‘Into Life: Love Changes Everything’ Video Series From the Sisters of Life Touches Hearts
Vulnerable pregnant women in need and those who serve them are accompanied through new formation program.
A unique video series launched by the Sisters of Life and the McGrath Institute at the University of Notre Dame in March is already making an impact.
Into Life: Love Changes Everything is a series of 12 videos designed to help form the heart, whether for those in pro-life ministry, youth ministry, teens needing to understand their own worth and value, teachers, parish leaders and more.
“Into Life is truly for everyone,” said Sister Marie Veritas of the Sisters of Life. “Our hope is that every person who watches it 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. It 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. When we know we’re loved, we can soar.”
While the online formation series was designed by and features the Catholic religious order the Sisters of Life, participants from various religious backgrounds and affiliations are encouraged partake in its resources.
The 12-part video series, produced by CampCampo Films, features more than 100 minutes of in-depth interviews with various sisters. The videos and accompanying music draw viewers into a sacred place of acknowledging and loving the gift of every human life. They’re designed to educate and form participants about accompanying a woman experiencing the uncertainty and fear of an unexpected pregnancy.
In 2020, a study of more than 200 Americans asked questions about abortion. Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life’s, “How Americans Understand Abortion” reflected how many respondents were confused or unaware or misguided on moral reasoning, the law, science and other aspects of the issue. The Sisters of Life, along with national pro-life directors, discussed how this research could best be responded to, ultimately creating this series.
Jess Keating, program director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life’s Office of Life and Human Dignity at the University of Notre Dame, says Into Life will aid pastoral leaders in their understanding of the Sisters of Life’s pro-life approach.
“Participants in this course can expect to be introduced to the theological framework used by the Sisters of Life in their ministry to pregnant women, have the opportunity to pray and reflect on how a spirituality of life is manifest in their own lives, and discover what it truly means to walk with a woman through an unexpected pregnancy,” said Keating, according to a recent press release. “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.”
While the program is designed to be completed as a 12-week, small in-person group course, it can be adapted for self-paced personal use and includes a “Facilitator Guide” and “Participant Guide.”
As the Sisters of Life and the McGrath Institute worked on the project, emails were sent out to assess interest. More than 1,000 emails were received back, with responses coming from parish workers, pro-life counselors, youth group leaders, catechists, parents and diocesan directors.
“What if we could take a step back and think about ‘pro-life’ in a different way? This program invites participants into a new vision of pro-life ministry, one grounded not in slogans, but in intentional accompaniment,” said Keating. “Rooted in the wisdom of the Sisters of Life, this series introduces participants to new ideas for building a culture of life and solidarity, offers the opportunity for prayer and reflection, and develops and refines skills for accompanying women through an unexpected pregnancy.”
The series explores a range of aspects of pro-life ministry and accompanying a woman and her unborn child, rooted in presence and prayer.
The videos underscore the need to allow the woman to talk and fully express her feelings and fears while underlining the dignity of human life and the blessing of adoption and supporting life.
Above all, Sister Virginia Joy says that it’s important not to approach the other person as a task: “I’m agreeing to open my heart and enter into a relationship of love, and to do that I must approach each encounter with an inner state of leisure. … My goal is to leave her with an experience that she has been loved.”
At the root of women’s hesitance can sometimes be a fear of losing her own self or a fear that offering her baby for adoption means she is a bad mother. As Sister Bethany Madonna reflects, “I once read a poem that said, ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.’ As we accompany a pregnant woman, that is our very experience ... she will lay [her dreams] ... at our feet and then ask us to tread softly. This is why it’s so important for us to position ourselves humbly before those we encounter.”
Viewing the third video, Diane Waller of Leesburg, Virginia, was struck by the belief expressed that life is being attacked by the “evil one.”
Many women in unplanned pregnancies, she said, do not see at all that they “are ‘made in the image and likeness of God.’ If Satan can’t get to God, then he’s coming for the closest thing to God: his children.”
Waller found the call to prayer and fasting in the series to be an important reminder for this spiritual battle.
Jacquie Guerra spends Saturday mornings at Women First pregnancy center on Long Island, New York, and often prays at Planned Parenthood. “In this day and age, with so many avenues of information about sexuality, ‘choices,’ pregnancy and abortion, I found the videos to be by far one of the most informative and thoughtful ways to understand the facts and emotions in unplanned pregnancies,” she told the Register. “As the mother of middle- and high-school girls, I’m so glad this resource provides a strong foundation that they need to have before the forces of the outside world can persuade them against protecting life.”
Sixth-grade faith-formation teacher Lauren Doherty found inspiration in video No. 8, “Maternity Is Forever: Hope and Healing After Abortion.”
“There are people I know who’ve endured an abortion. I needed help knowing how to approach this pain in light of God’s mercy,” she said. “I see how the Lord is calling me to be an instrument of grace for healing, just as I have my own wounds and sins I need to bring to Jesus.”
As Sister Virginia Joy says, “It is truly a privileged work to be with another, to sit in their presence so that we may discover with the eyes of God and his grace the goodness he created, the beauty he made, the strength he desires to give, and we will, on our part, rejoice in his gifts.”
The series can be accessed free at IntoLifeSeries.com. A Spanish version is under consideration.
- religious vocations
- sisters of life
- dignity of human life
- moms and babies
- patty knap
- prolife movement