Peter Baklinski

Stories our world needs to hear: An interview with Author Sherry Boas

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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GILBERT, Arizona, January 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - What does a mother of five children all under the age of 13, one of whom has Down Ssndrome, do with her spare time when she is not washing, cleaning, cooking, and home schooling her children? She writes gripping fiction, of course. Not just any kind of fiction, but powerful emotional novels that are taking the culture of life by storm.

Sherry Boas, 44, devout Catholic, married to Phil Boas, and mother and teacher of her children, says she is passionate for truth and picky about little else, except for how her coffee is “grown, harvested, roasted, ground, stored and brewed.” Sherry places such a high value on friendship, however, that she is willing to “drink even a bad cup of coffee with a good friend.”

Sherry has written a trilogy of novels that set out to “subtly address” as she says “a good number of issues contributing to the culture of death”. These issues include abortion, euthanasia, sterilization, unresponsive medical care, divorce, infidelity, and promiscuity. She sees her writing as a way of responding to what the late Pope John Paul II called “the New Evangelization,” whereby one reaches out to people searching for meaning through compelling media.

Her novels have been hailed by critics as “masterful”, “riveting”, “heart-wrenching”, “brilliantly written”, “truly beautiful”, “fully imagined”, and “made for our times”.

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LifeSiteNews contacted Sherry to find out just who this woman is and what she is offering to the world through her novels.

Sherry and her husband have a strong love for life. After the couple married in 1996 they soon became troubled that they were not able to conceive children. Infertility however did not stop them from having children. The couple decided to adopt their children, four of them, all from various difficult backgrounds. One child was exposed in utero to crack cocaine, alcohol, and cigarettes. Another child they adopted was born with Down syndrome.

They were eventually blessed with a child of their own. But even he had a difficult background, born 15 weeks premature and weighing only a pound and a half. Sherry and Phil are convinced that their biological son John, who is now 6, is a walking miracle.

Sherry holds a B.S. in journalism from Arizona State University and wrote for a daily newspaper for ten years. She has won numerous awards as a journalist. After adopting, Sherry left journalism for what she saw as a move up-the-ladder to the vocation of motherhood.

It was Sherry’s experiences as a mother to her children that inspired her with a message that she passionately desired to convey to the world. After the kids were in bed, she found herself sitting in front of the computer with coffee and ice cream furiously pounding away at the keyboard. She wrote about what she calls “truth” that “resounds in the struggles and triumphs of everyday family life”. While Sherry’s stories are made up, the context of her fiction is as real as the daily events that unfold in the life of her family.

“I draw virtually all my material for my books from everyday family life. I find it a rich reflection of the beauty of God’s kingdom,” she says, adding that family life is a “place of mercy, forgiveness, unconditional love”, a place where “selfishness” is broken down and where each member helps the others “ultimately get to Heaven.”

The author says that her world view has been formed and continues to be formed by the “wisdom and love of Holy Mother Church.” This does not mean, she says, that one has to be a believer to enjoy her books, but it does mean that one has to be “at least somewhat open to beauty, mercy and compassion.”

Sherry’s life is truly a rich tapestry of sorrows and joys, threads from which she weaves into her novels. Readers say that they cannot put them down once they pick them up.

“My great sorrow is all the years I lived outside the fullness of Truth and Light, making up my own rules instead of following Jesus, even in the many moments when He was saying, ‘Come follow me.’ But that’s how merciful Jesus is. He kept inviting and inviting, until finally I could resist His love no longer.”

Sherry shared that her crosses have to do with her own “inner struggles with living up to the joy and love we are called to live as followers of Jesus.” She feels that God has giving her so many blessings and yet, in each moment, she says “I don’t always respond with gratefulness and joy. My crosses are my own impatience, my own selfishness, my own unwillingness to surrender every moment to Him for the simple reason that He gave everything - even His very life - for me.”

But Sherry’s experiences of sorrows and crosses do not have the final word in her novels, rather a profound sense of joy, love, and hope-filled expectation. For Sherry, the greatest joys come from the same coin that has sorrow as the other side.

