Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
December 5th, 2015


It occurs to me, rather belatedly, that the annals of the rescues we undertook from 1988 to 1992 have never been typed up.  Should I die tomorrow, the records would be lost forever and my kids will have only the vaguest memory of my goings and comings.

A rescue, of course, (under the auspices of Operation Rescue) is a peaceful attempt to stop the killing of unborn babies at the places where they are scheduled to be killed, i.e., abortion “clinics.”  Rescues are so-called from Proverbs 24:11:  “”Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, behold, we did not know this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? ”

We first got our feet wet, my friend Dolores Teleski, I, and some hundreds others, under the leadership of Randy Terry, at four rescues in New York City in  May, 1988.  As I recall we stayed at the Times Square Hotel.

May 2, 1988 – Manhattan

May 3, 1988 – Queens

May 5, 1988, Long Island

May 6, 1988, Manhattan

We were arrested but dismissed.

July 5,  1988, we went to Paoli, PA where we were jailed for two days at the Chester County prison

July 7, 1988, Philadelphia.  All I really remember is that it was dreadfully hot and once I was able I drank all of a mammoth Coke.

July 19, 1988, we got on a bus in New York which took us down to Atlanta where we were arrested at the Surgical Center, refused to give our names, and for the first time gave our names as Baby Doe.  I was  BD 69 and Dolores BD 70.   We stayed in a Camp for awhile, sort of a barracks arrangement with bunk beds, all the women in one room and jail there didn’t seem half bad. We  could go out in the yard and talk to people outside the fence.  We were then  transferred to the new Fulton County Jail with cells that we had to stay in at night, quite hard to deal with because of my agoraphobia.   I stayed 14 days and quit; it eventually cost me $550.  Dolores stayed behind until they threw her out, time served.

? date   We  went drove up to Boston and the next morning traveled by bus to a clinic in Providence.  Were they surprised!  Dolores was arrested there but  I was not, and somehow we came home together.

October, 1988, a rescue in Bridgeport, dismissed  on a technicality.

November 29, 1988, Hartford, arrested, nulled, reduced to an infraction.

January 13, 1989, Planned Parenthood in NYC.  Not arrested.

January 14, 1989, another Planned Parenthood.  Not arrested.

March 4, 1989, Medical Options in my home town of Danbury CT, arrested for creating a public disturbance. Dismissed on 5/25.

April 1, 1989, West Hartford, I did not go, police brutality was reported.

April 29, 1989, Shrewsbury NJ.  I don’t remember this at all.  Not arrested.

June 17, 1989, West Hartford with many more people than April.  We were going to “show them.”  Police removed their names and badges and upped the brutality.  There are photos and videotapes of this episode.  Three times in my life I have screamed involuntarily; two time were caused by a swarthy W. Hartford cop without a badge, who did things to my left arm I didn’t know were possible.   I subsequently saw  a doctor for the left shoulder injury.   Spent 12 days in Niantic women’s prison.  On the way to Niantic we were told we would be safe there but the “accommodations” were pitiful.  There should be a movie of this “adventure.”

September 23, 1989, Bronx, not arrested.

October 28, 1989, Norwalk, arrested for criminal trespass and breach of peace, reduced to an infraction and discontinued.

April 7, 1990, New Haven, criminal trespass, reduced to infraction, found guilty $15 fine remitted.

September 28, 1990, Dobbs Ferry, trespass, resisting arrest, interfering with government admin, kept in solitary, then to Valhalla Hospital for blood pressure, found guilty of trespass, dismissed time served.

November 11, 1991, Medical Options, Danbury, not arrested.

January 29, 1991, Womens Pavilion, Dobbs,  Ferry NY, not arrested..

February 2, 1991, Greenburg, White Plains, NY, not arrested.

August 19, 1991, Wichita, KS, not arrested. Abortuary famous for late term abortions.  Quite a trip!

April 21, 1992, Buffalo, not arrested.

April 22, 1992  (where the heck is that?)  guilty of disorderly conduct, served two days

August 8, 1992, Danbury Medical Options, arrested criminal trespass.   10/30/92 Reduced to simple trespass, $35 fine and $30 costs.

September 14, 1992, Stamford, not arrested.

July 21, 1993,  Dobbs Ferry, not arrested.

October 9, 1993, Dobbs Ferry, arrested, trespass, 10 day sentence.

I must apologize for my sloppy bookkeeping.  When I made these notes I had no idea I would someday blog about these experiences.  There does exist, in my possession,  a videotape of the second West Hartford rescue which shows many people manhandled and you can see me being dragged (of course we wouldn’t walk!) down a hall and then my two screams can be heard.

It is over twenty years later.  We didn’t stop abortion.  Roe v. Wade has not been overturned.  Undercover video tapes have been made inside abortuaries where they talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts.  Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion president ever.  The Senate has just passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.  He will veto it.  God help us all.

Randy Terry has since studied all about Islam and is making a high-tech movie “What would Muhammad do?”  We carry on.













