TORONTO - Nobody has a PhD in dying. There are no courses to teach us how to die well. But we all want a good death.

It’s getting harder to die well. We live in a world where death happens somewhere else to somebody we don’t know who is surrounded by machinery. Few of us have been present at a death bed in our own homes.

Medicine often makes it even harder.

Published in Features

COLD LAKE, Alta. - A baby grows in her mother’s womb, and the parents love her and invest in her their dreams for the future. When she is born, this love blossoms. This was the situation for a Cold Lake couple, Patrice and Helene Roussel, in 1985. They were proud parents of a baby girl.

Three days after her birth, the child died.

Published in Features

Red Deer, Alta. - The foundational beauty of moral theology is that it stands on the belief that every person is made in God’s image, a leading Catholic ethicist told the annual convention of the Edmonton Catholic Women’s League.

“That belief has many consequences, all founded on one major principle: the inherent dignity of every human life from conception until natural death,” Dr. Moira McQueen told some 175 CWL delegates from across the Edmonton archdiocese April 20.

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As a young mother I was warned about the “terrible twos.” When my children got older, I was cautioned about the challenging teen years.

But I found raising a two year old exhilarating, not terrible, and the same goes for raising two teenagers. But that’s not to suggest we don’t have our moments.

Published in Guest Columns

I’m not a big believer in “Hallmark holidays” that force us to acknowledge our love for someone. However, I cringed when I learned my husband was going to be away for work on Mother’s Day this year.

Then I was immediately disappointed in myself for being disappointed. After all, who needs that one mandatory day where your husband and kids are required to treat you extra nice, make the meals and maybe offer a gift? Apparently I do.

Published in Features

TORONTO - The idea of family can take on any number of connotations. One might think that the most immediate understanding of the word is filled with thoughts of our biological relatives.

However, for some families, the meaning is a much more fluid one, as parents take on the challenge of providing for children in our society who are in need.

Kim O’Neill has been a foster parent for two years and with her husband Mike provides for two brothers, ages six and seven, in their Whitby, Ont., home. After some encouragement from another foster parent in the area, the couple decided to restart their lives as parents after their own biological children had grown up and left the nest.

Published in Features

Funny how carefully we choose our words. Working in the hospital, I see it all the time. If a woman is excited about the life in her womb, we call it a baby. With my own unborn child, my doctor, the ultrasound technician, a lady who greets me at the grocery store, they all use the same word: baby. Its very name implies it is human and it has worth. If it is not wanted, we call it a fetus.

It makes us feel better to talk to the post-abortive mother and ask, “How many weeks was the fetus?” rather than using the word baby. Somehow using the technical word removes us from the personhood of what it really is, but it doesn’t change anything.

Published in Features