“I have had many great joys: my coming to fully understand the beauty, love, mercy and life offered to us in the Holy Eucharist; each new baby I hold in my arms, each miracle we witness in our children’s lives, each Baptism, each First Holy Communion.  My work, which has introduced me to so many wonderful people.” One “great joy” that still brings tears to Sherry’s eyes is what she calls the “miracle that allowed me to see my little boy, John, grow up.”

Sherry says that she has learned many important lessons while journeying through life. “The great lesson I have learned is that holiness consists in the complete surrender to the will of God.” She and her husband believe that their infertility taught them their “greatest lesson” which allowed them to turn a “personal tragedy” into their “greatest joy”.

“I am grateful for our infertility. Without it, we would never have known these four children who have made our lives so rich. Our adoptions have so clearly been guided by God. We see adoption as just another way that God builds families - brings souls together on this journey to Him.” The couple is convinced that God’s plan for their family with their adopted children “far surpasses our wildest dreams.”

Sherry draws from this deep well of sorrow, joy, gratitude, faith, hope, and love to craft her profound tales. “I feel my calling is to write fiction that is laden with truth. Fiction is the path I have chosen to reach a world that might not be open to the pro-life message presented in a straight-up fashion,” says the author.

Sherry pointed out that Jesus reached out to people in a similar way through parables which are similar to fiction. “If reaching the culture through fiction is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.” It is her hope that through works of art, including works of fiction, “we can take the message of hope and gospel truths to a society that is becoming increasingly secular and resistant to the message of Life and beauty.”

The primary message that the author hopes to give her readers is that “hope reigns and mercy is unbounded”. Sherry believes that the world is thirsting for the message of “hope and mercy”.

“The problems our world faces today are caused by fear. Love and fear cannot co-exist. Where there is love, fear flees. Why does a woman have an abortion? She is afraid of something. Why does a woman carry a child, bearing all the discomfort and pain that goes with it? She does it out of love.”

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, AZ has called Sherry’s novels “made for our times,” adding that they are “another sign that the Lord is building a culture of life today, even as the culture of death rages around us.”

“Thank God for writers like Sherry Boas whose words could only arise from a heart that is familiar with the mystery of the cross,” said the Bishop.

Note: An upcoming piece to appear on LifeSiteNews will examine Sherry Boas’ Lily Trilogy more closely. Stay tuned.

Sherry Boas’ books are available at LilyTrilogy and Amazon.

 

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

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Video: Belgian police put a violent end to a legal pro-life rally in Brussels

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen
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BRUSSELS, March 31, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Belgian police used force against pro-lifers holding a legal, peaceful picket Tuesday in the center of Brussels, near the European Parliament buildings.  The pro-life rally, led by activists from Poland, was surrounded by an angry mob of abortion supporters, but when the police intervened they forcibly removed the pro-life signs, and even a Polish flag, saying they were provoking aggression.

The pro-life rally, which displayed graphic abortion signs, was legally registered, and organized by Fundacja Pro, a very active pro-life group from Poland, along with Michał Marusik, a Polish Member of European Parliament, and the Instigos Institute.

Kaja Godek, one of Poland’s leading pro-life activists, described the scene at the Luxembourg Square in Brussels for LifeSiteNews:

When we display graphic abortion pictures on the streets of Poland, the reaction we get is mostly sympathetic. In Brussels, we met with aggression and a hysterical reaction. Some furious people surrounded us screaming that we were sick and that the photographs of abortion victims were a lie.

Jacek Januszewski, one of the youth participants, told LifeSiteNews, “They screamed vulgarities and obscene insults, specifically directed at the ladies in our group. They threw firecrackers, physically pushed us, and tried to steal our banners.”

Describing the actions of the police, Januszewski said, “They formed a circle around our group, but were facing us, as if we were the source of aggression, not the mob around us.” He continued, “Even after one of the policemen got hit on the back with something thrown at us by the mob, they still acted as if it was us who caused the danger. We were just standing there in shock."