November 15th, 2012


I have written about the Rescue Movement before.  Sometimes when saying the rosary my mind wanders to past events and I began to wonder whatever possessed me to travel to Atlanta GA in 1988 just to get arrested.  And I also wondered whether, today, in 2012, there would be anything at all on the internet about the Rescue Movement which essentially began in 1988.  A friend assured me that the world wide web existed even before 1988 so I did a little background check for the purpose of gathering some of that old data in one place.

Here is what I found:

Orlando Sentinel, August 15 1988

Under Terry’s supervision, Operation Rescue protesters are well- disciplined in their non-violence. For the most part, they remain silent except for singing hymns. At an Atlanta demonstration, one protester was admonished by another for getting into an argument with a clinic staffer.

It is the hope of the anti-abortion organizers that by taking to the streets in large, peaceful demonstrations, Operation Rescue will change the American public’s views on abortion, as well as preventing the abortions themselves.

”Any change in America has come about by civil disobedience — gay rights, rights for women, civil rights,” said Patricia Mondl, 34, a protester in Atlanta. ”This is how things are changed in America.”

But the shift in protest tactics toward peaceful non-violence is also a concession by Operation Rescue strategists that other pro-life efforts have failed.

”If we had already been effective as a movement there would be no abortion,” said Judie Brown, president of the American Lobby for Life in Stanford, Va. ”We are praying that these rescue missions will do something to the American psyche that has not been done previously. Maybe rescue missions will be the way to finally crack the ice.”

This is a snippet from an interview with Baby John Doe who turned 66 while imprisoned.

“We had a couple of Baptist ministers from out-of-town here last week. When they came in they were convinced no Catholic could be saved. When they left, they hugged us and admitted they believed we were saved.”

“We have people in here from 19 states,” the prisoner revealed in a telephone conversation Aug. 3. Of all denominations, they range in age from people in their 20s to a man 78.

Jailed “Baby Johns” and “Baby Janes” include a retired Army colonel who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, school teachers, nurses, attorneys, a symphony’s first violinist. “I wouldn’t be in any other place. The morale is very high,” no. 212 insisted.


According to Martin Luther King, Jr., who was arrested 22 times for civil disobedience.

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.


No pro-life action has been so misunderstood by the public, the pro-aborts, and even Christians as rescue missions.

A rescue is not organized to make a statement; it is not a mere “sit-in;” it is an actual and earnest attempt to save lives!

A rescue mission is mounted to save unborn lives and mother’s health by placing oneself between the victims and the killer the abortionist. The philosophy of rescue is as simple as that.

A rather comprehensive overview of the Rescue movement can be found here.  It includes a section of directions to pro-abortion folks  on how to deal with the rescuers:

It is very interesting to read a typical pro-abortion clinic tactics manual (obtained during depositions for a lawsuit) to see how escorts are encouraged to physically assault rescuers and “bully” picketers off the public sidewalks.

The overview mentioned above is extraordinarily well-done and anyone really interested in understanding the Rescue Movement will find it very worthwhile.


It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. — Voltaire

February 28th, 2011


I suppose it’s to be expected when one has suffered from police brutality it would eventually turn up in one’s musings.   The date was  June 17, 1989.   The place, Summit Women’s Center,  West Hartford CT.    On April 1, 1989, a rescue had taken place at the Summit Center.  (A “rescue” may be defined as an attempt to prevent the killing of babies in the womb by non-violent, passive means.) When it was learned that the rescuers had been brutalized by the West Hartford police, a bigger, better rescue was planned for June 17.

On June 17, 1989, the Center was prevented from performing any of the scheduled abortions. On both days the demonstrators’ unruly conduct required the intervention of approximately forty West Hartford police officers of the Town of West Hartford (“Town”)–a third of the town force.

I was in the June 17 contingent.   Over 250  of us invaded the abortion clinic facilities that morning and sat down.  In due course the police arrived and started to remove us.  We expected brutality and we got it.   Afterwards we were asked to write down exactly what we experienced  while it was still fresh in our memory.   I wondered whether to include on this blog the whole report, which is quite detailed,  but decided I would, just for the record:

Dorothy A. Vining, age 65, Baby Jane Doe #91, 6/17/89

We arrived at the Summit Women’s Center about 8 AM and immediately entered a side door and went up a number of flights of stairs and through an open door into the “clinic.”  I personally sat down in a hall behind a door which had been somehow secured.  We heard the sound of someone removing the hinges of the door and then the police started to remove us.  They would drag each person down a hall to a corner and then we would hear screams from around the corner but could not see what was happening.  When they reached me one officer said, “This one next,” and I was dragged by my clothing down to that corner.  They snipped the tape off my left hand.  I had protected my right hand with an orthopedic splint of leather and velcro as I have had wrist problems in the past and do typing for a living.  [A friend of mine had suffered nerve injury during the April 1 rescue.]  I told the officer this was a real splint and I really had a bad wrist.  He told me to get up and walk.  I said they could move me without injuring my wrist.  He said “no” and tossed the splint aside, as well as my purse.  This contained my  glasses, a camera, some money, etc.  I have not seen it since.

