Sweet Smell of Roses

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Humanae VitaeJuly 25, I want to thank Pope Paul VI for changing my life forever. Because of his wisdom and the skills of his followers, I am a woman who has touched the cloak of Christ. “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;” whereas “(He) came so that (we) might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Matthew 9 includes the story of another woman – whose name we don’t even know – who had been bleeding for 12 years and used whatever means she had to seek treatments that brought no cure – until she touched the tassel on Jesus’s prayer shawl.

Whereas Christ’s miracles were instantaneous, the church’s tend to be gradual. In the 24th paragraph of his prophetic encyclical, Paul VI reiterated Pope Pius XII’s request of scientists: to refine existing knowledge of natural fertility regulation. Meanwhile, the pill became widely used for both fertility control and the treatment of gynecological symptoms.

I was born in 1971 and suffered female health problems from age 11 and throughout the years of my schooling. I finally had to interrupt a promising career because I could not work full-time or sometimes at all. I couldn’t pay my bills or look after myself. In 2001 and again in 2004, I was offered the birth control pill for symptom management prior to surgeries.

This posed a dilemma. As a single woman, I had no risk of an abortifacient effect. And I knew I had a responsibility, a duty even, to look after my health. But I abhor the pill. It destroys lives, relationships and water systems. Paul VI’s predictions about marital infidelity, lowered moral standards, the objectification of women and coercion by government have all come true. “I don’t even want to give those people my money,” I said. And anyway, how could one fix a problem of estrogen-dominance with a pill that contained more estrogen? I would not accept a pill prescription until I came to peace in my decision.

I was desperate for an answer when my “play brother,” Alex Vernon, referred me to Toronto’s Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre. Its Fertility Care Program is one of the worldwide fruits of Paul VI’s appeal. Among the many who had answered the call was Dr. Thomas Hilgers, who began his research in 1968 and continues to the present day in Omaha, Neb. Hilgers developed the Creighton Method System of Fertility Care – care not fertility control – which is remarkably accurate for both the avoidance and the achievement of pregnancy. Along the way, he also developed a new women’s health science called Naprotechnology, for the co-operative maintenance of reproductive health.

It turns out that there is currently no medical reason to take the pill. I learned that I could use the same kind of fertility chart as a married couple would, to communicate with my health providers and monitor my well-being. The underlying causes of my ailments could be finally treated. Instead of the destructive standard practices, I would be offered hope and healing.

As a local Fertility Care Centre, Marguerite Bourgeoys helps women and men enjoy optimal reproductive health. It treats problems of fertility and gynecology; provides education; offers counselling; and empowers women and couples to better understand and care for their health. There are thousands of girls and women like me, from all reproductive stages – as well as couples who have welcomed “miracle babies” – all using a system that the birth control and artificial reproduction industries don’t want you to know about.

Through the attention of the Marguerite Bourgeoys team, I have received the best of Catholic healthcare on the cutting edge of science and learned how to maintain the well-being that has been restored to me. I have also been able to return to my profession and can once again offer life-saving help to people at their most vulnerable. And now, as the vice-president of Marguerite Bourgeoys, I am one of the people spreading this good news.

Remember that cloak tassel? Under Mosaic law, it was a reminder to keep the commandments. It is only through God that we have received the breath of life and we are meant to live according to his plan. Naprotechnology helps lead suffering women like me to touch the cloak of Christ, so we can indeed live life to the fullest.

Thank you, Paul VI, and to God be the glory.