Guelph & Area Right to Life is fundraising to build a Garden of Grace in memory of babies who died before or a short time after birth. It is intended to be a place where their families can have a chance to grieve, remember, and find healing. It may be the first of its kind. “In the U.S. there are a couple of memorial gardens for parents who have lost little ones through miscarriage – but these do not include aborted children,” Jakki Jeffs , president of Guelph & Area Right to Life, told The Interim.
Jeffs said, “families who suffer a natural miscarriage prior to 20 weeks are also often left with nowhere to grieve their loss.”
But there is especially a need for this garden in light of Ontario’s high abortion rates. Jeffs explained, “studies have shown that many women and men suffer greatly after their abortions and regret the decision to kill their child. However, society does not wish to hear or see their grief.”
She told of one friend who has had an abortion who “believes that our garden will be visited by thousands of men and women who grieve their children… she explained that as an abortive mother you are so tied to your grief and anguish that you do not understand that you can heal and be freed from such grief.”
The garden will be situated on the grounds of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph. It will include landscaping, two statues by Canadian artist Timothy Schmaltz (“I knew you in the womb” and “I will never forget you”), and silent spaces for reflection and prayer. Guelph & Area Right to Life asked Fr. Dennis Noon for permission to have the garden on church grounds, and he agreed. The group rented space from the Basilica in the past and reasoned that it would also be a good place for the garden, as it is often frequented by visitors to Guelph.
A local contractor has also paid for one of the statues in the garden. He, as well as an architect, will help in the design and digging of the garden. Moreover, the group has a $3,500 down payment towards the second statue. The Garden of Grace was publicized by a local radio station.
The pro-life group started a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $45,000 by March 4 to help pay for the remaining costs. “We owe it to the mothers and fathers of aborted children to finally stand beside them and provide a place of grieving they have so long been denied,” said Jeffs.