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“At one point a man dressed in civilian clothes approached us all red in the face, pushed us and tried to take our banners by force,” said Januszewski. “When we resisted, he produced a police ID. We asked him what he was doing and what law allowed him to disrupt a legal demonstration like that. He screamed back at us: ‘I am the law in Brussels.’”

Godek commented on the undercover officer too. “The man in civilian clothes kept pointing to one specific banner we were holding, showing the face of Adolf Hitler with a caption ‘Hitler legalized abortion on demand for Poles.’ [The undercover policeman] was all red in the face and kept saying he didn't like it and that it was upsetting everybody. We told him we were being attacked and needed protection. He said that we were the danger, we were provoking violence.”

Watch videos (exchanges between police and protesters are audible and in English):

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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LifeSite Writers 2015
Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

2 Days Left - Can you donate just $5 or more?

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

This is an urgent reminder that we have just 2 days left to reach our annual Spring campaign goal of $175,000.
 
Please consider supporting our mission to build a Culture of Life by making the most generous donation you can today.

Have you ever wondered who is behind LifeSite, and what our organization does with the money you donate?
 
Sometimes we find that readers of LifeSite, new readers in particular, understandably do not realize the size and scope of our mission: including not just how many millions of people read LifeSite (6 million people last month alone, for the record), but also the number of people and resources required to keep this unique international news service going every day.
 
It is quite an eye-opener when we list everything involved. Given the exponential growth of LifeSite over the past few years, it seems time to present an update. This should help you to understand why we must set our quarterly campaign goals at the very least at the levels that we do each time.

Every single member of the LifeSite team is passionately dedicated to our mission. Many have families with children and all depend on prayer (we have a staff prayer conference call every morning at 9:30 a.m.) to do this challenging work. They are also highly principled persons who see this work as being much more of personal mission than a “job”.

They care deeply about the issues that we write about and their impact on the world. At least several were on the “other side” in the past and experienced profound conversions to pro-life, pro-family beliefs.

In addition to the English language LifeSite, we also publish two other versions of LifeSite. There is the Spanish language Notifam and the Portuguese language Notifam.  These two services have been completely re-designed and their readership has dramatically increased in the past several months.

Almost all of our journalists are paid salaries or an hourly rate (part-timers). Nearly half are full-time, and the rest are part-time with widely varying total hours per month. A small number of the part-timers are able to offer their work to LifeSite as a no-charge gift to the pro-life and pro-family cause.

Almost all of the news reporters work from their homes. Our one office is located in Front Royal, Virginia in the Human Life International building. Much of the LifeSite, Canada administration work (payroll, bookkeeping, mail and donation receiving, etc.) is contracted to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) in Toronto. We are very grateful for CLC’s assistance.

Since the introduction of our dramatically new website last year, we have also been able to add prominent paid bloggers to the LifeSite team. In addition to our own bloggers, other notable pro-life bloggers such as Jill Stanek and Ryan Bomberger permit us to re-publish and often give much wider exposure to posts from their blog sites.

Back in September 1997, it was just John-Henry Westen and myself, the two founding staff of Lifesite. Things have certainly changed since then.

CURRENT NEWS TEAM

North America

1.  John-Henry Westen – Co-founder, Editor-in-Chief, journalist 
2.  Steve Jalsevac – Co-founder, managing director, editor, journalist
3.  John Jalsevac – Website development, petitions, journalist
4.  Patrick Craine – Managing editor, journalist, Canadian bureau chief
5.  Ben Johnson – US bureau chief, journalist
6.  Dustin Siggins – Washington DC bureau reporter and media outreach
7.  Kirsten Anderson – Washington DC and region reporter
8.  Lisa Bourne – Journalist
9.  Pete Baklinski – Journalist
10. Ted Baklinski – Journalist
11. Lianne Lawrence – Toronto journalist and LSN Canada donor relations
12. Steve Weatherbe – Journalist
13. Drew Belsky – Journalist

