“Into Life” series offers comprehensive, prayerful framework for pro-life ministry
The Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity at the McGrath Institute for Church Life and the Sisters of Life released a new collaborative project, “Into Life: Love Changes Everything” on March 25. The 12-part series is produced by CampCampo Films.
The videos run approximately fifteen minutes each and feature extensive interviews with members of the Sisters of Life. Produced to educate and inform participants about accompanying women experiencing unexpected pregnancy through the theological framework of the Sisters, the program is designed to be completed in small, in-person groups—though it can be adapted to other formats—and comes with an extensive facilitator and participant guide with both personal reflection and group discussion questions.
The Sisters of Life are a Roman Catholic community of women religious founded by John Cardinal O’Connor, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York. Founded with eight members in 1991, the community now serves in dioceses across the country and in Canada, numbers over 100 professed sisters, and recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. In 2013, the community was awarded the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae medal by the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. The medal “[honors] individuals whose outstanding efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages.”
Today the Sisters’ of Life missions include ministering to the spiritual and material needs of women vulnerable to abortion, helping those who have suffered after abortion, hosting retreats, and evangelizing on college campuses.
“Into Life” offers participants a unique opportunity to encounter and learn from the Sisters of Life, whose joy has even landed sledding sisters on the pages of the New York Post. The community serves as viewers’ guide, providing spiritual foundations for pro-life ministry grounded in prayer and a contemplative outlook—a term coined by John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae (§83).
Videos address topics such as vulnerability, hope, maternity—including in the context of post-abortive healing and adoption—and reflective listening. Each video displays the reverence and loving maternity characteristic of the Sisters of Life, consecrated by a fourth vow “to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.”
Sister Marie Veritas, director of evangelization for the Sisters of Life, shared in an interview with the Rover: “Our hope is that every person who watches this series will come to know deeply that their life is a gift, that they are good, made in God’s image, and that their life has profound meaning and worth.”
She encouraged all to consider watching the videos, saying: “This series is meant to be not only a resource for pro-life work, but for the whole scope of human relationships—because it’s ultimately about upholding each other, about listening and accompaniment, and about affirming the other in their goodness and worth. It’s about seeing and loving in truth.”
Jessica Keating, program director of the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity, said in a press release from the university: “The goals of the program are to cultivate and deepen a spirituality of life, to learn about the heart of the pregnant woman—her fears and her hopes—and to develop practical pastoral skills for effective listening and accompaniment.”
Keating noted that the program has a particular poignancy both now and after the anticipated ruling this summer in the landmark Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization:
“Even in a post-Roe world, there will continue to be women who experience unexpected pregnancies, who need authentic relationships, genuine dialogue, and intentional accompaniment. Even in a society where the dignity of the prenatal child is recognized and legally upheld, and women and children receive ample support, there will still be the need for loving, personal concern.”
Sr. Veritas said, “As pregnancy centers anticipate receiving more women after Dobbs, our hope is to help people understand more deeply the realities of the heart of a woman who is pregnant and in crisis.”
With “Into Life” the University of Notre Dame demonstrates its commitment to building a culture of life through pastoral care and education as well as legal advocacy. The wealth of the Sisters’ of Life charism has been made available for individuals, churches, and pregnancy resource centers across the country and the world.
Maggie Garnett is a senior studying theology and the Executive Editor Emerita of the Irish Rover. In September, she will enter formation with the Sisters of Life, retiring from these storied pages in a blaze of glory (or at least in a quiet extinguishing of her favorite scented candle, “Gratitude”). Add items to her pre-postulancy bucket list at email@example.com—and please pray for her!
Photo credit: Sisters of Life