not long thereafter, Gabe asked Noah for permission to marry his mother.
Noah said yes, and so did Faith.
The couple were united in marriage on June 27, 2020, in St. Patrick Church.
Joe walked Faith down the aisle.
She wore the dress Jane had worn at her own wedding.
Two women who had lived with Faith at the Maternity House served as her attendants.
Faith couldn’t be happier.
Gabe said he’s enjoying life as a new husband and a father.
“I believe God had been preparing me for Faith, as well as for Noah, my entire life in so many different ways,” he said. “I definitely didn’t always see it at the time, but now it’s very clear to me.”
Noah’s little sister is due to be born in August.
The road to Rolla
Joe and Jane Dalton’s passions and life experiences complement one another’s.
Both have beaten cancer.
Joe’s father was a permanent deacon and the first full-time social services and pro-life director for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois.
Jane, a Catholic convert, had completed two degrees in child psychology while caring for two young children before marrying Joe.
The couple were leading a national a pro-life organization and raising eight children together when they decided it would be better to do so in a rural setting.
Within a day of their arrival in Rolla, two people called to say they had been begging God to send a pro-life anchor to that community.
“That’s when I learned we had moved to a college town that had a Planned Parenthood but did not have a pregnancy center,” Joe recalled.
They established the PRC with backing from the Rolla Knights council in 2006.
Since then, the organization has sought to help 3,397 women who were considering abortion.
Of those, 3,389 chose life for their babies — over a 99.7-percent success rate.
“We give God 100 percent of the credit for that,” Joe stated.
Jane said she’s delighted to have Faith as a daughter-in-law and Noah as a grandson.
“What I love most about Faith and my son is that they truly seek the will of God and then do whatever they possibly can to follow that,” she stated.
Jane, having counseled more than 10,000 pregnant women in crisis, is convinced that no one ever wants to have an abortion.
“It’s often their last resort because they think they don’t have any other options,” she said. “We tell them, ‘If you choose another option, we’ll help you fill in the gaps.’”
The Bridges program helps women break unhealthy habits and replace them with new skills and strategies.
“It’s not about changing who they are,” Jane asserted. “It’s actually about helping them become the wonderful people they were born to be.”
Faith has started volunteering at the PRC and studying to become a certified life coach.
She hopes her story will inspire other women who are pregnant and frightened, to ask God for a miracle, and then work with Him to bring it about.
“I’m so grateful He is using what little I had to offer in exchange for all of these opportunities to draw closer to Him and become the woman He always intended me to be,” she said.
Jane called all of this a “God journey.”
“It’s what God does,” she said. “He doesn’t overwhelm us. He just keeps giving us a little bit at a time. Just enough for us to keep saying ‘yes.’”
The Rolla Knights have supported the center from the outset with volunteer and financial assistance; in 2012, the council placed an ultrasound machine there through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative.
Joe offers a challenge to his fellow Knights: “There are nearly 3,000 local pregnancy centers in this country alone. If you’re not already supporting yours, create a relationship with them and start doing things to help them.”
“Remember that all life is precious,” he stated, “and that nothing is impossible with God.”
The work continues
For more information about PRC of Rolla, visit prcrolla.com.
The PRC’s annual Banquet for Life was canceled again this year due to COVID-19. Since this is by far their largest fundraiser of the year, they are seeking donations to be able to continue their lifesaving works.
Their address is 1210 E. State Route 72, Rolla MO 65401 or you can contribute online at supportmyprc.com.