When Alli Coiro studied nursing and philosophy in college, she was determined to find a way to incorporate both medicine and ministry into her future.
Alli began her career as a cardiac nurse. When she and her husband were engaged, they attended classes to learn how to use natural family planning. She loved the concept of natural fertility care so much — not to mention the fruits that they were seeing within their marriage — that it sparked an interest in teaching it to others, too.
“This was the perfect bridge of medicine and ministry for me,” said Alli, who noted that an internship with the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry also solidified her plan of bringing together medicine and ministry.
“I could support couples, walk with them, promote the beautiful Church teaching of God’s plan for marriage, educate couples on the beauty of our biological design, and empower women to have thorough, quality health care,” she said.
Alli eventually became a certified FertilityCare practitioner, teaching the Creighton Model FertilityCare System to others. She also left cardiac nursing and began working alongside Dr. Gavin Puthoff, an NFP-only OB/GYN, where she learned more about NaProTechnology, the medical component of the Creighton Model.
In September, Alli’s mission to bring medicine and ministry closer together became even more evident when she landed her dream job as director of the archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning. The 29-year-old succeeds Diane Daly, who co-developed the Creighton Model FertilityCare System in the 1970s and led the Office of Natural Family Planning for nearly 25 years until her retirement in September.
Alliplans to build upon the work of the office, which coordinates and promotes information on several Church-approved models of natural family planning. The office offers introductory sessions on these models at more than a dozen locations throughout the archdiocese.
The office also supports two programs for teens and young adult women, the Wonder of Eve and Beauty of Eve, which give an in-depth look at the female reproductive system as it was designed by God. Other information presented includes the impact of artificial hormones on a woman’s body, the Church’s teaching that sex remains within marriage and other aspects related to Theology of the Body.
Enkindle, a ministry for couples experiencing challenges conceiving a baby, includes professional individualized counseling for couples; a monthly Rosary held live on Facebook every first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m.; and regular posts and interviews on the NFP Office’s Facebook page.
The office also coordinates the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund, which supports families seeking to adopt a child. Since its inception, the fund has awarded nearly $250,000 in grants to 46 recipients, leading to the adoption of 50 children. A raffle to support the adoption fund is taking place through March 15 at bit.ly/ARJC-CardsRaffle.
As she reflected on her retirement, Diane said helping couples with their family planning and health care needs has been her greatest joy.
“It has been a wonderful, God-filled journey for me to have the awesome opportunity to create programs and assist all of the NFP programs doing so much to help women and couples with their family planning needs and health care,” Diane wrote when she announced her retirement. “My best memories are working with couples and uncovering for them the joy that NFP brings to their relationships.”
Natural family planning
Four models of natural family planning are offered at locations throughout the Archdiocese of St. Louis. They are the Aware/Billings Ovulation Method, Creighton Model FertilityCare System, Couple to Couple/Sympto-Thermal, and the Marquette Model. Instruction in each of those models is offered independently of the Archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning.
The Office of Natural Family Planning also offers other resources and events, including:
- Annual Humanae Vitae Mass and celebration in July
- Materials for engaged couples and promotion kits for those helping couples prepare for Christian marriage
- Enkindle infertility support ministry
- Wonder of Eve and Beauty of Eve programs for high school teen girls and young adult women
- “Holy, Happy, Healthy” newsletter
- Annual seminarian Homily writing contest
- Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund
- Parish ambassadors and NFP witness speakers
To learn more about the Office of Natural Family Planning, visit stlouisnfp.org.