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January 22: Saying Yes to Life

About this article

This activity, taken from the Voices series, helps young women reflect on the sanctity of life, the consequences of a crisis pregnancy and Mary as a role model for womanhood.

Preparation

  • Bring in pictures of fetal development.

    1. Present a scenario in which a girl like those in your group experiences a crisis pregnancy. Then list on the board a number of options, such as these:

    • She can keep the baby as a single mother.
    • She can get married and keep the baby.
    • She can give the baby up for adoption.
    • She can have an abortion.

    2. Encourage the girls to brainstorm the pros and cons of each option, including the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences. Contribute to the discussion by providing information about support systems, crisis pregnancy services in the community, background information on the physical and psychological effects of abortion, and information about pregnancy and birth. Help the participants see the consequences of each option not only for the girl, but also for the baby, the father of the baby, the parents and families of the girl and of the boy, and the broader community.

    3. Ask the girls whom they would turn to for advice in making the best moral decision under such circumstances. Help them to name adults such as their parents, counselors, teachers, mentors, a priest or spiritual guide, parents of friends, and girls who have faced the same dilemma.

    4. Explain the wisdom of the church's teachings about the sanctity of life. Emphasize that life in all forms, from womb to tomb, is sacred. Use the pictures of fetal development to explain that a pregnancy is, in fact, a process in which life develops.

    5. Tell the girls that all good decisions should be made in prayer. Explore with them the options and consequences that Mary faced centuries ago. Point out that praying to Mary for help and guidance may give a young woman the strength to make the right decision. Ask the girls to reflect on the decision that they would make in the particular situation discussed.

    6. Discuss ways to avoid the pregnancy situation in the first place. Point out that any time couples are sexually active, there is the possibility of pregnancy. Note that once an adolescent, unmarried girl finds out that she is pregnant, no easy options are available to her. Also discuss how girls can help one another to make the wise decision to be sexually abstinent before marriage, and how they can support one another in that decision.

    Journal Reflection

    • Who, besides your mother and father, has planted or nurtured something special in you?
    • Reflect on a time when you said yes to a difficult call from God.

    A Marian Prayer

    Use the activity "Decades of Mystery, Circle of Joy: A Rosary Prayer and Meditation," by Marilyn Kielbasa, on the Voices Web page. Or use the following prayer:

    Mary, young girl, blessed among us, be our model for becoming women . . .
    You said yes to the Word of God; give us wisdom to become mothers of God.
    You held the infant Jesus in your arms; teach us how to hold him in our heart.
    You did not understand your teenage Son; lead us to understand our parents' concern for us.
    You were one of Jesus' followers and greatest admirers; guide us in becoming faithful disciples.
    Your heart was broken at the foot of the cross; be with us as we find meaning in suffering and tragedy.
    Mary, girl of compassion, woman of justice, walk with us as we change the world, one person at a time.
    Amen.

     

Acknowledgments

(This activity is taken from Biblical Women: Exploring Their Stories with Girls, a manual in the Voices series, by Janet Claussen [Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press, 2002], pages 93-95. Copyright © 2002 by Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this activity to be used for classroom or campus ministry purposes. This activity may not be republished in any form without written permission from Saint Mary's Press. To order this book, contact Saint Mary's Press at 800-533-8095, or visit our online catalog at www.smp.org/catalog.cfm.)

Published November 12, 2003.