A Christian musician’s recent CD aimed at ministering to those dealing with post-abortion effects has been somewhat influenced and inspired by the experiences of someone very close to him.
Michael John Poirier has released Healing After the Choice on the World Library Publications label. The recording seeks to establish a musical environment of healing and consolation for an estimated 80 million U.S parents – plus countless more throughout the world – who, as Poirier says, are grieving, or don’t yet know they’re grieving, the loss of a child or children through abortion.
The subject has a particular resonance for Poirier because his wife Mary underwent three abortions by the time she was 22, before she met him and prior to a spiritual conversion that saw her depart from a life characterized by wild and self-destructive behaviour.
Through her high school years, Mary sought to escape a sense of loneliness by drinking, drugs and sex. “It was just the thing to do,” she says now. Eventually, as the victim of a date rape, Mary became pregnant and was driven to an abortuary by her father, who later apologized for the part he played at that difficult time.
Mary stayed on course, however, and underwent two more abortions in the next several years. But about 15 years ago, she had a spiritual experience through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ that set her on the road to conversion and a change in life. In 1993, she met Poirier and a year later, they were married. A son, Joseph Michael, followed soon afterward, and in 1999, John Paul Anthony was born.
“All I can say is: mercy!” Mary says. “I don’t deserve to have a child, but I don’t think any of us do. It’s a pure gift.”
Mary and Michael John have been taking their testimonies and the message of God’s mercy throughout the U.S. ever since their marriage through a non-profit ministry they have established called the Holy Family Apostolate.
Michael John Poirier began playing guitar at four and left a life of playing in bars in his 20s when he felt God tugging at his heart. Through the Holy Family Apostolate, he and Mary are able to share an invitation for a continual conversion of heart.
His own faith and ability to show mercy to others was tested in 1990 when his 79-year-old grandmother was murdered in Texas. “It’s humanly impossible for me to forgive (the killer). But honestly, I can tell you right now, I feel love for this man who killed my grandmother … I don’t want him to be executed. He’s on death row in Texas. I want his life to turn around.”
Poirier describes his music style as being in the idiom of folk music a la James Taylor or early Kenny Loggins. Most of all, however, he describes his approach to music as “gut prayers.”
“I could not listen to Christian music for the longest time because it was so sweet. It was not believable to me. I’m pleased to see the movement toward questions being asked on struggling with faith. I think that is a living faith. When you have doubts, trials and struggles, you’re alive.”
Poirier immediately tries to bring the listener into an atmosphere of prayer when he performs. “Almost all of my songs are from me or we to God, or from God to me or us.”
He has released nine CDs. The Healing After the Choice project came about when one of the owners of PrayerSongs Publishing in Arizona discussed with a representative of the post-abortion healing ministry Rachel’s Vineyard how many of Poirier’s songs were being used for post-abortion healing.
The collaboration resulted in the compilation of a series of Poirier’s previous recordings into a coherent order. The liner notes provide quotes from Pope John Paul II’s pro-life encyclical Evangelium Vitae, as well as listings of resources for post-abortion healing and Mary Poirier’s remarkable story.
Poirier says he is already hearing about some of the effects the CD is having on those who have listened to it. “I was approached by a woman after Mass one day. Her bottom lip was quivering and she said she wanted to get more copies of Healing After the Choice. She said the CD had helped her so much and that, ‘I know a lot of women at another parish who need copies of this CD.’
“We sat down and she said she wanted to counsel women in crisis pregnancies because she knew what it’s like … She had been in an abusive marriage and had had several miscarriages, at least one of which was due to a beating by her husband. About two years ago, she finally began talking about the fact that she had had an abortion. The CD was a comfort to her not just because of the abortion, but also because of the harm and sorrow she had endured her whole life.”
Poirier has also received a number of e-mails from across the U.S. describing the CDs helpful effects. He says this is “very fulfilling” and leaves him feeling “grateful and humble.” He adds that to have people blessed by his music is “amazing.”
As he, Mary and their two children continue to travel the U.S., while using the town of Edmund, Okla. as a home base, Poirier says he hopes to focus on children’s songs and spirituality in his upcoming recordings and compositions.
“It’s been interesting all this time, trusting in divine providence,” he says. “God’s provided in radical ways along the way.”