Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Life of a Christian Doesn't Guarantee Sunshine and Lollipops"

Actress Patricia Heaton is well-known for playing a harried-but-loving wife and mom who makes us laugh, previously as Debra Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond” and now as Frankie Heck on the ABC comedy “The Middle.” But it was a tragedy involving her own mother that shaped the Emmy Award winner’s life at an early age.

When Heaton was 12, her mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. The resulting emotional and spiritual struggle lasted for years, but Heaton credits her Catholic upbringing with helping her achieve a level of acceptance and peace. On the Christopher Closeup radio show/podcast, she explained, “Many churches (say) if you’re a Christian, you really shouldn’t be suffering. In fact, suffering is a part of the walk, and I think that’s a very important torch the Catholics carry. You get made fun of for it a lot. The nuns always used to say, ‘Just offer it up.’ But it’s important because rain will come into your life and you need to be able to know that God is still there with you despite those problems.”

Knowing that God is with you through struggles is a personal belief of Heaton’s that has also found it’s way into her work, specifically through her role as a producer of the film Amazing Grace, which told the story of William Wilberforce’s efforts to end the slave trade in the British empire. She was introduced to the story by her husband who is British, and drawn to it because Wilberforce’s commitment to solving this social problem was propelled by his Christian faith.

Heaton said, “Probably the only thing that was able to keep him going was his faith because it literally took him forty years . . . And Wilberforce was sort of shunned from society . . . There’s a price to pay and I think that is one of the messages -- you have to be willing to sacrifice everything to follow God and to follow what He’s called you to do.”

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Healing the Hidden Suffering of Infertility

“Infertility is one of the most painful things I have ever seen a couple or woman suffer with,” says Dr. Anne Mielnik, Director and co-founder of Gianna: The Catholic Healthcare Center for Women which opened less than a year ago in New York City. “For most of them, it is a hidden suffering.”

Dr. Mielnik is doing her best to heal that pain, but unlike many doctors, she’s doing it in a way that’s completely pro-life.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has become the default method by which infertility is treated. Since it involves the creation and sometimes destruction of embryos, it’s morally incompatible with the fact that life begins at conception. That’s where Dr. Mielnik comes in, offering treatment through a relatively new method called NaPro which stands for Natural Procreative Technology.

On the Christopher Closeup radio show/podcast, Dr. Mielnik explained, “NaPro refers to a comprehensive approach to evaluating and treating a woman’s reproductive problems including those that lead to infertility, recurrent miscarriage, pregnancy problems, and other disorders. It then treats the woman in a way that doesn’t shut down her cycle or try to bypass the cycle … We use what originally developed as a natural family planning chart - a woman recording the signs of her fertility—as a diagnostic tool.”

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