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House of Miracles.

House of Miracles WRITTEN BY Grace Petrasek PUBLISHED BY The Interim Publishing Co., Toronto, 2006, ISBN: 0969298897, Softcover, pp. 95, $9.95 CDN

It is not easy to be pro-life in Canada. After almost forty years of legalized abortion, pro-lifers have suffered defeat after defeat in the courts, at the polls, and in the legislatures. On the face of it, the news appears to be relentlessly grim.

This is where Grace Petrasek's little book, comprised of articles that first appeared in The Interim, provides a much-needed antidote. By focusing on one agency, Aid to Women, Petrasek shows that every day small pro-life victories do happen. Through chance meetings, small acts of kindness, or even just one right word, babies and mothers are saved from the horrors of abortion.

Founded in 1988 and since 1992 located on Gerrard Street in Cabbagetown, Aid to Women is situated right beside an abortuary. Through the heroic efforts of pro-life witnesses and sidewalk counselors, well over a thousand babies have been saved from a gruesome death next door.

As in her earlier book, Silhouettes Against the Snow, Petrasek introduces us to real pro-life heroes like Dick Cochrane who founded Aid to Women, Joanne Dieleman who served as its director for eighteen years, the new director, Ann Wilson, and Robert Hinchey who, for seven years, worked fulltime as sidewalk counselor and live-in office counselor. Other activists include Rosemary Connell, Linda Gibbons, and the late Tom Brown.

But the other focus of the twenty or so episodes recounted here are the pregnant women who felt pressured by circumstances or by family members to consider abortion. These include a Somalian woman abandoned by her boyfriend, a mother of three in an abusive relationship, an American mother without health insurance, a 19-year-old factory worker, and a nanny pregnant with twins. Through friendship, counseling and sometimes material support and financial aid, Aid to Women provided these women with the help they needed to say 'no' to abortion. Perhaps the most gratifying aspects of these stories are the return visits of mothers with their children to thank the staff at Aid to Women for their help.

Attractively illustrated with charming drawings and well-chosen photographs, and written in a style both simple and sweet, House of Miracles is not only a heart-warming tribute to the staff and volunteers at Aid to Women, but also a worthwhile reminder to the pro-life community that, with God, all things are possible.
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Author:Tardif, Joan
Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Dec 1, 2006
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