Then I went around the corner.  An officer behind me raised my left arm over my head and down behind my back and I shrieked with pain.  [I did not know this was a move that the human body is capable of!]  This particular maneuver had no purpose that I could see other than to hurt me.  They then cuffed my hands behind me quite tightly and somehow applied pressure that popped me up in the air, again screaming with pain.  [I still have in my possession a tape showing me being taken down the hall and the subsequent two screams are quite audible.]  They walked me backward to the elevator and outside, still applying pressure but lessening it somewhat as we got outside and were visible to others.  I cried out again when they pulled my head back for the picture and my picture shows me with my mouth wide open.

Coming off the bus was the same story with me walking half bent over with  them lifting up on the cuffs.  I was put down on flagstone or tile in the courthouse.  The cuffs were removed, my glasses, my shoes, as well as everything from my pockets.  A woman officer patted me down, recuffed me, and I was dragged into the courtroom and dumped.  The time was 11:30.  I was later dragged the length of the courtroom by one arm (the right).

We just sat around and watched the victims accumulate.  I had been there nine hours before any water appeared  and in the cuffs four hours before they were removed.  By that time my hands were quite swollen but when one of the women asked an officer to remove them he said I had enough room.  We had no food whatever until 8:30, and of course slept on the floor or benches, wherever we could find room.

On Sunday, 6/18, breakfast consisted of an egg and sausage sandwich, with milk or soda, and after 24 hours without food was greatly appreciated.  There was no lunch and supper consisted of two slices of white bread and a single slice of baloney.  No drink — just water, then another night on the courtroom floor.

Monday, 6/19, we got another sandwich about 8:30 for breakfast.  Judge Norco presided and the few people who chose to give their names and bail out were disposed of.  They were then left with over 100 people who had no names and would not move.  Gradually as the day went on they matched the pictures with names and we were taken rather roughly forward.  Lawyer Altham asked us to mention any injuries we had received.  At one point an officer kicked a man and Altham called it an “outrage,” saying he had seen it himself.  Judge Norco said something like “don’t let it happen again.”  Later, toward evening, they brought in some of the men from upstairs and we could hear them screaming as they approached.  One in great pain lay on the floor and a medic was asked to look at his arm.  The medic said his shoulder was not dislocated.  When asked if his arm could be broken, he replied, “I don’t have x-ray eyes.”

When Father Norman Weslin was brought in all order in the courtroom vanished and  someone  started a rosary with most of us gathered about him.  At the last decade someone asked Father to lead it, which he did, battered as he was.  It was a very moving scene.  Another powerful scene was on Saturday when a man was brought into the courtroom in great pain and there was a near riot as we rose up in outrage.  A young girl with the pen-name DAB reminded us of our non-violent stance and prayed for peace to descend.  It was a very powerful prayer and the peace was almost tangible.

By 7 PM Monday I still had not been identified and was re-photo’d, and given the letter F, and a court date of June 21.  Atty.  Altham moved for dismissal but Norco said they could hold us for 24 hours to see if they could identify us.  There were two other women in the same boat and several men.  Consequently we arrived at Niantic prison quite late.    We had been put on chairs with wheels to get on the bus and got off the same way .  En route, Lt. Davis, of Niantic, said that many of us had injuries and assured us we would not be hurt at Niantic.  He said his job was to see that we remained safe and well until we bonded out or  our court date arrived.  He also said that a person without a “dream” was a nothing in his book.

At Niantic we were given a sandwich and “juice” and asked about injuries and medical problems.  I told them my shoulder had been injured (it was comfortable at rest but I could not lift anything or make certain movements without pain.)  I expected it would heal with time.

I have no criticism of Niantic.  On Wednesday, when I and Peggy and Siena had to go back to West  Hartford,  they woke us at 6 AM and we left at 7 on a bus with other inmates, in both handcuffs and foot shackles.  We went to Hartford via New Haven, Bridgeport, and Meriden and finally arrived at 11:30 for court.  Siena was still going DM [defenseless mode] and we were informed that they weren’t going to move us anymore and if we wouldn’t move to go to court we would be cited for failure to appear and get another felony on top of our felony and that could go on a long as we liked.  Various inmates helped move Siena so we wouldn’t be left behind.  The Hartford officers said “Get her out of here,” and the West Hartford officers said, “We aren’t moving her.”  She is one gutsy little lady.

On the way to court I had the opportunity of talking with a girl, Beverly, who cried as she told me of an abortion she had had several years earlier (because she was on drugs) and told me of her rape.  She said when she is scared she feels it in her womb  (I suppose because that is where she had been injured.)  The results at court were that Peggy and I were identified and Siena was set free.  I was not present but was told Siena had pleaded guilty and burst into tears and said she wanted to go back to Niantic.

