For women facing an unplanned pregnancies in the St. Louis
area, the number of resources is virtually endless. Here are some ways
in which Catholic and other pro-life organizations are helping mothers
choose life for their babies:
Charities of St. Louis is a federation of eight agencies that impact
the lives of more than 103,500 people annually in 11 counties in the St.
Louis metropolitan area. To learn more visit www.ccstl.org.
• Good Shepherd Children and Family Services
provides a host of services, including foster care and treatment foster
care, adoption, expectant parent counseling, maternity shelter,
pregnancy services and advocacy.
• Queen of Peace Center offers family-centered behavioral health care for women who are overcoming substance use disorders, and their children.
• St. Martha’s Hall provides a confidential, safe place for women who have been impacted by domestic violence, and their children.
provides treatment and support to young people struggling with
emotional and behavioral issues, resulting from abuse, neglect and other
• Saint Louis Counseling
provides professional counseling to families and individuals, including
offices throughout the St. Louis area, schools and places of employment.
• St. Francis Community Services focuses on legal aid, youth programs, bilingual mental health counseling, case management and more.
• St. Patrick Center
helps people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The
agency works with individuals and families to build permanent, positive
change in their lives.
• Cardinal Ritter Senior Services
provides residential, health care and supportive social services for
senior adults, including foster grandparent program and support for
seniors who are parenting grandchildren.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Louis is an international
Catholic lay organization that provides direct services, via home
visits, to people in need, including pregnant women who are choosing
life for their babies. Many of the society’s services are recognizable
through the Corporal Works of Mercy, such as clothing, shelter,
transportation and healing. To learn more about the society in St.
Louis, visit svdpstlouis.org.
Deacon Diaper Drive
permanent deacons of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, in conjunction with
the Respect Life Apostolate, organize an annual archdiocesan-wide drive
each spring to collect baby diapers for those in need. Diapers are
collected at weekend Masses and are distributed by participating
parishes to organizations including St. Vincent de Paul Society
conferences, women’s shelters and crisis nurseries, for example. This
year, diaper donations will be collected at parishes during the weekend
Masses of March 21-22, through Palm Sunday, April 5.
Respect Life Apostolate
archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate offers several programs that
provide pastoral and spiritual care for those who have experienced an
abortion. Additionally, the apostolate publishes an options brochure
with a guide to local resources for pregnant women, including resource
centers and maternity homes, many of which provide food, clothing,
financial assistance, counseling, shelter and job training. For more
information on any of the apostolate’s resources and ministries, visit www.STLrespectlife.org or call (314) 792-7555.
• The LifeLine Coalition
is a group of Catholic social service agencies and pro-life caregivers
committed to helping women experiencing crisis pregnancies through
increasing awareness and availability of pregnancy assistance services,
generating new revenue for caregivers and by expanding services to
pregnant women. Contribute to the Lifeline Coalition online at www.bit.ly/2Q6HeFM.
Checks should be made payable to LifeLine Coalition, Respect Life
Apostolate, Mail Stop 34001, P.O. Box 953745, St. Louis, MO 63195-3745
• Archbishop Robert J. Carlson established the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Fund
in 2009. The fund relieves the burdens of expectant parents and parents
who have recently given birth under challenging circumstances.
Contribute to the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Fund at www.bit.ly/2Q5thI4.
Checks should be made payable to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Fund,
Respect Life Apostolate, Mail Stop 340012, P.O. Box 953745, St. Louis,
• Project Rachel and Project Joseph are ministries of the Respect Life Apostolate that
offer healing and hope to women and men wounded by abortion. The
ministries offer free, confidential professional counseling, spiritual
support groups, retreats and spiritual direction and reconciliation. For
more information on either group, call (314) 792-7565; or email [email protected] for Project Rachel or [email protected] for Project Joseph.
• The Order for the Naming and Commendation of an Infant Who Died Before Birth
is a special rite that memorializes children who have died before
birth, including miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or accident. The
rite, often carried out in the context of Mass, gives families the
chance to name their child and commend the child to the loving care of
God. For more information, contact Mary Varni at [email protected].
Knights of Columbus Meet Life campaign
Meet Life campaign started in Missouri in 2011 with the goal of
decreasing the number of abortions in the state through donated
ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers.
The Knights in
Missouri also contribute $100,000 annually to Vitae Foundation to
conduct a digital marketing campaign, to help connect women with
pregnancy centers in the state. Additional funding is given to diocesan
respect life offices, including the archdiocesan Respect Life
Apostolate, to support pro-life programs, as well as an annual grant to
Birthright for operation expenses.
Even though the Meet Life
campaign was initially promoted as a five-year effort, councils across
the state continue to raise funds, Tesmer said. The program is now
turning in a new direction, to continue support for pregnancy centers
and maintaining the machines, which cost on average about $30,000-35,000
and have a lifespan of about seven to nine years. An endowment
currently is in the works, intending to bring in approximately $200,000 a
year. The Knights already have received a significant initial donation
toward the endowment.
