Conspicuous: An Afternoon for Life  Conspicuous: An Afternoon for Life

I wondered what we looked like from the third floor.  Surely the sight of five Catholic priests in clerics, three young women, and one seminarian clad in a black cassock whipping in the bitter fall Canadian wind would catch someone’s attention, someone’s heart.

We stood on the sidewalk opposite of the abortion clinic, pulled out our rosaries, and began the Sorrowful Mysteries.  The beads felt cold and hard in my already-frozen fingers.  I again looked up at the third floor of the building that had been claimed by the abortionist.  The sign-less clinic shared a doorway with a Curves gym.  Most people wouldn’t know the den of horrors was overhead if it hadn’t been for our group.  Some passers-by probably wondered why we were so against Curves.  A steady stream of people came and went from the McDonald’s next door.  Everything looked normal.  Except us.

As we took turns leading decades, we fought against the wind and traffic to pray loudly enough for the others to follow.  Occasionally a bus would stop just past our group, depositing a small group of people next to us.  Shocked, embarrassed, indifferent, or indignant, the travelers made their ways past us silently, mostly, with the occasional mocking comment.

I closed my eyes and listened especially to my priest friends’ voices reciting the rosary, warming inside thinking of how pleasing they on that sidewalk must’ve been to Our Lord and Lady.  Deeper into the mysteries I happily imagined the immense effect that five priests’ prayers would bring, equally amazed at the stubbornness of evil.

And then a door would open.  Perhaps it was a boyfriend, who waited nervously outside, smoking, looking everywhere but at our little group right across the street.  Another swing of a door, and it would be a patient leaving quickly, arms linked with a friend, hurrying down the street.  More women leaving, this time having come from the gym.  Coming and going, doors opening and closing, as our rosary went on, I wanted to scream.  Didn’t anyone see the horror of what was going on on that third floor?  Couldn’t anyone smell the loss of life, all those babies, all those mothers, the loss of soul, the scars, the damage wrought by one man and a team of “caring professionals”?  It all looked so normal.  Like any other busy street downtown.  Except for us.

Copyright 2012 Meg Matenaer