We were asked many times where our shoes were.  The inmates felt it was not right that we did not have shoes.  “Shoes is not personal property; shoes is clothing!”   There was strong pro-life sentiment among the prisoners and even many of the officers (but they did not approve of having to carry us around.)  They suggested that we thereby hurt our cause.  On the way back to Niantic two of the girls gave us woven crosses that the men make (I don’t know where) and another girl walked out of her shoes and made me take them.  She said she had more and was being freed in six days.

I bonded out on June 28  because my ears were ringing, I had a bad head cold and sore throat, I couldn’t sleep for coughing, and I felt I had left my 94-year-old mother long enough.  Bonding out was uneventful but expensive. My son, daughter-in-law and their two children came for me.  Unfortunately my shoulder, which had been smouldering, flared up as soon as I tried using it.  On June 30th I visited orthopedist, Dr. Fornshell,  (after two nights of extreme pain), had it injected with cortisone, put in a sling, with Naprosyn and Tylox prescribed.  I hope this will help explain why my typing is so lousy.  I am hoping that by July 1 I will be well enough to return to work.  They are considerably upset with me.

After more cortisone and physical therapy, my shoulder has since returned to normal.

So much for passive resistance!  No wonder the West Hartford police took off their badges.  They didn’t want to be held accountable for what they were going to do.  I have limited this report to my personal experiences because to write about the abuse  others  suffered would be much too long.

Thomas Droleskey made the following comment about the aims of Operation Rescue:

The “something” that simultaneously galvanized and polarized the pro-life community was Operation Rescue. Rescue galvanized many in the pro-life community as it held out the hope that massive sit-ins and blockages of abortuaries might singe the conscience of the nation. It polarized others in that same community, especially those who believed that we had been making “progress” in the 1980s and that we had to work through the electoral system to effect change incrementally, pragmatically. Some Catholics were critical of the whole concept of Rescue, arguing that it was wrong to adopt the tactics of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, worse yet to entrust the leadership of such an enterprise to evangelical Protestants who believed that they had the responsibility to take Catholics out of the Church to “save” them. Despite the polarizing aspects of Rescue, however, many thousands of Catholics were among those who were arrested at rescues between late 1987 and 1994, the time that Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Bill (FACE), with the help, it should be noted, of a few supposedly “pro-life” senators and representatives (could you imagine them voting for a “Freedom of Access to a Concentration Camp Bill”)?   A lot of Catholics were involved in the high-level leadership of local rescues.

Posted  by John R.  Kladde,  Director, CT Pro-Life Action Network,  April 2004, when he announced that our case against West Hartford police would finally come to trial:

A quick recap of the case: It took 3 years to file the case. It took five complaints and 8 years to finish the pleadings to start the case. Then it’s taken 4 years and three appeals of motions to dismiss to get to trial. There will be no other activity besides jury selection and trial. Bear in mind, this will be the only full jury trial in the history of Rescue.

West Hartford won, of course.  We weren’t cooperative;  they had to hurt us.  So  much for passive resistance!

Below – a glimpse of Operation Rescue in action.


It is easy to look back on those who broke the law [in Scripture] and praise them. But when the same challenges that they faced face us, we find it difficult to acknowledge that sometimes the law must be broken. That’s because now the sacrifices will be made by us. I have never broken the law. I have never been arrested. But I simply cannot guarantee that I never will. — Fr. Frank Pavone
I have heard some say that Operation Rescue is damaging to the Pro-Life Movement.  Who can be angry with an honest judgment?  I can’t — but I can disagreeWere I ever tempted to agree I would look again at pictures of people like Bishop Lynch and Bishop Austin Vaughan, for whom my respect is unbounded, and whos integrity I rust completely.  — Cardinal John J. O’Connor

May 12th, 2008


What would prompt a seemingly sensible 65-year-old woman to abandon her job, spend a night sleeping on a New York store-front floor and then take a bus to Atlanta, only to be arrested for sitting on the ground in front of an abortion mill? When the Opinion editor of the News-Times in my home town asked me to explain why I did the things I did that day, and subsequently, in their Community Forum, I was happy to oblige.


News-Times, Danbury CT

July 28, 1991

On September 28, 1990, in Dobbs Ferry, NY, I had the privilege of being handcuffed to a chain link fence behind an abortion clinic next to a Maryknoll priest whom I knew only as Father Andrew.

The occasion was Father Andrew’s first rescue and 38 of us had been arrested for sitting in front of the door of the Women’s Medical Pavilion, refusing to move. Father Andrew told me at the time that he had prayed about it and felt he was obeying God in trying to prevent, at least for a day, the killing of unborn children at that facility. I remember putting my free hand over his in appreciation of his caring enough to be there, Roman collar and all, lending a certain quiet respectability to our efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

March 16th, 2017

A Day In Prison

It is almost thirty years since Operation Rescue, the largest civil rights movement in the history of our nation, was in full sway. People are alive today who were “rescued” back then when other people sat down and prayed in front of abortion mills. I remember some of the happenings in the following letter but I did not know the letter existed until now and I was going through some old papers. When Dolores and I went to King of Prussia, PA, and on to Paoli, PA, back in July of 1989 we were apparently helped by Pat and Jack. I’m glad I thought to thank them because I’m able to post at this late date what it was like for one day in West Chester County Prison way back in 1989.  In 1989 I was 66.