International

14. Hilary White (Italy) – Rome and Europe reporter
15. Jeanne Smits (Paris, France) – European reporter
16. Andrew Smith – Australian reporter
17. Michelle Kaufman – New Zealand reporter
18. Matthew Hoffman – Latin American reporter
19. Gualberto Guilherme Araujo – Brazilian editor
20. Gualberto Garcia Jones – Latin America bureau chief
21. Sophia Vazquez Mellado – Spanish language reporter
22. Mei-Li Beane – Spanish Language reporter
23. Natalia Duehlom – Polish correspondent
24. Matthew McCusker – London correspondent

Bloggers

25. Anthony Esolen
26. Matt Fradd
27. Abby Johnson
28. Jonathon van Maren
29. Melanie Pritchard

SUPPORT TEAM

30. Jon Fidero – Development Director
31. Andy Parrish – Marketing, media, public relations
32. Clare Magaad – LSN U.S. Office Manager
33. Megan Mulherin – Database management, Donor relations coordinator
34. Linda Wilson – Donor relations
35. Tommy Farrel – Donor relations
36. Theresa Jalsevac – Daily news subscriber services, article publishing
37. Jacob Westen – Article publishing

EXTERNAL SERVICES

LifeSite employs the services of a wide variety of companies and individuals for website design and development, video production, graphic design, donation processing, mass emailing of the Daily News, web hosting, payroll, legal work, marketing of LifeSite and much more.

Some of these external costs are in the six-figure level, given the large volume and variety of material that we publish, the cutting edge complexity of the website and the high level of traffic that LifeSite must now be able to handle.

We also have on-going and major electronic equipment costs since we are a digital service requiring high quality, reliable and the most up-to-date digital resources.

Finally, our team, and especially John-Henry, have been required to do a lot more travelling in recent years to cover major stories on site and to attend and be actively involved in very important meetings in several nations.  
 
The Marches for life in Washington, DC, Ottawa Canada and Rome, Italy have required a team of LSN staff. As well, we are the original organizers of the Rome Life Forum in Vatican City that is now billed as a Voice of the Family (which LifeSite co-founded) event and is co-sponsored by a number of International groups.

I hope this has helped you to much better understand our financial needs and will encourage any who might have been hesitant to donate to re-consider and send a generous gift for the LifeSite mission.

We are amazed that so much has been accomplished over the years, thanks especially to the generosity of those who believe in what we do and have wanted to express their appreciation for this work and what it has meant to them.

Please join our other supporters today with your gift.
 
You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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Courtesy of Stand True Ministries
Bryan Kemper Follow Bryan

10 years ago today, Terri Schiavo died an agonizing death. I was with her family. Where were you?

Bryan Kemper Follow Bryan
By Bryan Kemper
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March 31, 2015 (StandTrue.com) -- For twenty-four years I have been involved with pro-life work in one way or another. Over those twenty-four years I have talked to thousands of people about their involvement, why they got involved, how they got involved and what motivates them to continue. We have talked about what happened in 1973 and where were all the Christians when Roe vs. Wade was passed. We would wonder why Christians would ignore human rights and own slaves in the time of the Dred Scott decision. We would tell stories about the few brave Christians that hid Jews during the Holocaust and proclaim that if it were we in those times we would have been a voice. If we were around in those days we would have risked all to save an innocent life; that is what we said, at least.

Ten years ago a young woman in Florida who was handicapped began an agonizing and painful journey towards death. Her husband, who had once made a vow to love and honor her through good times and bad, murdered her on national television. Her husband, who had already broken his vows to her by living with another woman and fathering children with her, went to court to have his wife starved and dehydrated to death. Terri Schiavo held onto life and fought for 13 days before finally dying on Thursday, March 31, 2005.

When I arrived in Florida one week before her death I expected to see thousands and thousands of Christians in front of the hospice praying, singing and crying out for Terri. I expected to see all those people who said, “I would have been there to stand up if I were around in the times of Roe vs. Wade or during the Holocaust.” I was sadly disappointed.

