During the state of emergency imposed due to the pandemic, we had to stay inside. One day, the phone rang. I answered as quickly as I could, because it was the number for pregnancy crisis help requests.
It was Delia, a complete stranger. She spoke with difficulty. She could barely breathe. She apologized for calling, but she was in great need for help. She was two months pregnant and had recently been diagnosed with tuberculosis, after her Covid-19 test had come negative.
She was in the hospital and feeling really sick. And some doctors were telling her she had to give up her baby, because it was going to be affected by the treatment. She was very scared for the baby, which she had so much wished for. Because of the sanitary restrictions and her diagnostic, Delia felt absolutely alone. She could neither see her husband, nor her relatives.
I told her what I told hundreds of women in pregnancy crisis I met before her: She was not really alone! We could help her.
During the pandemic, cases like Delia’s were so many. Even before this public health crisis, “St Alexandra” crisis pregnancy center was receiving more and more help requests, while its space and team were limited, with only two experts: a social worker and a psychologist.
We were trying to respond to the needs of hundreds of persons asking for the center’s support.
We had two options: making waiting lists for the beneficiaries or extend our activity by opening a new center.
We thought, then took advice from experts and in the end we chose the second option.
Why? Pregnancy crisis is an emergency situation.
Often, there is only one chance to offer support to a woman in pregnancy crisis. Who could afford to miss it? We couldn’t.
If an unborn child is lost because its mother had nowhere to receive support from in her pregnancy crisis, that child could never be replaced.
We publicly launched the fundraising on June 8, but the story of the “Holy Empress Helen” Counseling and Information Center started in January 2020.
We started working and, in February we found this place. We were happy to see that it met all the legal requirements for our center. We were preparing the launch of the fundraising when the pandemic hit and everything was frozen.
At first, we were disheartened. There was a lot of uncertainty. We were thinking: will the opening of this center be possible in 2020? Would we be able to find another appropriate place if we lost the one we had found? Will there still be people to financially support the establishing of a new center?
We took a pause to see what others had done in situations which looked just as impossible.
The Holy Empress Helen gave birth to a child who changed the history of Christianity and of the whole world in a period of great social instability, and she did a lot of good to many people.
The Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs, whom we commemorate today [they were canonized in 1992 and are commemorated by the Romanian Orthodox Church on August 16, the date of the center’s inauguration – ed. note] built a Romanian culture and identity, churches and social institutions in a time when the Ottoman Turks were sovereign over Christian countries.
The Holy Prince Stephen the Great built dozens of churches and monasteries during a reign marked by dozens of wars and fights.
Not one of these saints waited for a peaceful time to do something. They all built the Good amidst crises. Looking at their deeds, we took courage.
After the state of emergency ended, I called the administrator of the building and found out the place was still unoccupied. He had just turned down the offer of a video-chat company. So, a place which could become destructive for women’s lives became a place of renewed hope for women in pregnancy crisis, offering them the chance to rejoice in the birth of their babies.
I wish to thank all those present at this opening and all who supported the fundraising campaign “Renew Hope for Both of Them”.
We thank His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, for the spiritual and material support offered and for being a real father for children – both born and unborn.
I’d like to emphasize we do not thank him just formally, but from the bottom of our hearts and I also want to say that His Beatitude’s gift covers almost a third of the needed amount – he was indeed our most generous donor. It is the truth and we testify it.
I wish to thank Father Counselor Ciprian Ioniță, Coordinator of the Social-Philanthropic Sector of the Romanian Patriarchate, for the wonderful blessing service he has just officiated and for for paying attention to the issue of pregnancy crisis in his activity
We also thank to architect Alexandra Mihailciuc, who did a tremendous pro-bono work to design the interior of the center, and to all those who worked to make it look as you see it today.
I invite you to stand by us. The opening of the “Holy Empress Helen” Center is part of a larger long-term program development to support women in pregnancy crisis – a type of social intervention so much needed in today’s Romania.
In five decades, the American pro-life movement has built a network of over 2,800 crisis pregnancy centers, whose activity is supplemented by hundreds of additional support programs: maternal homes, medical cabinets equipped with sonographs, adoption associations, support programs for fathers.
To create something like that we need long-term involvement, resilience and steadfastness. We believe we can do this together.
Delia, whom I was talking about before, chose life for her baby.
95% of the women who experience a pregnancy crisis and have the chance to receive counseling chose to keep their babies. If you meet them, help these women. Or tell them to look for us at the “Holy Empress Helen” Center.
Protect the lives of unborn children every time you get to chance to do so.
Save lives by helping us to help: how else could we show our gratitude for the gift of life we have received?