This article on our Clergy Day came out in the OC Catholic newspaper last weekend with an introductory capture of Denise and Ben’s story. Yes, my “Ripped Chart” couple! The reporter called me for an interview after speaking with … Continue reading
It’s a great privilege to journey with my clients through some of the most difficult seasons of their lives: huge transitions, infertility, pregnancy loss, family stress, marital conflict, etc. Many of them don’t have a supportive group of friends who understand what they’re going through, and these challenges are so personal that they don’t often share their struggles with others. Much of it comes out in the sacred space of our offices and I find myself encountering the whisper of God in our midst as we search for the greater good and deeper beauty that He is bringing forth in these circumstances.
Marriage is not always easy…parenting is not always easy…using NFP is always not easy…life is definitely not always easy. But grace ALWAYS abounds. When we discover the virtues that bear fruit through perseverance, it makes the hard times so worth it. And the witness we give to our communities of the commitment to our spouses, our children, and to God is absolutely priceless. Some people may not care for it, but others depend on the example of our faithfulness. They are looking for a reason to hold on to hope for themselves as they battle with their own darkness and desolation.
When I look across the desk into the eyes of my clients and acknowledge their frustration and pain because in many cases I’ve been where they are, I pray that I can also continue to live the advice that I give them and remember every day the lessons that I’ve learned walking my own rocky path. One of the greatest joys I experience as a Creighton practitioner is not only watching the growth of these families, but also the spiritual and emotional growth of these beautiful souls. Seeing them move courageously through their doubts and fears and sitting with them as they make resolutions to follow the Lord’s good and perfect will for their lives…I have much to be grateful for in the work He has given me to do.
All for His glory…all for His kingdom. Amen.
I got an email from Fr. Alphonsus asking for Effectiveness stats to give to the OC priests as follow-up to our recent Clergy Day. This is what I sent to him. It’s the Creighton Model Effectiveness Study for avoiding pregnancy … Continue reading
Last December, a handful of us sat around Bishop Vann’s dinner table talking about what we need to do to promote natural family planning in the Diocese of Orange. Four months later, NFP instructors from the various methods gathered with … Continue reading
Since writing my Top 10 Reasons Why I Became a Creighton Model FertiltyCare Practitioner in November 2012, I have a few life updates for you all: LESSONS: Each client appointment gives me an opportunity to reflect on my attitudes about my marriage, my children, and my faith. There have been many nights when I would come home apologetic after realizing that I hadn’t been as appreciative as I should be for the blessings I’ve been given. I’ve met couples on the brink of divorce…couples who struggle with infertility or repetitive miscarriages…women who face complex reproductive issues. And with each situation, I recall moments of my past when I felt insecure and fearful in the midst of painful circumstances as well. After almost five years of teaching CrMS, there have been multiple times when my clients would mirror back to me areas in my heart that needed healing and purifying. I cannot be more grateful for the older couples freely sharing parenting advice, clients who do marriage mentoring generously passing on amazing resources, and those who have fervently prayed for me and my family. Every person God has brought into my life through this work has become a part of me, and I would not be the same without the lessons each of them has shared with me. One of my favorite follow-up appointments happened some time ago when I met with our beloved Denise and Ben. They encouraged me to dive head first into strengthening the ever-so-important SPICE component at last May’s Practitioner Refresher Workshop because according to them, it is the #1 reason that they are still married. “Don’t doubt yourself, Marianne,” Ben said to me boldly. “You were made to do this!” And off to Three Rivers I went…
BABIES: As pregnancies were achieved among my clients, we also decided to be open to having Creighton Baby Dyogi #4. This is Jean Paul Pierre born on October 4, 2013 (the feast of St. Francis of Assisi)… When we found out I was pregnant, Gary and I decided that it would be a good time for us to make the switch where he would go back to work and I would be home with the kids. As much as I wanted it since Meleana was born in 2007, I faced a tough transition. All of a sudden I had to take my three little ones to all my prenatal check-ups and frequent fetal stress tests while picking up where Gary left off with homeschooling and domestic duties. Not to mention that I was still working part-time as a CrMS practitioner. Crazy, I know…I think I cried more than the kids did…but by the grace of God we got through it! With tons of treasured memories and a spiritual storehouse of Holy Spirit fruit springing forth from constant self-denial and humility, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything on this planet.
GROWTH: It has been about two weeks since we made the decision that Stella Maris FCS would offer full-time FertilityCare Services in both English and Spanish. Last November 2013, two of my clients went to EPI in Three Rivers to be trained as practitioners! One of them, Arianna Banuelos, is bilingual and a parishioner at St. Peter Chanel. She has joined me at Stella Maris FCS as a practitioner intern and is in the process of finishing her program with our educator Margaret Howard. Arianna is undoubtedly a walking CrMS billboard. We always laugh about how she referred several clients to Stella Maris FCS before she even met me! I truly enjoy working with Arianna because she is dedicated, hard-working, and a strong prayer warrior. We are excited to see what God has planned for our Center this coming year! There also have been major stirrings in the Diocese of Orange for NFP promotion, thanks to efforts spearheaded by Fr. Alphonsus Hermes, O. Praem. and Fr. Benedict Yang. We are working with our sister practitioners Sarah Rooney and Alyson del Hierro to serve couples alongside Dr. Mary Kotob, a recently trained CrMS Medical Consultant and head of the Catholic Medical Association OC Chapter. Please pray for this endeavor, as we do have our work cut out for us. There is much to do and an overwhelming number of women out there who need to have this valuable information about their bodies. We are asking The Lord to send laborers for the harvest, so if you are reading this and want to be part of this revolutionary movement in women’s health…send me a message and jump on board! Stay posted…there’s lots more to come!