Pro-life ministry takes its message to schools
What began four years ago as a family project to produce and sell pro-life-themed "prayer pillows" has grown to include an awareness campaign in archdiocesan elementary and high schools.
Nikki Schaefer, a member of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Blair, leads the Heart of a Child Ministry, which produces the pillows to raise money for pro-life groups.
Last year, her organization created another pro-life ministry, teaming with Omaha-based Nebraskans United for Life and its converted recreational vehicle and mobile ultrasound equipment to take the living image of the unborn child to high school students.
Schaefer and others visit high schools, making presentations and giving students the opportunity to see the child inside a volunteer mother’s womb.
The visits begin with presentations by Schaefer, Ann Marie Bowen, chairperson of Nebraskans United for life, an ultrasound technician, and Kristen New of Omaha, a former atheist and abortion counselor whose conversion to Christianity began when she saw a second-trimester ultrasound for the first time.
"She hadn’t known what was really going on in the womb," Schaefer said, "but she saw that this was not a blob of tissue, but a human life, and that human life had a will to live."
"She came to see that they are children of God from their beginning in the womb, and she shares this so beautifully with the kids," she said.
Schaefer also visits elementary and middle schools with age-appropriate presentations and pillow-making sessions, gently introducing students to the topic and focusing on the message that everyone can make a difference, she said.
Schaefer visits about one school per month. To request a visit, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The prayer pillow ministry, which started as an idea from Schaefer’s then-7-year-old daughter, Grace, has grown to producing more than 200 pillows per year, selling them online at heartofachildministries.org, and through the Cosgrave Company and Gloria Deo stores in Omaha, the Pro Sanctity Retreat Center near Elkhorn, parishes and pro-life events. Sales have raised about $20,000 for pro-life organizations, she said.