October 18, 1989

Dear Pat and Jack,

Dolores and I want so much to thank both of you and Mrs. Toland for your kindness in putting us up overnight and shepherding us through the “going to jail” procedure. It is so true that when we follow the Lord he gives us many more brothers and sisters and we are blessed many times over. All told, it was a truly great experience and we would not have missed it. Actually, while we were glad to get out into the pouring rain we would have liked to have stayed longer to get to know better some of the other inmates. Because you did not know exactly what we would encounter in jail, I am going to try to get down some of it for the benefit of potential future inhabitants of that fine facility known as Chester County Prison (but I can only speak for the female side.)

First off, there were about 30 women and 800 men housed, of course, separately. When we entered we were patted down and then filled out intake papers, name, age, sex, pregnant?, on medication?, suicidal?, etc., etc. Then they loaded us down with two sheets, a scraggly but clean blanket, white T shirt, green overshirt and pants, and we went upstairs to our cell — about 7 x 9 feet with a barred door, toilet, sink, bunk beds, desk and seat, all quite firmly bolted in place, plus a window that looked out over a roof but also let in fresh air and we could see trees, fields, birds and sky. We then went down the hall where we stripped and were again searched (open your mouth, lift up your boobs, turn around, bend over and cough, show me the soles of your feet.) That done, our head hair and our pubic hair were sprayed with some smelly stuff and we were given a bar of soap to shower hair and body. (It seemed to me a rather perfunctory delousing — I doubt that procedure would have killed anything.) We were allowed to put on our own underwear, socks, and sneakers, and then the prison apparel. Then to lunch. We were late for lunch but they had saved us two hot dogs, bread, baked beans, chicken noodle soup, juice and milk. We could easily get fat on prison fare! I forgot to mention that we had not brought in combs and toothbrushes and they didn’t issue any so our hair looked pretty unkempt for the 24 hours we were in jail. We were told we could have brought these things in with us.

After a brief period locked in our cell we went to the day room (same as dining room) where the other girls were playing cards and watching TV. (Do I recall that you folks supplied the games? They had chess and checkers and cards and seemed to prefer playing cards to watching TV.) They also had MTV which Dolores thought was not a good idea as she terms it “provocative.” I plan to write a letter very soon to one of the girls I was able to talk with who won’t be getting out until next March. Some have been there two years or more. They were friendly and eventually invited us to join in a game of Rummy. One girl, Karen, came over and introduced herself, saying that she had robbed a bank last week.

Supper was chicken salad, bread, macaroni salad, iced tea, celery and carrot sticks, pickles, and a huge piece of chocolate cake. After supper were asked if we would like to go to the library, which we declined, having brought reading material in with us. Then came an interview with the nurse’s assistant with blood pressure, pulse, temperature, medical history, have you been in jail before? (they said lots of us answered “Atlanta”) and we were told they were going to take our blood to test for venereal disease. I asked if they did HIV and they said no. They never did get around to taking our blood!

Then back to the dayroom until 11 PM. (if you wish) and then lights out. You have no control over the light in your room, an overhead light that goes on at 5:30 A.M. whether you like it or not, out during the day, and then on again until 11 P,M. Some time on the first day, I forget exactly when, we went downstairs to have our pictures taken, with our prison number, and fingerprints (more than you could imagine they could possibly need). And so to sleep.

After breakfast the next day (pancakes and syrup, cereal, coffee, milk – you are allowed 20 minutes to eat a meal and only a spoon to eat it with. Then they brought the cleaning stuff around. I had thought the windows in our cell were mighty clean and now I knew why. Twice a week you wash down your door, dry mop the floor and then wet mop it, brush out and sanitize the toilet, scrub the sink and Windex the windows. Good clean place! No vermin! Next came the opportunity to go out in the yard for two hours (on bad days one goes to the gym) . Big yard, nice grass, basketball and baseball for those so inclined, or just walk or jog around. It started to rain so we came back to the dayroom where we were again patted down. A black girl cried out, “That greyhaired lady has a hacksaw! She asked me if I had found one. I told her I couldn’t but I had tried.

In between all of these things I had time to read a book. I plan to write to my fellow inmates very soon. Somehow, deep down, it was a very good experience and we are richer for it. They let us out promptly at 11 A.M. the second day. The trip home through New York traffic at rush hour was harder to take than jail.

God bless you all and your work. May you grow and multiply. What do you think of Hugo in Charleston, Jerry in Galveston, and the San Francisco earthquake while we were cussing out the New York traffic? What is this world coming to?


