"Notre Dame, My Mother"

Though it's the Feast of St. Joseph, I'm sure he won't mind letting his spouse take center stage. He's always shown in the background anyway.An alumna of Mary's University has written a moving testimony to her struggle on graduation day ten years ago:

For many members of the Notre Dame Class of 2009, the uproar surrounding the universitys decision to honor Barack Obama with this years commencement address, and to bestow on him a doctorate of laws, has provoked strong feelings about what the ensuing conflict will mean for their graduation.I know how they feel. Ten years ago, my heart was filled with similar conflicts as we came closer to the day of my own Notre Dame commencement and my commissioning as an officer in the United States Army.You see, I was three months pregnant.That March, I had gonealoneto a local womans clinic to take a test. The results were positive, and I was so numb I almost didnt grasp what the nurse was getting at when she assured me I had other options. What did other options mean? And what kind of world is it that defines compassion as telling a young woman who has just learned she is carrying life inside her that she has the option to destroy it?When I returned to campus, I ran to the Grotto. I was confused and full of conflicting emotions. But I knew this: No amount of shame or embarrassment would ever lead me to get rid of my baby. Of all women, Our Lady could surely feel pity for an unplanned pregnancy. I recalled her surrendered love to Gods invitation to become the home of the Incarnate Word. Let it be done to me according to thy word, she had said. In my hour of need, on my knees, I asked Mary for courage and strength. And she did not disappoint.My boyfriend was a different story. He was also a Notre Dame senior. When I told him that he was to be a father, he tried to pressure me into having an abortion. Like so many women in similar circumstances, I found out the kind of man the father of my child was at precisely the moment I needed him most. All that talk about abortion is just dining-room talk, he said. When its really you in the situation, its different. I will drive you to Chicago and pay for a good doctor.

The rest is here.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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