Conspicuous: An Afternoon for Life

Conspicuous: An Afternoon for Life

Conspicuous: An Afternoon for Life

I wondered what we looked like from the third floor.  Surely the sight of five Catholic priests in clerics, three young women, and one seminarian clad in a black cassock whipping in the bitter fall Canadian wind would catch someone’s attention, someone’s heart.

We stood on the sidewalk opposite of the abortion clinic, pulled out our rosaries, and began the Sorrowful Mysteries.  The beads felt cold and hard in my already-frozen fingers.  I again looked up at the third floor of the building that had been claimed by the abortionist.  The sign-less clinic shared a doorway with a Curves gym.  Most people wouldn’t know the den of horrors was overhead if it hadn’t been for our group.  Some passers-by probably wondered why we were so against Curves.  A steady stream of people came and went from the McDonald’s next door.  Everything looked normal.  Except us.

As we took turns leading decades, we fought against the wind and traffic to pray loudly enough for the others to follow.  Occasionally a bus would stop just past our group, depositing a small group of people next to us.  Shocked, embarrassed, indifferent, or indignant, the travelers made their ways past us silently, mostly, with the occasional mocking comment.

I closed my eyes and listened especially to my priest friends’ voices reciting the rosary, warming inside thinking of how pleasing they on that sidewalk must’ve been to Our Lord and Lady.  Deeper into the mysteries I happily imagined the immense effect that five priests’ prayers would bring, equally amazed at the stubbornness of evil.

And then a door would open.  Perhaps it was a boyfriend, who waited nervously outside, smoking, looking everywhere but at our little group right across the street.  Another swing of a door, and it would be a patient leaving quickly, arms linked with a friend, hurrying down the street.  More women leaving, this time having come from the gym.  Coming and going, doors opening and closing, as our rosary went on, I wanted to scream.  Didn’t anyone see the horror of what was going on on that third floor?  Couldn’t anyone smell the loss of life, all those babies, all those mothers, the loss of soul, the scars, the damage wrought by one man and a team of “caring professionals”?  It all looked so normal.  Like any other busy street downtown.  Except for us.

Copyright 2012 Meg Matenaer


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  1. Wow! Five Catholic priests praying in front of an abortion clinic! And in Canada! The times, they are a-changing. You’ve given me hope. God bless you Meg. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for obeying the Lord by carrying His light into a dark place. Please know that it was not in vain: His Word does not return without accomplishing its purpose. You will probably never know (on Earth) what effect your prayers had, and will have, but please don’t let the Enemy’s lies or the attitudes of passers-by convince you they’re of little worth.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words! Yes, we have to have faith that our prayers will be fruitful, and we have so much evidence from the success of 40 Days for Life that they are:, and like you said, we’ll be treated to the full revelation of how important our prayers are in heaven! Thanks so much–God bless!

  3. Monica @ Equipping Catholic Families on

    Wonderful post. Thank you for your prayers and diligence. 6 of my babies were delivered at a hospital here near Toronto, Canada by doctors who most likely also perform abortions. I tried not to think about it…for lack of access to a pro-life doctor. Thanks for the work that you do…it will save lives.

    • Thank you, Monica, for writing and for YOUR beautiful witness to life! I have lots of hope for Canada and its growing pro-life movement–thanks so much for being part of it!

  4. We started our 40 Days for Life today. I took a two hour shift this morning An abortion worker named Jill–please pray for her conversion–came and told us not to put anything on the dividing wall as it was their property. She said this nicely. The two other businesses in that building do not like our presence at all although over time we seem to make friends with the older employees for we are as pleasant as we can be to them. It is a shame their share a building where unborn babies are torn limb from limb.

    Today the Stericycle truck came to pick up the bodies. It is a terrible feeling to watch the bodies go out in a red biohazard trash bag.

    Sometimes we do have a priest come pray with us. Protestant pastors are extremely rare

    • Oh, what a nightmarish scene…your community and the abortion worker will be in my prayers. Having priests at the location is such a powerful witness–I’m so happy that they are able to join you sometimes. God bless you and all that you do for life!

  5. I have participated in the 40 Days For Life. As a friend who was with me noted…”There don’t seem to be any Non-Catholics here although this is supposed to be an ecumenical protest. Maybe they don’t like sharing in saying the Rosary”.

  6. That’s possible, but too bad. There are so many ways to pray outside the clinics! As Catholics, we’ve been gifted with the powerful prayers of the rosary and it’s good that we use them, but surely everyone who comes can find their own way to pray that they like best. (And I would stress to your friend that 40 Days isn’t a protest but a prayer vigil.) But, absolutely, this isn’t a Catholic problem but a human one! We need everyone out praying! God bless you for protecting life!

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