Birthright is a nonprofit
organization that provides support to women facing unplanned
pregnancies. Many of the organization’s locations (the four in St. Louis
and St. Charles) provide free professional counseling to women from the
time of their pregnancy test for as long as they need after their baby
is born. Other services include classes and workshops, fathers’
counseling, postpartum counseling, scholarships and financial
assistance, help with transportation, and medical care assistance, and
counseling for mothers expecting or who have delivered a child with
Birthright provides one-on-one accompaniment, often
filling a gap when the woman doesn’t have a strong support network at
home. The organization also works closely with other social service
organizations and alternatives-to-abortion agencies to meet the mothers’
needs. Birthright does not receive government funding and relies on the
help of the community.
Birthright St. Louis locations (birthrightstl.org): Brentwood (314) 962-5300; Central West End (314) 361-0124; Bridgeton (314) 298-0945; South County (314) 962-3653
Other area Birthright locations (birthright.org): Eureka (636) 938-4221; Hillsboro (636) 789-3518; Wentzville (birthrightofwentzville.com) (636) 327-8170; St. Charles (birthrightstcharles.org) (636) 724-1200.
Room at the Inn
by the Sisters of Divine Providence, the Room at the Inn provides
24-hour emergency shelter to women and families who are homeless. The
organization serves up to 20 people daily, nearly 200 people each year,
half of whom are children. In addition to food and shelter, Room at the
Inn helps clients identify the underlying causes of their homelessness,
regain self-sufficiency and avoid future episodes of homelessness.
Clients stay at the organization’s central location in Bridgeton during
the day. In the evening, they stay at one of numerous night sites at
congregations throughout St. Louis County and St. Charles County. Room
at the Inn also collaborates with more than 50 other human services
agencies to provide services to help clients get back on their feet. For
more information, visit www.roomstl.org.
Our Lady’s Inn
in 1982, Our Lady’s Inn has provided services to pregnant women and
their children who are homeless. The nonprofit organization has provided
shelter and support with securing education, stable housing and
employment to more than 6,000 women who have chosen life for their
unborn babies. The organization has locations in south St. Louis and St.
Charles. Also, the Twice Blessed Resale Shop serves as a social
enterprise, providing job experience and training for residents, and as a
funding source for Our Lady’s Inn. For more information, visit www.ourladysinn.org.
WISH (Women and Infant Substance Help) Center at SSM Health St. Mary’s
Hospital in St. Louis provides comprehensive, high-risk maternity care
for women who are dependent on opioids and other drugs. It is the only
facility of its kind in the St. Louis region. It extends care for new
moms after the baby is born when the risk of relapse is the greatest.
The WISH Center works with outside organizations, many of them Catholic
agencies, to help with job skills, housing, life skills and parenting to
help moms maintain sobriety. For more information, visit www.ssmhealth.com/locations/location-details/wish-center.
at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond Heights, Sweet Babies
provides clothing and other necessities to families with newborns who
are leaving the hospital. The organization was founded in 2010 by
longtime hospital volunteer Alice Provaznik, who saw a need after she
learned that nurses were buying gently used baby clothing to give to new
mothers as they left the hospital with their babies. To learn more,
Thrive St. Louis
three locations and a mobile medical fleet, Thrive St. Louis offers a
variety of services for women including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds,
parenting and life-skills classes, as well as referrals for housing,
medical care, counseling, utility assistance, food and more. See thrivestlouis.org.
Mary Queen of Angels
by a local Catholic woman, Sue Cooke, Mary Queen of Angels provides
support to pregnant mothers up to two years postpartum through providing
for their babies basic necessities to support their decision to bring a
new life into the world. The independent organization, which is based
in O’Fallon, relies on donations to operate. For more information, call
(636) 579-7083 or visit Mary Queen of Angels on Facebook.
Defenders of the Unborn
part of its work to educate others about the evils of abortion,
Defenders of the Unborn offers help to mothers in crisis pregnancies,
including help with rent and utilities, transportation to medical
providers, baby and maternity clothing, bedding, and other items, and
financial support for adoptions, among other services. See stl-defenders.com.
Coalition for Life
nonprofit organization recently launched Women’s Care Connect, which
follows up with abortion-minded women to provide them with comprehensive
services geared toward their needs. Trained staff provide life coaching
and connect them to other agencies to provide the help they need. To
learn more, see www.coalitionforlifestl.org.
Tax credit programs
state of Missouri offers tax credit programs for individuals who donate
to a participating pregnancy resource center or maternity home. There
are 72 recognized pregnancy resource centers and 17 maternity homes
statewide. To learn more about the tax credit program for pregnancy
resource centers, see dss.mo.gov/dfas/taxcredit/pregnancy.htm; and for maternity homes, dss.mo.gov/dfas/taxcredit/maternity.htm
Alternatives to abortion funding
Community Services, an independent nonprofit organization on the campus
of St. Cronan Parish, is among a long list of agencies that receives
funding from the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program. The program
helps women carry their unborn child to term instead of having an
abortion. Missouri lawmakers recently allocated $6.46 million for the
upcoming fiscal year. To learn more about the program and participating
agencies, see dss.mo.gov/fsd/a2a/.
Catholic parishes have partnerships with other faith-based food service
agencies such as Circle of Concern, Feed My People and Sts. Joachim and
Ann Care Center.