Dorothy Vining

P.S. They have a black chaplain whose last name is Christmas.

P.P.S. The C.O.s were decent and professional. None was obnoxious or unkind.

August 19th, 2015


I love being 92!  I’ve written about the vista and the panoply and all that is true.  But there  is also  the insight that comes with age.  At least I’m calling it insight.  I look back and take heed of what my children have to say about their growing up.  It is quite obvious that I have muddled through.  I was smart and educated and competent in some areas.  i really tried to be a good mother but in some areas it seems I blew it!  One of my big mistakes was to think I was smart and educated and competent.  But I never asked for help until things were beyond repairing.  Advice might have been very helpful early on.  But who needed it?  Not me.

Now my kids are sixty-ish and it becomes obvious that they, too, have muddled through.  Even though they are smart and educated and competent in many areas, they still muddle through.  Maybe that’s what we ALL do – muddle through.  I rejoice at how well they are doing and the people they’ve become. Is that what it’s all about? = the transfiguration – striving, seeking, becoming.   And learning.  Learning until we can’t learn anymore.

I think of Mother Angelica who is my age and has been bedridden for years.  What a life she had!  How could a contemplative nun start a TV network?   She worked and prayed and taught and now she lies in bed.  But I am thinking that she is still learning.  I pray for her often and imagine that she is praying for me and for all of us.

I once read about someone who wanted to live life to the full so that when it was all over she could say, “Woo-hoo, what a ride!”  Maybe that’s what I’m doing, woo-hooing!  It HAS been a ride.  A small ride because I’m only a little person in the scheme of things, one out of billions, There are so many life stories out there in the world and we know so little of them.  Fifty years ago I was all wrapped up in my little life with my little family and my little problems.  We focus on what we need to do to make it to the next day.

It was a busy life.   Seven children, one after another.  Working, feeding, clothing, taking care of the house.  Prayer group.  When Father Joe thought he’d take the prayer group to the Holy Land I wanted so badly to go that I made it work.  What a memorable experience!  With the kids grown I had a new freedom, and a job, and managed to fit in trips to Lourdes, Paris, Assissi, Fatima,  Santiago de Compostela,  Auschwitz, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, with side trips to family in New Mexico, Indiana, Florida, Quebec, Toronto.      Then came the time when I thought I should walk away from my job, get on a bus,  and get arrested in Atlanta with Operation Rescue.  What a ride!  .Two  weeks in Fulton County Jail.  All told some 34 rescues and 19 arrests.  Multiple letters to the editor.  Weddings, a daughter killed, grandchildren. great-grandchildren.  the things of everyday life.   All told, it has been a woo-hoo trip!

Now, at 92, I have time to look around, at the panoply and  the vista and the people around me.  I find I want to know what makes them tick.  What do they live for, work for, dream of.  I look, for instance, at the presidential candidates coming forth at this time and try to figure out what they are seeking – power?  fame? or something they call “good.”  And what is it that they call good?  I am not the only one who thinks there is a marked divide in our candidates between those who serve  God and those who are godless.  I cannot understand the liberals who have no God. They cannot understand me.  I want to understand everything but just watching JEOPARDY demonstrates my very limited capacity.

So I pray.  There is a story about George Washington Carver that he asked God to teach him the secrets of the universe.  It is said that God told  him his brain was too small for the secrets of the universe but he would teach him about the peanut.  Eventually Carver was famous for his agricultural accomplishments but the tale about God seems to bear up when you learn that although Carver could have made much money from the patents he held but he would not cash in on them because they were from God!

Once I decided I could no longer accept the theory of evolution which fails by Darwin’s own criteria and received the death knell with understanding of DNA which Darwin knew nothing of (see previous blogs).   I started to listen to videos about atheists, theists, creationists, etc.  Kent Hovind and Ken Ham are creationists who take the bible  literally as divinely inspired   According to Genesis therefore the world was created in seven 24-hour days 6000 years ago.    God should know; he was there.  If we won’t believe that, why would be believe in the divine fatherhood of Jesus and other scriptures that we take literally?  ?  Of course, many  think the earth is billions of years old and they have good arguments for that.  I doubt I’ll ever get everything worked out to my satisfaction  on my own but I like to wonder and pray about it.   Right now I am pondering  a two-hour video by Hovind (  which  should provide food for thought for the rest of my life!  I am reminded that in  The Mystical  City of God by Venerable Mary of Agreda, written in the 1600’s, supposedly inspired by Mary, Jesus was conceived 5199 years after God made the world.

And that’s the trip so far.   Woo-hoo!




June 29th, 2013


Yesterday I was a guest at the banquet given by the Federal Correctional Institute for volunteers, in appreciation of their services. I think it was the best banquet yet. The decorations by the inmates were lovely, the food was top-notch, and the entertainment, by the women from The Camp, was memorable. The Camp is the low security section of the prison, and that is the part of the prison where we go as volunteers. FCI is a women’s prison now but a few years back it was a men’s prison and we were able to volunteer both at the Camp and at the FCI proper. All of which means we have been going there to hold prayer meetings, to fellowship and to sing, for close to twenty years.

