their president promote abortion through Obamacare mandates. A wonderful sister, God bless her! Posted in full from The Catholic Times.
By Joseph O'Brien, Staff Writer
LA CROSSE – Sister Rosalia Bauer is a Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration with a special mission to protect the littlest of our Lord’s little ones – those in danger of being aborted or destroyed through abortifacients and contraceptives. She is also determined to reach out to the mothers who, either because of fear, lack of counseling or unfortunate life circumstances, feel compelled to destroy their children in the womb.
One of 11 children, Sister Rosalia entered the FSPA on Sept. 1, 1947. She studied nursing and graduated from St. Anthony School of Nursing, Carroll, Iowa, in 1953. She told The Catholic Times, “I am proud being a nurse,” noting that the profession “is like a doorknob allowing me to enter people’s hearts.” Her nursing ministry took her around the Midwest with stints at St. Anthony’s after graduation, serving as a registered nurse and instructor of student nurses. Five years later, in 1958, as head nurse and instructor at St. Francis Hospital (now known as Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Health Care), La Crosse, she initiated, with Charlotte McArdle’s (director of Nursing Services), encouragement, the first home care program. In 1961, she became supervisor of operation rooms, central supply and outpatients at Sacred Heart Hospital, Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Three years later, she was back at St. Francis in La Crosse serving as emergency department supervisor. After receiving a master’s in nursing in 1969 from the University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., Sister Rosalia returned to La Crosse to become director of La Crosse County Health and Home Care Services. She returned to school in 1975, becoming the first FSPA Family Nurse Practitioner, graduating in 1976 from the University of Virginia-Commonwealth University, Richmond, Va.
Heading overseas, she served in Camp Khao I Dang in Thailand in 1980, ministering along with doctors to the dire health care needs of Cambodian and Hmong refugees streaming into this country at that time. Returning to the United states, Sister Rosalia served as Health Care Coordinator for FSPA-sponsored hospitals. Upon the completion of these assignments, she, along with family members, was caregiver to her aging mother. She also served at this time in Buffalo County Health Nursing Services, and with extremely handicapped children. After retiring from nursing, Sister Rosalia had a “Damascus moment” in seeing and promoting the importance of personally defending human life from womb to tomb. To prepare for this new ministry, Sister Rosalia met and worked with many of the bright lights of the early national pro-life movement, including Judie Brown of American Life League (ALL); Francis and the late Marie Dietz of the Center of Pro-Life Studies, North Troy, Vt.; Joe Scheidler, founder of Pro-Life Action League, Chicago; the late Father Paul Marx, founder of Human Life International (HLI), Collegeville, Minn. and the late Nellie Gray, founder and organizer of the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Beginning her pro-life ministry in 1993 with Pro-Life Wisconsin (PLW), Sister Rosalia worked with PLW founders, Sheri Johansson (PLW director) Gregory Chesmore and Mary Matuska, in the organization’s Stoughton, Wis. office.
Later she participated in weekly prayer vigils in front of the Northern Illinois Women’s Center, Rockford, Ill., where more than 50,000 abortions were performed in the last two decades. The facility closed permanently Jan. 13, 2012, because of numerous health violations – and the Rockford pro-life community saw it as an answer to countless prayers and witness.
Having moved back to the FSPA motherhouse – St. Rose Convent, La Crosse – Sister Rosalia has taken part in pro-life work in the area. The Catholic Times caught up with Sister Rosalia and asked her about her pro-life work and the change it has made in her life as a consecrated religious and as a Franciscan.
The Catholic Times: When did you begin your pro-life ministry?
Sister Rosalia Bauer: On June 21, 1992, I was hit with a bomb shell – I should say – with sparkles of grace. (I’m trying to get the violent terms out of my vocabulary!) My mother had recently died and I had asked for a year sabbatical to figure out what I was going to do. I really thought I would be taking care of people with AIDS, because I had been working in Buffalo County, and more folks were getting sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. But I made a retreat at the time for 10 days of unwinding. One day, I was having breakfast at the retreat center with Monsignor Joseph Henry [a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse until he became a priest in the newly erected Diocese of Madison in 1946], and he said, “Rosalia, I think you should listen to this tape.” It was a gorgeous June day that day and so I took a blanket and a tape cassette player, with blue skies and white billowy clouds above me. I’m listening to this tape and all of a sudden, the speaker says, ‘When Satan is active in a country, he demands human sacrifice – and abortion is the human sacrifice he is demanding in the United States.’ I felt like I was in a block of ice. I had no idea what the pro-life movement was but I was going to find out.
