Ministering to Mothers in Crisis at a Pro-Life Pregnancy Center
For over 20 years, the Dominican House of Studies has assigned student brothers to the Northwest Center, a Washington, DC, pregnancy center that “seeks to promote the dignity of women and a respect for all human life” in accordance with Catholic teaching. Br. Frassati Davis is currently on assignment at the Northwest Center as he studies for the priesthood and practices Spanish.
“It is humbling to be in a ministry where I’m asked to take a step back, to listen, and specifically to listen in another language. The universal need of these women is a problem that’s never going to go away,” says Br. Frassati, whose role includes taking notes at client appointments, handing out supplies to mothers with infants, and praying for expectant and new mothers.
Br. Frassati, who encountered the Dominican Order while attending the March for Life as a diocesan seminarian, sees the work of the Center as a complement to the pro-life cause. “What is it we can continue to do throughout the year to really be that pro-life generation we chant about? There are needs that women are not receiving. How, as a Church, can we respond to those needs?”
Because it is not officially religious, the Northwest Center receives life-saving referrals from secular institutions. “We had a fifteen-year-old come in a few weeks ago, referred by her public high school. She didn’t speak English. She had arrived in the U.S. within the past six months and became pregnant. That’s a lot for a fifteen-year-old girl to handle.”
According to Br. Frassati, such situations provide valuable formation for the priesthood. “You can’t be scandalized by these things. As a priest, you’re called to administer the sacraments and care for souls, but responding [to material needs] makes your message a lot clearer to people who wouldn’t normally hear it. It’s very Dominican, if you ask me.”