Miscarriage website adds Catholic component

| January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Jessica Shurts, left, of St. John the Baptist in Savage and Sara Rogers of St. Joseph in West St. Paul created the website http://www.catholicmiscarriagesupport.com, a Catholic resource for couples who have experienced a miscarriage. Photo courtesy Jessica Shurts

When a miscarriage happens, couples are often unprepared for the devastation.

Unfortunately, medical professionals aren’t always readily available with guidance or help.

When John and Sara Rogers of St. Joseph in West St. Paul suffered a miscarriage in 2008, there was little information online about Catholic teachings and spiritual support for couples experiencing this type of loss.

When they searched for “Catholic miscarriage” there were plenty of books to buy, articles to read and forums to browse, but there was no information about what were considered proper — or even acceptable — procedures for handling the baby’s death in accordance with the Church’s teachings. Unanswered questions included what to do with the baby’s body if delivered at home; options for a funeral, burial or blessing; and what to tell other children.

When Sara’s friend, Jessica Shurts, and her husband lost their baby in 2012, the situation was not much better. Turning to the Internet — even four years after the Rogers — they found little.

“I was lucky,” Shurts said. “I had Sara to go to, and she had already done the research and was able to share it with me.”

The two women’s shared belief that no one should have to face a miscarriage alone spurred them to help others. Together and with outside help, they created a website —
http://www.catholicmiscarriagesupport.com — with information they wished they would have had.

“I did come across an Orthodox Christian blog that had compiled a lot of information, and they graciously allowed us to use their content as a starting point for the website,” Rogers said.

The process has been ongoing.

“Sometimes people came to us with ideas on what to include on the website,” Rogers said.

The pair also sought input from experts.

“The National Catholic Bioethics Center was very helpful in educating on some difficult bioethics issues. And we enlisted the help of my pastor, Father Michael Tix,” Shurts said.

Father Tix, pastor of St. John the Baptist in Savage, sees the website as a much-needed resource in the Church.

“I think the website and the information is important because often we don’t hear at the parish level about couples who experience a miscarriage,” he said. “It’s at this time that faith is challenged at the loss of a child. Faith is also important as the hope and strength of God’s love for their healing. I think that [in] couples’ experience, miscarriage and infant loss can feel very much alone, and this website provides valuable resources from people who themselves have walked the same road.”

The website includes information on the physical process of a miscarriage and resources for medical information, but it also provides the spiritual and emotional support.

“There is a lot of misconception and confusion about what the Catholic Church teaches and what prayers and liturgies can or should be done when you have a miscarriage,” Rogers said. “Even the priests sometimes need to research what is done in certain circumstances. The website has all of those resources in one place.”

The site gets about 30 hits a day. It also is the first website listed in a Google search for “Catholic Miscarriage Support.”

“Right now, we just want to let people know about it,” Rogers said of the website.

“Eventually, it would be great to see pamphlets and brochures made, and possibly even a training with our seminarians, priests and pastoral care ministers, to let them know the resources that are out there.”

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Category: Respect Life