Elizabeth Ministry International offers hope, help, and healing on issues related to relationships, sexuality, and childbearing. One of our outreach ministries is RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH, an online recovery program for those struggling with pornography use and other unhealthy sexual behaviors. We also offer support groups for wives of those who are struggling.
About six years ago, a woman came to one of our support groups who had four young children and had left her husband after he lost his second job due to using pornography at work. They were soon going to be divorced, but a friend had brought her to our support group. After attending our support group she learned more about the addictive nature of pornography use and its progression in destroying lives. She also got hope as she heard testimonies from others whose husbands had found healing through our RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH online recovery program. (www.reclaimsexualhealth.com) Her husband enrolled and eventually they reunited and their marriage was saved.
After they were together again as a family, she became pregnant with their fifth child. A short time before she gave birth, the couple shared their testimony at a RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH national conference. They thanked Bishop Ricken, my husband and myself for starting RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH and saving their marriage. (My husband had struggled with pornography for decades and finally found healing after getting a new spiritual director and enrolling in a secular online program designed to retrain the brain affected by unhealthy sexual behaviors. Under the direction of Bishop Ricken, a collaboration with this secular program and Elizabeth Ministry International allowed us to make it a Catholic resource with an imprimatur.)
Elizabeth Ministry had started with outreach support on issues related to childbearing and so I was a trained doula. This couple asked me to be a doula at the birth of this child and be the godmother. One of the special things I do as an Elizabeth Ministry doula is to bring the Blessed Sacrament to the woman in labor. This couple wanted to receive Jesus during labor of their baby. In God’s grace, the baby was born on Christmas morning. As that baby was born, all the pain and suffering of the years of my husband’s sexual addiction melted away as Romans 8:28 literally came to life. That favorite Scripture story of mine says God will bring good out of every situation. I realized that if my husband and I hadn’t suffered with his sexual sins, there never would have been a RECLAIM SEXUAL HEALTH program and this baby would not have been conceived.
Since that Christmas morning blessing, this couple have had three more children and I have been invited to be a doula at each birth. When I got the call to go to the hospital with the last birth, I grabbed my bag of doula items, and the Cross of St. Benedict that we got from Patrick and Joy Campbell caught my eye. I had never taken it to a birth before, but I felt compelled to bring it.
This particular cross is not only special because of the Campbell family and their ministry, but it had been blessed by an exorcist who determined Satan was after my husband and I because of our ministry. I brought the cross and its stand to the hospital and discovered that the pix with Our Lord fit perfectly in the space designed for a candle. During labor, along with the regular doula physical support measures, I always recite a Litany of Mother Saints. The couple also pray the Stations of the Cross with me during labor. At transition time, mother and father received the Blessed Sacrament. The Catholic doctor joined in our prayer time. Then, just as mom was ready to deliver, I found myself reaching for the St. Benedict cross and placing it over her womb while powerful prayers poured out of me. Shortly after, baby was born with the cord around his neck and a knot in his umbilical cord! He was blue and had trouble breathing at first. When he did, the doctor proclaimed: “This is a miracle baby for he should have been stillborn.” It was a profound spiritual moment as we all recognized the blessing of new life has been given in such an amazing way.
So, Patrick and Joy, thank you for your faith to do your ministry so that we would have that cross to pray with during this most sacred of times. I feel like the Holy Spirit is inviting us to find ways to collaborate more in our ministries.
Jeannie Hannemann, M.A.
Elizabeth Ministry International Founder