I am the only one in our group who has a pink prison pass which means I’m supposed to be escorted wherever I go, even to the Camp. And the reason for that is that I have a previous history of being imprisoned myself. As a member of Operation Rescue under the leadership of Randy Terry back in 1988 we started to go en masse to abortion “clinics,” sit down in front of the door, and pray and sing, effectively closing the facility for the day. The police called us protesters but we called ourselves rescuers, as our purpose was to rescue the unborn babies that were scheduled to be killed that day by abortion. Over the years, according to my records, I took part in 34 rescues and was arrested 19 times. I have previously written an overview of the Rescue movement. There are many people alive today because of what Operation Rescue did in the eighties and nineties. They may well make a difference in the way the world turns!

As a result of my experience both as a prison visitor and a prison inmate, I have come to the conclusion that the populations both in and out of prison are pretty much the same. We all make stupid mistakes or sin, some of us get caught and some don’t. At the banquet yesterday it was a delight to find that one of the ladies who was a regular attendee at our prayer meetings, Aimee, had been chosen to give the welcome speech to the volunteers. Many of the ladies there have been sentenced to prison for a number of years, and Aimee was happy to inform us that this would be her LAST volunteer banquet! Go, Aimee! She will be a sterling citizen!

Some of the songs on the program were original by the inmates, others had a gospel flavor (Daughters of Grace, for example). The Sweet Caroliners turned the old song, Sweet Caroline, into one addressed to us as “sweet volunteers.” I wish I knew the name of the young woman who danced with extraordinary grace and power. I have no idea why she was in prison but I pray she will soon be free to share her talent on the outside. Everyone knows Amazing Grace, a fitting finale in which all of us took part.

As an aside, we had a spare chair at our table which was filled by a volunteer from PVS (Prisoner Visitation and Support) which turns out to be the only nationwide organization allowed to volunteer at Federal prisons and military installations. Interested?

March 17th, 2013


Twenty-five years ago my friend, Dolores, and I traveled to New York City to take part in our first Operation Rescue experience. We intended to sit down and pray in front of a abortion mill thereby stopping abortions for that day (“rescuing” those babies) and hopefully even leading to the closing of that abortuary permanently. When we looked out our window in the Times-Square Hotel we saw, down on the street, the noisy opposition chanting away. It was our first experience with the liberal left in a sizable group.

What they were saying confused me. They chanted – it stuck with me to this day – they chanted, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay – Born-again bigots, go away.”  I didn’t understand. We were there to protest abortion and they were protesting everything but. I knew I was not racist, sexist, or anti-gay. Born-again, maybe, but surely not a bigot. Don’t we Christians love one another, including the mothers we would like to help and the babies scheduled to die that day? Why didn’t they address the reason we were there?

I was new to the game then. I have since learned that it doesn’t matter what Christians up to or not up to, they are going to be accused of everything under the sun. Names will be hurled – hate-monger, bigot, liar, thief, homophobe, and on and on, with the idea that if you throw enough mud, something will stick. There is very little they can prove but they sure will try.

Remember Sarah Palin? What’s not to like? A good woman, good governor, well-spoken, sincere. Yet when she appeared on the political scene her home town,  Wasilla AK , was besieged with a platoon of dirt-diggers looking for something, anything, that they could pin on her. She was immediately hated by the left. Even after her campaign was over, they still went through 23,000 of her emails looking for something to take her down.

Remember Michele Bachmann? Another good woman. After I read her book I thought I would vote for her whatever she ran for. She still holds her position as a congresswoman, but has to fight for survival. Every strong conservative who looked like he/she has potential has someone dedicated to finding the dirt. Consider Anne Coulter, accused of voter fraud in 2006. She had addresses in two states and voted in the wrong one. Not twice, just once. If that is all the left can accuse her of, she must be a veritable saint. In her new book Coulter asserts that “anti-religious liberalism has actually become, in itself, a religion.” She “explains how “abortion is its sacrament; Roe v. Wade its holy writ; public school teachers its clergy; and Darwinism its liberal creation myth.” (from Media Matters)

Consider the 2013 March for Life in January. A record-breaking half a million good people gathered to protect life in all its stages. Not a word about it in the main-stream media. But if one of those half-million folks did the least thing egregious, it would have been front page news. Consider the bad rap given to the Tea Party by the left. They cause no trouble, leave no mess. Still they are labeled racist and anti-gay. The evidence? None. Andrew Breitbart wrote “I am offering $10,000 of my own money to provide hard evidence that the N- word was hurled at him [Rep. John Lewis] not 15 times, as his colleague reported, but just once.” No takers, but Breitbart met an untimely death.

