Alumna discusses prayer as response to abortion
Kate Kulwicki | Thursday, February 13, 2014
Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry sponsored a lecture Wednesday by 1984 alumna Allison Sturm about how to be passionately pro-life and to have compassion for those who have experienced an abortion.
Sturm began her talk in the student center with a prayer, in which she asked God to promote compassion toward those who have dealt with abortion.
“I pray for all of the unborn children, for their mothers, for their fathers, and I pray for those who are wounded by abortion, that You will place someone in their path, Lord, that will bring them to Your love and mercy,” Sturm said.
Sturm said a woman facing an abortion undergoes a lot of pain and most women choose abortion because they do not think they have any other choice. Even though an abortion might free the woman from immediate trauma, it often produces relentless guilt for choosing her own comfort over the life of her child, Sturm said.
“Can we look beyond the obvious tragedy of abortion to see the pain [of] the individual, the mercy of God and His forgiveness of all sin?” she said.
In order to respond to abortion, Catholics must first pray, Sturm said.
“We ask God for an open heart, and we ask to be ready for opportunities where people might come to you because you want to lead them to restore their relationship with God,” Sturm said.
Since it is difficult for someone to imagine being presented with the decision of whether or not to get an abortion, Sturm said she encourages people to suspend their speculation and judgment and instead embrace the individual.
“If someone shares this pain with you, hold it in confidence as a precious gift,” she said. “Hold it like you would hold that child that has been lost.”
Sturm said people should embrace those who are suffering with kindness.
“We need to respect those whose lives are broken by this sin and who still struggle to find healing,” she said. “They may not be open to the truth that there is forgiveness because they are not able to look beyond the feeling of condemnation to heal. Many believe that they could not possibly be loved if anyone found out about this part of their life. So they continue to endure their suffering in silence, and their lives remain broken.”
Catholics boldly proclaim that all life is sacred, Sturm said, but they must also vocally declare that no sin is beyond God’s mercy.
“God uses us to bring His love and mercy to those in despair,” she said. “Could I or could you be that voice that offers the truth that there is no sin too big to be forgiven by God? Could my compassion, or yours, help propel someone who is holding onto guilt and shame to take a brave step towards healing?
“If God has done this time after time for all of us, how could we not extend the same love and mercy towards others?”