I walked up and saw maybe 150 people at most — some of them familiar faces from the pro-life movement, some of them just wanting to be on TV. I started to walk around and ask where people were from and most of them were from out of town; it was hard to find anyone from the Tampa area there to stand up for Terri. For years I wondered where the Christians were when Roe vs. Wade was passed, and now I had the answer.

I spent the first day walking around the crowd praying with people, talking about what could be done and simply being there in solidarity with our sister as she was dying. When I arrived the second day I talked to Terri’s sister whom I had met in Washington, DC, in January, when I volunteered my services to the family. I was asked to help guard the family and escort them around as everyone was swarming them.

I spent a lot of time just sitting with them and listening to stories about Terri and her life growing up. Her dad told a story about when Terri ran over a cat and how upset she was over this poor little cat. The friends shared beautiful stories and memories that I will treasure forever.

During this time we also spent a lot of time in prayer, with many different Christian leaders and friends. Everyone would be talking about a possible option and then someone would just stop and say, “Let’s pray.” There was more spontaneous prayer than I had ever seen. I would walk among the people there in support and see small groups up and down the street praying, singing hymns and just reading the Scriptures out loud. There may not have been a large group there, but they were dedicated and focused on prayer.

I spent a lot of time walking the family through the media circus to and from the hospice trying to give them a little privacy. I would walk Terri’s dad through the crowd every night as he thanked all the supporters for being there for Terri.

I talked to many of the behind-the-scenes media people who were obviously shaken by this tragedy. I saw people from all different walks of life and political and religious backgrounds taking a stand. There were many non-Christian people there in support of Terri, and dozens of handicapped people from a group called Not Dead Yet. I even spent time in prayer with the Rev. Jesse Jackson as he came to help the family and speak out for Terri. I never in a million years would have believed that I would sit in a room praying with Randal Terry, Jesse Jackson and Sean Hannity.

Each night at about 11:00 PM I would leave the hospice area and go get something to eat and try to catch up on some computer work and grab a few hours of sleep. I talked to a lot of people at different restaurants that would ask us what was really happening there. One night Terri’s brother, Bobby, came out to eat with us. When he left, the people there asked us questions and wanted to know the truth about the whole situation; they were shocked when they got the true facts about Terri.

On Wednesday night I went to the hotel and was especially saddened as we were reaching 13 days. My friend Will and I sat in the pool at the hotel at 2:00 AM discussing the past week and what else could have been done. I finally got to sleep at about 3:00 AM. Early the next morning, I was awoken by Will telling me that Terri had died.

We quickly packed our bags and went to the car to drive over to the hospice a few blocks away. As I got into the car it really began to hit me what had just happened and I started to cry. I picked up my cell phone and called my wife and children; I just needed to hear their voices and tell them I loved them.

I got to the hospice and stood guard outside the room the family was in to give them some privacy. The room was tucked in behind all the major media trucks and production areas. I watched as many of the media producers and reporters were fighting back tears. I watched reporters hugging the family and giving condolences; they were truly touched by Terri’s family. Many of the media that I had gotten to know expressed their grief to me, some of them on-air personalities who were affected greatly.

After the family was done making their statements for the day, I made my rounds to offer my condolences and say my goodbyes. I told the family about all the Stand True supporters and family that had asked me to send their best wishes and prayers. I thanked them for their strength and resolve in the fight for Terri’s life. I let them know that we at Stand True will never let Terri’s name die and that we will continue the fight for life and others like Terri.

I will never forget and I will never stop telling her story. 

HTTP://WWW.TERRISFIGHT.ORG

Also read Father Frank Pavone’s memory of his time with Terri.

HTTP://WWW.WASHINGTONTIMES.COM/NEWS/2015/MAR/30/FRANK-PAVONE-TERRI-SCHIAVOS-INCONVENIENT-LIFE/

Reprinted with permission from Stand True.

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