Good Counsel Homes Welcomes 1,000th Baby

Courtesy of Good Counsel Homes
Courtesy of Good Counsel Homes )

Editor's Note: This story was updated online after it went to press.


SPECIAL BABY. Mia Rose, who was born June 27. Courtesy of Good Counsel Homes


On June 27, the 1,000th baby was born to a mother staying in one of Good Counsel Homes’ residences. 

Genisis was a pregnant 26-year-old when she moved into a Good Counsel home, along with her 3-year-old son, Noah.

She had been headed for an abortion, which the family of her baby’s father wanted, when a small group praying outside the facility encouraged her to speak with the Sisters of Life. 

Genisis was willing to listen.

The Sisters of Life, an order of Catholic nuns based in New York, whose mission is pro-life work, told her about the love and support available to her through Good Counsel and brought her and her son to the Staten Island maternity home. 

While there, she received crisis-pregnancy counseling, life-skills classes and prenatal assistance, including an ultrasound. 

Before long, she decided she wanted to keep her unborn child.

For the next seven months, Genisis lived in a family-like atmosphere, with group dinners prepared and eaten together, the care of a house mother and chores shared among the seven young-women residents. In addition, Genisis’ mother was supportive and came to visit. 

When Genisis went into labor, case manager Omayra Rivera went with her to the hospital and stayed for the birth of Mia Rose. A few hours later, Genisis’ mother came to the hospital to meet her new granddaughter.

Since 1985, Good Counsel Homes have been a pro-life haven for young women in difficult pregnancies. More than 7,000 people have been sheltered by the organization since its founding.

Chris Bell founded the homes with the late Father Benedict Groeschel, a Franciscan priest, psychologist and a regular contributor to EWTN. The first home was in a former convent in Hoboken, N.J. Good Counsel now has maternity homes on Staten Island and in the Bronx, as well as in Harrison and Spring Valley, N.Y., and Riverside, N.J. 

Bell and a small staff, along with dozens of volunteers, continue to focus on bringing the love of God to the women who come to them, working solely on donations and based on Catholic truth. 

Bell — who, with his wife, Joan Andrews Bell, has seven children, six of whom are adopted — told the Register, “While you can count the number of births in our homes, how do you measure the effect that each birth has on the mother, her family and friends, not to mention all of the volunteers, supporters and associates who celebrate the joy of each new life here at Good Counsel?” 

“You can count the number of our life-skills classes, but how do you measure how important it is for one new mom to learn how to parent her first child?” Bell said. “Does it matter if one of our moms develops new skills using the Internet? It might be invaluable for her future employment in this age of rapidly changing technology.” 

In addition to supporting new moms, Good Counsel focuses on post-abortion healing with Lumina, a program of seminars, retreats and ongoing support that stresses healing through Jesus Christ. The resource is offered to anyone who is suffering from a past abortion, including men, siblings and grandparents. Training to address post-abortion stress is offered for clergy members and mental-health professionals, too. A network of post-abortive men and women give their time to bring others hope and healing. 

“About half of our pregnant clients have had at least one abortion before. It takes a lot for them to allow themselves to seek healing and forgiveness, to forgive themselves,” Bell said. 

Good Counsel’s crisis-pregnancy hotline is available 24/7 at (800) 723-8331.

Good Counsel’s new project involves revitalizing a maternity home in Elberta, Ala. To be named Good Counsel Mary’s Shelter, the home will house up to 13 mothers, either pregnant or with infants.

And the blessings of the ministry continue to be evident. Genisis and her two children moved out of Good Counsel and into her mother’s home. She will continue to receive mentoring through the Exodus Program, designed for woman who have left the maternity home.

“Good Counsel has been a Godsend,” Genisis said. “The physical challenges I had during my pregnancy frightened me so much, but I never felt alone because the staff helped me every day. Good Counsel was there at the time in my life when I needed support most. They were really a family to me.”

And about her new child, she added: “She is so pretty. I am in love with her!”

Patty Knap writes from

Long Island, New York.