A quote from Coulter’s recent book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Liberalism is a comprehensive belief system denying the Christian belief in man’s immortal soul. Their religion holds that there is nothing sacred about human consciousness. It’s just an accident no more significant than our possession of opposible thumbs. They deny what we know about ourselves: that we are moral beings in God’s image. Without this fundamental understanding of man’s place in the world, we risk being lured into misguided pursuits, including bestiality, slavery, and PETA membership. Liberals swoon in pagan admiration of Mother Earth, mystified and overawed by her power. They deny the Biblical idea of dominion and progress, the most ringing affirmation of which is the United States of America. Although they are Druids, liberals masquerade as rationalists, adopting a sneering tone of scientific sophistication, which is a little like being condescended to by a tarot card reader.

Liberals hate science and react badly to it. They will literally run from the room, lightheaded and nauseated, when told of data that might suggest that the sexes have different abilities in math and science. They repudiate science when it contradicts their pagan beliefs—that the AIDS virus doesn’t discriminate, that there is no such thing as IQ, that nuclear power is dangerous and scary, or that breast implants cause disease. Liberals use the word science exactly as they use the word constitutional.

It has come to this. Coulter, among many others, sees it clearly. The lines are drawn – between those who have no God and those who do.  That’s why her book is called Godless.  It’s a battle between the people for death and the people for life. The people for abortion, infanticide, mercy killing, and euthaniasia, who seem to love any critter better than the child. Who love the turtle in the egg more than the unborn baby. Who fear there won’t be enough room for all of us in spite of the fact that all THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD can fit in the State of Texas — and not only have “elbow room” but a real room of their own. Go figure!

In closing, a quote from Blessed Pope John Paul II of happy memory:

We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the anti-christ. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s plan and it must be a trial which the Church must take up and face courageously.

It has come to this.

January 31st, 2012


I once had a job as a killer.  Funny, but I never thought of it like that until now, 60 years later.  I had no sooner gotten my job with a pathologist at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago than I found out I was pregnant.  Very early in the pregnancy I started to bleed and started cry, thinking I had perhaps lost the baby.   That was another funny thing.  Until then I hadn’t realized that at some visceral level I cared about – wanted – that baby.   But – back to the job.

My boss, Dr. Cloudman, was doing experiments studying the effects of various carcinogens on white mice.  The only two carcinogens I remember being involved were methylcholanthrene and yttrium 88.  Part of my job was to examine all the mice in the cages every day and keep a record of tumor growths, making diagrams of tumor locations and size.   When I noticed that a mouse’s ears, usually pink, had turned white, that meant it was bleeding internally and I had to kill it.  It is very easy to kill a mouse.  You just grab its tail, hold the dull edge of your scalpel at the base of its skull, and pull on the tail.  This breaks its neck and you have a dead mouse.

The doctor would then autopsy the mouse and give me tissue samples which I would imbed, section with a microtome, mount on slides and stain.  Doctor would read the slides and record his findings.   I had no idea, then, what he learned from his studies,  but I see from his archives that he moved to Argonne National Laboratory in 1947, the year that I married, and some of his publications are on line.

It did not bother me, to kill a mouse.  It was my job.  Because of this job, I can understand how people can work in an abortion clinic and hardly think about what they are doing.  Its just a job.   Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the narrator in the following video, The Silent Scream, was a killer, too.  As a  gynecologist in New York City he was responsible for thousands of abortions, was founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, and even aborted his own child. Filmed in 1980, The Silent Scream was ground-breaking in that it showed for the first time, using ultrasound, what goes on during an abortion. Back then ultrasound was a new tool, and grainy compared to today’s ultrasound pictures, but for the first time one could actually see the unborn child quietly moving around in the uterus, then the agitation when it senses invasion of its sanctuary, and then the silent open-mouthed scream in its final agony. And no one is more compentent to talk about it than Dr. Nathanson.

Nathanson finally understood  what really  happens during an abortion, saw hundreds of Operation Rescue people blocking abortion mills, praying and singing, and became the most influential pro-life gynecologist ever. He authored several books describing this journey, became a Christian and then a Catholic. Dr. Nathanson died this past year. May he rest in peace.

October 10th, 2011


As a former member of Operation Rescue it is my impression that 40 Days for Life is the effective continuance of that nationwide effort to save the lives of unborn babies scheduled for abortion. Prayer is the weapon that blesses both those inside the abortion mill as well as those outside. Prayer is the weapon that changes hearts and changes lives, that saves babies and converts clinic workers so they “can’t do that anymore.”

This year 40 Days for Life is active in over 300 cities in the United States and in foreign countries. Here Shawn Carney and David Bereit in Helena, Montana, tell how it all started and how far they have come in just a few years. Why not just pray at home? Why pray, even in the rain? Does it really make a difference?

This is an inspiring video. Please listen.

We can pray more than we have been praying. Pray for mothers, pray for babies, pray for abortion workers, pray for more people praying. Seek your heart and ask God what he wants you to sacrifice for 40 days in order to save lives and close abortion clinics.