By: Rebecca T. Ducusin

Pilgrims from all over the world visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France are welcome to visit the international Centre for Life (Centre International pour la vie) which aims “to educate, to inform, and to listen; to love truth, to protect all life.”

The centre promotes respect for human life from conception to natural death. It gives information on the stakes of human life including love, sexuality, natural birth control and demographic problems. People in distress are directed to relevant organizations.

This resource centre for pro-lifers is located at a narrow cobble stoned street at 74 rue de Bourg, a few minutes walk from the train station and to the shrine.

Francois Pascal, head of the centre, said that abortion is a problem in many parts of the world and even at Lourdes. “Sometimes a pilgrim drops in just to have a talk because she had experienced and abortion,” Mr. Pascal told The Interim. “We are not only dealing with abortion, but informing people about Humanae Vitae and Evangelium vitae.”

The resource centre distributes the information on pro-life organizations in various languages. Free films and videos are shown and literature including books, reports, posters, brochures, journals and tools promoting respect for life (pins, models) are available for reference or purchase.

Mr. Pascal became involved with the pro-life movement at the age of 22. He recalled that when the abortion law was passed in France, there were many pro-life activities undertaken. As a student he saw many pro-life activities in churches. He explained figuratively that when he started to put his finer in the door his whole body was drawn. “I don’t regret it,” he said.

The centre is open from April to November from 10 a.m. to 7p.m. or even much later when there are pilgrims staying around and needing information. Volunteers have helped in the smooth implementation of the activities.

Set-up in 1977 by pro-life leaders, it receives and sends information to organizations in various countries. It is a non-denominational, non-profit organization.

The centre supports its operations through spontaneous donations from visitors, sale of materials and subscriptions from members.

Current subscription rates are 5- FF for active members, 100 FF or more for benefactory members.

Mr. Pascal said French pro-lifer Jean Bernard Grenoulleau, president of the Comite des Enfants a naitre, is a strong supporter of the centre.