The surprising fruits of 40 Days for Life: one woman’s story of life and love
MONTREAL, Quebec, March 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Becoming actively involved in 40 Days for Life brought so much more to Natalia Zięba than she would ever have dreamed of – including love, marriage, and, now, a beautiful newborn baby.
With the 40 Days for Life kick-off in Montreal, Quebec this week on International Women’s Day, the Montreal resident shared her story about the “fruit of the 40 Days for Life” with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN).
Zięba first learned about 40 Days for Life in 2007 through reading LSN. “I had no idea, in fact no hope, that it would ever happen in Montreal,” Natalia said in an interview.
Two years later, however, she read the list of new 40 Days cities. “There it was, Montreal, among the new cities,” she said, wondering who would be crazy, but also brave enough to organize the event. “I was really amazed.”
While attending the first organizational meetings, Natalia had the impression that an “older gentleman” must be the organizer and assumed that a young man who was present was a “hooligan” challenging the organizer. Little did she expect that the “hooligan” was the brave man who was organizing the event – and her future husband.
“I was always pro-life,” said Natalia, “when I was younger I was, convinced yes, but not a militant … I was not about to go do anything about it. As I got older I thought, ‘if I am convinced that something is evil, what am I going to do about it? Am I just going to continue reading and agreeing it is a horrible thing?’ When I decided to do something, as it happened, it was then that 40 Days started in Montreal.”
Natalia became highly involved in 40 Days, assisting with organization and as a participant. A graphic designer, she volunteered her abilities to 40 Days and generally to the pro-life movement.
Then, in April 2010, she married Georges Buscemi of Campagne Québec-Vie, the organizer of that first 40 Days in Montreal. They welcomed baby Maximillian into their lives on January 21, 2011.
Natalia continues her involvement in the 40 Days for Life campaign, although necessarily less so now due to her new role as a mother. She has worked actively to reach parish groups, including her own Polish community, to encourage their participation in 40 Days.
She also contributes through prayer. “Prayer is really an essential thing,” said Natalia. This will be her third year spiritually adopting a child who is in danger of abortion. “On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, you make a pledge to pray every day until Christmas,” explained Natalia. “You pray every day that through God’s grace and help that child will be saved. This version of spiritual adoption was brought from Poland and is what we do here in Polish churches.”
Although it was quite cold this week, Natalia braved the weather and “took the risk” of bringing baby Maximillian to the evening kick-off for the 40 Days for Life on International Women’s Day. Participants refer to Maximillian as the “fruit of the 40 Days,” said Natalia. “People were quite pleased to see him there … he is what we are praying for, fighting to save.”
“Really, a positive example for everyone and for women thinking of abortion, to see a little baby and to think that this is what they carry, what they could have, and hopefully influence them toward changing their mind.”
This year’s Montreal 40 Days for Life specifically began on International Women’s Day, said Natalia, to honor women.
In Poland, Natalia remembers celebrating Women’s Day as a young schoolgirl, though far differently from its usual celebration in Canada and especially Quebec. “It was, in fact, a women’s appreciation day. Society, men especially, appreciating women,” she said. In her experience as a schoolgirl, the boys would write poems and buy little roses for the girls, as tokens of appreciation.
Upon moving to Quebec, however, Natalia says, “I saw none of that.” “There’s only one discourse on women’s rights, and women’s rights, of course, are all about abortion.”
“I thought, ‘how sad’, because when a woman decides to do something like that, where is the father in all this? Where are the men? When a woman gets to that point she is really abandoned. What are women really celebrating? Being abandoned? The right to kill her own child? I thought it was really very sad.”
With 40 Days for Life, however, men and women both stand up in support of women. “There is hope,” said Natalia. “On International Women’s Day, women are not alone, men are there to help and protect the woman and the child. The pro-life side always gets criticized because there are so many men involved. That is actually a wonderful thing, because finally men are doing what they are supposed to do.”
40 Days campaign honors women “by honoring womanhood through honoring motherhood,” said Natalia. “We talk about women’s rights. Women are everywhere. But are women honored and valued as women or only as an imitation of men? By valuing the mother in a woman, we truly value a woman for what she is.”
“The ability of a woman to be a mother, whether physically or being a spiritual mother, by honouring that the pro-life movement really honors women,” concluded Natalia.