CT: After you studied with some of the early pro-life leaders, such as Marie Dietz at the Center for Pro-life Studies and Father Paul Marx of HLI, you headed back to Wisconsin and started working with PLW in its earliest days. What did you do at PLW and how did this Catholic organization help you prepare for your ministry?
SR: One of the PLW founders, Greg Chesmore is such a creative man. One day, he took a doll and broke it up into pieces. I said, “Greg! What are you doing?” He put the pieces on a piece of paper and took a picture of it. This became a halfpage ad in Wisconsin’s newspapers. “This is what abortion is,” the tagline read. At PLW, I entered data on computers, answered phones, worked with volunteers. A phone call came from a Chinese-sounding lady asking about this ad. She said, “I was walking out the door to get an abortion and I see this ad in the paper. What is abortion?” I explained to her what she was doing and referred her to a pro-life doctor. About three months later I received a photo and a letter about how I changed this woman’s life. The baby boy was the most beautiful, chubby, Chinese baby I’d ever seen. That life was saved due to the power of getting the message out, which was an important lesson Greg taught me.
CT: When the recent undercover videos which allegedly show the country’s largest – and richest – abortion provider Planned Parenthood engaging in the sale of aborted baby body parts, what effect did it have on you regarding your understanding of abortion?
SR: In a sense, it hasn’t changed my understanding at all. One of the first things you watch when training for ministry in the pro-life movement is the film “Silent Scream” showing an abortion being performed [and narrated by the late abortionist-turned pro- life leader Bernard Nathanson]. When you see that, it’s clear, how evil abortion is.
CT: What difference do you make as a consecrated religious woman involved in the pro-life movement?
SR: I am available and free for any assignment – and blessed with my vocation. Here I’m even more blessed – I don’t have to cook, wash dishes, or do laundry. I’m like a hot platter ready for serving – I’m blessed, I know it, and I enjoy it. Sometimes, I’m frustrated in my ministry – and I tell God.
CT: How does your pro-life ministry help you understand what your vocation is as a religious sister?
SR: My vocation is to live out my call to holiness. We are a community of vowed Franciscan women centered in the Eucharist – that’s where I get my energy and strength from; I couldn’t do pro-life work without the Eucharist. The FSPA are committed to being a loving presence through prayer, witness and service. My model is kindness – the kindness of Christ. When I meet abortion proponents, the first thing some want to do is argue – one needs to be kind. I learned this lesson from a companion FSPA, a friend, – she’s since died – Sister Josephine Weiler. She once told me that Dolly Parton asked her dad for some words of wisdom to live by – and Dolly’s dad looked at his famous country singer daughter and said, “There’s only five words, darling: ‘Be kind, darling, be kind.’” That’s what I tell people holding signs.
CT: What’s the biggest challenge personally in the pro-life ministry?
SR: It will never be easy to go out and witness because we all like to be liked. But I’m inspired by the young people and we have to follow our hearts. God says, “I have a plan for you,” and with that plan I believe He gives the energy and the courage to do it. I don’t always like it and I wish someone else would do it, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I did something else. So far, I’ve never been told to put that sign down and quit.
CT: Why are so many young people drawn to the pro-life movement?
SR: It’s almost as if there’s a collective conscience young people have when they see the mess that some parents have made of themselves – especially some Baby Boomers – but there’s also that sense among the young when they look around and realize, ‘Hey, we’re not all here – some of us are absent.’ … That was the first thing that struck me when I went to a pro-life talk in Iowa. Greg Chesmore, the speaker, said that because of legalized abortion, a third of his classmates are not here. I never forgot that. Maybe that’s what young people are realizing – their brothers and sisters are not here because they’ve been killed by abortion.
CT: What is your hope for the next generation?
SR: We have a great hope in the next generation. In the Life League of La Crosse, I met a 15-year old girl who began “Teens for Life.” She’s now 17; Ann Arvidson is her name… The “V-Hawks for Life” came alive at Viterbo University [in La Crosse] recently too. Viterbo Senior Hunter Beggs started Viterbo’s pro-life group last year and now they have a new leader Katherine Ross who is carrying on the work as Hunter is about to graduate. The campus ministry co-director at Viterbo too, Emilio Alvarez, has been active in promoting the prolife message on campus.