By TAMI QUIGLEY
Life was celebrated in a very special way by the 40 Days for Life Community Outreach Oct. 22, as pro-lifers threw a baby shower for two brave young women who have chosen life.
Close to 100 people attended the afternoon shower this past fall at the Quakertown home of Christopher and Maggie Sweet, regional coordinator of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in the Lehigh Valley.
The guests of honor were Shannet Cuascut and Eric Rosario and their 6-day-old son Jaivian Rosario, and Nashaly Cruz Pagon and Osbel Polanco Calderon, whose daughter Nashbel was born Jan. 10.
“God’s grace was certainly upon the 40 Days for Life campaign this past spring.
We had several blessings, including Planned Parenthood workers leaving for better jobs and several babies saved,” said Maggie Sweet.
In October, members “adopted” the two young women and their families, and gave them a baby shower.
Cuascut is a junior at William Allen High School, Allentown.
“She courageously accepted our assistance by making that detour with us to Bright Hope Pregnancy Support Center, Allentown for an ultrasound while her boyfriend waited for her inside Planned Parenthood. Her boyfriend eventually … arrived to see the ultrasound and discovered her baby boy was due on her birthday November 15,” Sweet said.
Jaivian arrived early on Oct. 16.
Before the shower, Cuascut had a crib, some diapers and some clothing.
Sweet said Pagon was living with her two children in her mother’s home.
“Her mother said she had to leave and would not care for a third child if she was pregnant. She chose life and is currently living in a small apartment. She had a baby girl, Nashbel, Jan. 10,” Sweet said, adding that prior to the shower this girl did not have any baby supplies at all.
“Both girls sent a profound thank you, they were so touched because they never heard of any type of help and never knew people can genuinely care so deeply for the unborn.
“They also wanted to thank the entire community because they had so much fun during the baby shower and received more than enough to purchase their baby items.
“But most of all both wanted to thank everyone for supporting them. Not only were their children’s lives saved, but how a baby changed their relationship in such an amazing way. They will both dedicate their lives by sharing this message of love and will direct other women to Bright Hope.
“They never want to lose contact with the pro-life movement.”
Sweet noted, “These baby showers are great ways to show continuous love and support as a community during the 40 days for Life campaign for this fall. Any extra baby items will go to hurricane victims.
“Not only is it a chance to show continuous love and support to these courageous families, it’s also a chance for a meet and greet – and a great way to reach out to several campaigns from Bucks, Montgomery, Northampton and Lehigh counties.
“During the last baby shower I couldn’t help but get choked up, looking at the attendees that included previous workers from Planned Parenthood, sidewalk counselors, previous families that chose life and watching their children jump on the trampoline certainly brings tears to anyone.”
“This is clearly only through God’s grace,” Sweet said, and the fruits of the labor of those working with the 40 Days for Life campaign.
In 2009 Sweet was so moved when invited to a baby shower held at the home of Mary Hartnett, another sidewalk counselor in Allentown, for two young women in crisis and felt this type of love will change lives forever, and for many families it has.
Sweet said she and her husband have two parishes. They spend time at Holy Infancy, Bethlehem, where her parents are parishioners, and their local parish, St. Agnes, Quakertown, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Those involved with the campaign and shower include Sweet of Silent No More Awareness Campaign; Mike Israel, Annaleigh Atiyah, Mario Madawela and Kristina Anspach, all of Lehigh Valley Pro-Life Future; Joyce Mazalewski, Allentown Sidewalk Counselor; Mary Paris, Bucks County 40 Days for Life coordinator; and Victoria Naoe, Montgomery 40 Days for Life coordinator.
“I want to invite the public to come out and pray with us at local abortion facilities,” Sweet said. “Women are entering these facilities as if it were just another Walmart.”
Sweet prays at Planned Parenthood on Ninth Street in Allentown; Allentown Women’s Center, 31 South Commerce Way, Bethlehem; Planned Parenthood Warminster; Planned Parenthood Norristown; and Planned Parenthood Pottstown.
“I try to spread out to different locations to partner with them and get familiar with the local crisis pregnancy centers in their location,” Sweet said.
“I am post-abortive 32 years ago and it has a devastating aftermath that only God can heal,” Sweet said.
She said in 1997 her mother had a near death experience, having been given the wrong medication and suffering from liver failure. “As she lay in the hospital almost dying, she said the words that forever changed my life. She held up her rosary and united her sufferings with Christ. That moment hit me like a ton of bricks as I looked up and pleaded with our Lord for her life,” Sweet said.
“Not only didn’t she die, but with the doctor’s permission, I took her to Fatima and Lourdes, and she was miraculously healed from a liver transplant.
“I began to pray my rosary daily, went to confession and the healing process began. In 2003 while working at Holy Infancy Gift Shop, a young lady entering the store shared with me she was contemplating an abortion. I felt an urgency to share my story with her in hopes to save her from a lifetime of pain. She thanked me and left undecided.”
About a year and a half later while working at the gift shop, Sweet heard a knock on the door and there to her surprise was the woman. “I opened the door with tears – her voice will forever echo in my heart: ‘I want my son to meet the woman who saved his life.’”
“I was so joyously shaking and crying and lifted him up to the heavens and said, ‘God this one is for you.’ That was the day I discovered my purpose in life, so I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat and discovered God’s mercy is endless,” Sweet said.
“Renewed, I now dedicated the rest of my life to this mission of not only saving babies, but also families as well,” Sweet said. “There is hope and healing for post-abortive men and women with Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard ministry.”