Sr. Linda Dube sits in the living room of the soon-to-open Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers. Photo courtesy of Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers

Power of faith could mean believing is seeing

By  Ron Stang, Catholic Register Special
  • May 15, 2014

WINDSOR, ONT. - Often during confrontations both sides scream at one another without hearing what the other side is saying.

But that’s not how it played out one day during a pro-life street vigil in Windsor.

Sr. Linda Dube, an Ursuline based at the motherhouse in nearby Chatham, was confronted by someone who was for abortion rights.

“Well, what are you doing to help, what about a woman who’s pregnant and has nowhere to go, what are you doing to help her?” Dube recalled her accuser asking.

It made the sister, who was participating in the annual 40 Days for Life campaign, stop and think. Perhaps this person — the kind “I like to talk to the most” because they are at least interested in the issue and therefore open to change — had a point. The result: an effort to open a local home for pregnant women.

It is about to come to fruition, as Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers will soon open.

“That’s where that idea initiated because really there is nothing (for young pregnant women in southwestern Ontario) between here and St. Thomas,” about 200 km away, where Fresh Start — a similar facility, exists, she said.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Mothers still needs some final inspections before it opens but already there have been inquiries and the staff is working with community agencies for referrals.

Elaine Paul, a social worker who will live there as the house mother and program manager, said the idea is for women who are pregnant to arrive before the birth and live there afterwards for several months.

“We don’t want them to come in too early because they would have less time afterwards,” she said. “Obviously women who got kicked out of the house, they are going to need to be here earlier.”

The home will provide pre-and post-natal care, and help with personal skills such as cooking, budgeting and job-seeking.

Dube and others (the Ursulines are not officially involved in the project) decided to raise money for the home but it only came in dribs and drabs.

“We worked very hard for three or four years raising money through the Baby Bottle Campaign and through the churches mostly and other little organizations and we had a fundraiser,” she said. And then “someone on our board suggested we make a novena… we flat out asked for a house.”

Two days later Dube was driving on a rural road outside Windsor during a blinding snowstorm.

“I couldn’t see out the window,” she said. “I was terrified to get out and clear the windshield wipers because they were caked with ice and slush. I couldn’t get out because I was afraid I’d get hit.”

But she drove on, and upon arriving at her speaking engagement, “there wasn’t a flake of snow in sight.”

Dube gave her talk and afterwards people milled around and “there was one guy, sort of waiting, waiting, waiting.” Finally he came up to her and offered to help.

“I said, ‘Would you like a baby bottle?’ ” she said. “He just laughed at me and said, ‘No, I mean I can help you.’ And he wanted to give us a house.”

At first her group thought this would be an existing home, perhaps a bed and breakfast, which was closing. But this anonymous donor decided to provide, “minimum,” $300,000, for a brand new, fully furnished seven-bedroom house in the heart of Windsor. Construction started last July.

Dube is passionate about the need for a home.

“Because in reality a woman who’s not married and pregnant — we’re so liberal in our society — they get tremendous pressure to terminate the pregnancy, from doctors, from family members,” she said.

(Stang is a freelance writer in Windsor, Ont.)

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