The Black Madonna Visits Dr. Jack Willke, the World Pioneer of Pro-Life Movement

During Her visit in Cincinnati in the State of Ohio, on May 9th, Our Lady of Częstochowa, peregrinating across the world in defense of human life, stopped at the headquarters of the Life Issues Institute to honor Dr. Jack Willke, the father of the world’s pro-life movement.  The Icon was placed in a small chapel, where She was being awaited by Dr. Willke, the invited guests, and the institute workers.  Father Peter West, the custodian of the Icon during Her pilgrimage through the United States and Canada, who is also the Vice President for the Missions of Human Life International, led the prayers.

The Life Issues Institute is a pro-life organization founded by Dr. Willke and his wife Barbara.  The couple has made a tremendous contribution to the work of the worldwide pro-life movement.  He is an obstetrician; she was a nurse with experience of an academic teacher.  Together, they have created the best system of pro-life education in the world.  As early as 1971, they started giving lectures on the protection of human life to say “no” to the legalization of abortion, which took place in the USA in 1973.  Since that time, they have devoted their lives to work out a clear, communicative education system that would protect every newly conceived child, and be based on facts and scientific research.  Their first groundbreaking book was the Handbook on Abortion, whose later edition was entitled: Abortion, Questions and Answers, Why Can't We Love Them Both.  The book was translated into Polish in 1991 by Ewa and Lech Kowalewski, and had an immense influence on the Polish Parliament’s passage of the bill that protects all human life from the point of conception.  The Willkes have written 14 books which have been translated into 32 languages.  As well-known speakers, they have visited 83 countries traveling on a pro-life mission all over the world.  The have always given talks together, taking turns in their presentations, and giving a testimony to the wonderful and extraordinary unity in marriage.

Dr Willke used to be the president of the American Right to Life Movement for many years.  He is also the founder and the honorary president of the International Right to Life, an organization bringing together the presidents of well-known pro-life organizations from many countries. Defending the lives of the unborn they have met several Popes, US presidents, and the leaders of numerous countries.  In Poland, they have met president Lech Wałęsa, who has always wanted to protect conceived life.  Everything they have done had a source in their faith: They have tried to help those, who are not able to take care of themselves – their daughter said.  They are called the Father and Mother of the pro-life movement and they have trained hundreds of thousands of pro-life leaders across the world.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Barbara Willke died on April 24, 2013.  For Dr. Jack Willke this eternal parting was a very traumatic experience. “The meeting with the Black Madonna is a particular sign of God Love and Support for those who protect life. I am humble and at the same time extremely grateful and happy that I am able to have this personal experience of contact with the Black Madonna” – he said. The way in which She influences the world showing the holiness of life is a unique blessing.  May Her presence touch many human hearts and leave in them the desire to defend life – he added.

The prayer was led by Fr. Peter West.  The fragments of the Holy Scripture connected with the defense of human life were read by Brad Mattes, the current president of the International Right to Life, Dr. Willke’s successor.  The Act of Entrustment of the Defense of the Civilization of Life and Love to the Mother of God was renewed.  They prayed for the living and the deceased pro-lifers, and for all, who are touched by the sin of abortion.

At the entrance to the Life Issues Institute, there is a life-size statue of Christ sitting and holding a dead child on his lap.  Jesus is turning His loving gaze towards the woman hurt by abortion.  If a woman suffering from the post-abortion syndrome will sit next to her, Christ will embrace her with His loving gaze.  This experience has a significant meaning in accepting God’s Mercy, and during further post-abortive therapy.

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