New center helps Wright County women choose life

| October 9, 2013 | 0 Comments
Mary Ottman, left, executive director of Cornerstone Women’s Center in St. Michael, and volunteer Mary Rose stand in an exam room at the center with the ultrasound machine that was purchased with the help of funds raised by 11 local Knights of Columbus councils.  Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Mary Ottman, left, executive director of Cornerstone Women’s Center in St. Michael, and volunteer Mary Rose stand in an exam room at the center with the ultrasound machine that was purchased with the help of funds raised by 11 local Knights of Columbus councils. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Two years ago, Mary Rose of St. Michael Catholic Church in St. Michael saw an alarming statistic and decided it was time to take action.

“We had heard that there were 158 abortions [a year] in Wright County,” she said. “And, we felt like one was too many.”

Others in the parish felt the same way, and they banded together to create a pro-life center so that local women in unplanned pregnancies could choose life.

On Sept. 29, a group of parishioners joined with representatives of the Knights of Columbus to dedicate Cornerstone Women’s Center, which is ideally located on Central Avenue, the main thoroughfare through town. It opened July 15.

“This is what we’ve worked two years for,” Rose said. “It’s here, finally. So, there’s a lot of excitement. Yet, it was like, ‘Is this really real?’ We’re pinching ourselves.”

Working together

After consulting with Will Coissart of TLC Options for Women (formerly called Total Life Care Centers), the group moved forward and bought a house on Central Avenue. It needed a lot of work — volunteers gutted it down to the studs — but the end result is a beautiful, homey place complete with a lobby, counseling rooms and an exam room where women can get pregnancy tests and, most important, ultrasounds.

And, that’s where the Knights come in. A total of 11 councils raised funds to help pay for the ultrasound machine, which pro-lifers often say is the key to helping convince women to carry their babies to term.

The Knights presented a check for $44,605 at the dedication. Father Ken O’Hotto, pastor of St. Mary in Waverly and state chaplain for the Knights, was on hand to pray a blessing.

“We are the only center like this in Wright County with an ultrasound machine,” said Rose, who has volunteered up to 60 hours a week during the last two years and has no plans to stop. “It’s been an exciting journey and it’s really fun to see the spiritual things happen. That’s what keeps me coming back.”

The center has been able to hire a part-time executive director, Mary Ottman, who comes in to staff the center, which is open Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. Only a handful of women have visited so far, but Ottman realizes it will take time — and lots of prayer — to bring more people through the door.

“You have to start it with prayer, and you have to end it with prayer,” she said. “Those are the two bookends, and everything else is in the middle. If we’re in prayerful consideration every day, coming and going, then the rest is God’s work here. I am just working every day the best I can with the ability I have.”

For more information, call (763) 478-7367 or visit Cornerstone Women Center online.

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Category: Local News