One recent morning at the Life Center of Santa Ana, an overwhelmed mother of four called urgently requesting to schedule an ultrasound. She explained that if her baby was four weeks or less, she was going to abort.
MENTOR DOLORES WITH EVA AND HER BABY LEILANI. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE LIFE CENTER OF SANTA ANA
Despite the panic, the Life Center team responded to the mother the same way they respond to all inquiries—with the love and hope of Christ.
The ultrasound measured exactly four weeks. The support extended to the mother over the next two months was critical to her continuing to choose life for her unborn baby. With regular check-in phone calls, encouraging text messages and home visits, she realized she was not alone on this journey. The mother recently shared that she is having a girl.
The Life Center of Santa Ana, a nonprofit Catholic pregnancy resource center, has been caring for women in crisis pregnancies for almost 50 years. With free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and essential material goods, the need for its services is great.
In March 2020 when the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released Walking with Moms, the Life Center team began inviting clients to participate in a mentor match program. The mentors, Catholic women rooted in their faith, pray for the mothers, and regularly meet with them to provide emotional support. The mentor invitation is also an opportunity for evangelization.
In January the Life Center moved to a larger location in the same complex as its ultrasound provider. The new space allows them to host special events geared towards building community, including a weekly Mommy, Me and Jesus class and monthly luncheons. Mentors want the best for the young mothers and are always encouraging them and pointing the way to Christ.
One mentor, Kim, regularly prays at the local abortion clinic. Kim recently encountered a woman in crisis whom she encouraged to visit the Life Center. It was all God’s perfect timing when later that day, Kim was at the Life Center to greet that very mother whom she had met earlier on the sidewalk.
The Gospel Story of the Good Samaritan is the model for the support the mentor team strives to provide. Jesus, the Good Samaritan, tends to the wounds of the victim, brings him to the Inn, pays for his stay and promises to check on him on His return.
One pro-abortion argument continues to be “Why should I keep this baby — what are you going to do for me?” One Good Samaritan cannot save all the women in crisis pregnancies, but as one Church, we can unite our lifesaving efforts and invite everyone home to the Inn.
Last December, Beth came into the Life Center for a pregnancy test. She told the team that she was adamant she was going to abort and already had her abortion scheduled for that Friday. While Beth pregnancy tested, the team was led in prayer by a priest who is a regular volunteer at the center. Over the next few weeks, the team regularly reached out to Beth with an encouraging phone call or text. A month after her initial visit, Beth called to say thank you and shared that she never aborted her baby.
A month before her due date, a beautifully pregnant Beth came into the center to sit in on the Mommy and Me class. Once again, it was all God’s perfect timing that the same priest happened to be volunteering at the center. To witness the reunion between Father and Beth was an overwhelming example of God’s mercy and love.
By the Grace of God and continued support, Beth’s son was born last month. The team recently asked Beth what advice she would give to a newly pregnant mom who was feeling afraid. She responded, “I would say to just take deep breaths and know that everything will be okay. I know it’s scary, but once you see their little heartbeat on the monitor, it’s like the whole entire world is paused.”
Last year, the mother of an 18-year-old contacted the Life Center to see what support was available for her son. A college freshman, he found out that his girlfriend was pregnant. The Life Center referred this young man to its Walking with Dads Coordinator. This ministry is working to empower the young fathers from the Life Center to be the
best leaders and providers that God calls them to be.
With the perfect love of Christ, the Life Center team endeavors to cast out the fear of an abortion minded mother, or father, and give them the hope to choose life. Rather than merely pointing a finger at the evil of abortion, through mentoring, the team becomes part of the solution — a solution of love and relationship.
The volunteers at the Life Center do many things, great and small, but they want to be known for their love.
To learn more about the Life Center of Santa Ana, visit https://www.lifecenterofsantaana.org/