Friday, April 29, 2005

St. Joseph the Worker
Prayers to St. Joseph the Worker
Feast Day -- May 1st

Let us praise Christ the Lord,
as we celebrate the memory of
Saint Joseph.

In Praise of Saint Joseph

Joseph, patron saint of workers,
blending skill with charity,
silent carpenter, we praise you!
Joining work with honesty,
you taught Christ with joy to labor,
sharing his nobility.

Joseph, close to Christ and Mary,
lived with them in poverty,
shared with them their home and labor,
worked with noble dignity.
May we seek God’s will as you did,
leader of his family!

Joseph, inspiration for workers,
man of faith and charity,
make us honest, humble, faithful,
strong with Christ’s true liberty,
Make our labor and our leisure
fruitful to eternity!

Novena Prayer

Good Saint Joseph, ever watchful guardian of the Holy Family, protect
the chosen people of Jesus Christ, keep us free from the blight of error
and corruption, and be our ally in the conflict with the powers of darkness.
As of old you rescued the child Jesus from the plots of Herod, so now defend
the universal Church from all harm. Keep us one and all under your continual protection, so that by your help and example, we may lead a holy life, die a happy death, and come to possess eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Prayer To Saint Joseph for Workers

Joseph, by the work of your hands
and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.
Teach me to work as you did,
with patience and perseverance, for God and
for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers
the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and
forbearing towards all.
Grant me to look upon work
with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it
my share in God's own creative activity
and in Christ's work of our redemption,
and so take pride in it.
When it is pleasant and productive,
remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome,
teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins
and the sins of the world.

(Note: This prayer was taken from the booklet "Devotions to Saint Joseph"
by Brian Moore, S.J., printed and published by the Society of St. Paul.)
St. Catherine of Siena -- Doctor of the Church
St. Catherine of Siena
Doctor of the Church

Favorite Quote:

When the soul has arrived at the attainment of the general light... she should not remain contented, because, as long as you are pilgrims in this life, you are capable of growth, and he who does not go forward, by that very fact, is turning back... For if the souls truly have light, she will wish to arrive at perfection.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) (H.R. 748) Abortion notice passes US House; Receives Praise from Pro-life Official

The U.S. House of Representatives today gave strong approval to legislation requiring parental notification for interstate abortions on minors, after which the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) called on the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. Senate to stop obstructing parental notification legislation.

The House passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA, H.R. 748) by a bipartisan margin of 270-157.

The bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.).In the Senate, a parental notification bill (S. 8/S. 403), sponsored by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nv.), has 38 sponsors (37 of them Republicans).

This bill has been listed among the "top ten" priorities by the Senate Republican leadership, but the Senate Democratic Leadership has erected procedural obstacles that have prevented its early consideration.

"It is outrageous that the Senate Democratic caucus has thrown up procedural obstacles to block parental notification legislation, despite numerous polls showing 75 percent or more of the public supports requiring parental notification," commented NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.

ILLINOIS members of the US HOUSE votes on HR 748:
Those voting yes (pro-life) were Costello, Hyde, Johnson, LaHood, Lipinski, Manzullo, Shimkus and Weller.Those voting no (pro-abortion) were Bean, Biggert, Davis, Emauel, Evans, Gutierrez, Jackson, Kirk, Rush, and Schakowsky.Please thank those US House members who voted for HR 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act. Click here for the full story

Meanwhile, the U.S. bishops' chief pro-life spokeswoman hailed the House passage of this legislation that would outlaw the practice of taking minors over state lines for abortions to circumvent parental notification or consent laws in the girl's home state.

Cathy Cleaver Ruse, director of planning and information for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said in an April 28 statement that "taking teens across state lines for secret abortions strikes at the heart of the family and the rights of parents."

She added, "But more than that, it presents a grave danger to the girls who are subjected to an invasive surgical procedure without their medical history or records, and with no medical follow-up or intervention."
St. Louis Marie de Montfort
St. Louis Marie de Montfort

Today is the feast day of one of my favorite saints -- St. Louis Marie de Montfort. He lived in the same area of France that my ancestors did and had a beautiful devotion to Our Mother.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us.
Hail Mary, pray for us.
Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort, pray for us.
Ardent disciple of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Wisdom, pray for us.
Eloquent preacher of the Cross, pray for us.
Singer of the praises of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.
Loving slave of Jesus in Mary, pray for us.
Faithful son of the handmaid of the Lord, pray for us.
Apostle of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
Preacher of the Mother of the Redeemer, pray for us.
Servant of the poor and the afflicted, pray for us.
Man of solitude and prayer, pray for us.
Wonder of mortification, pray for us.
Model of priests and missionaries, pray for us.
Fervent minister of the Holy Eucharist, pray for us.
Fearless champion of truth, pray for us.
Restorer of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.
Marvel of poverty and ababdonment to Divine Providence, pray for us.
Teacher of the people of God, pray for us.
Founder of Religious congregations, pray for us.
Apostle of the end times, pray for us.
Obedient collaborator with the Pope and Bishops, pray for us.
You see the Face of God: obtain for us perseverance in the faith.
You shine within Infinite Charity: obtain for us the gift of pure love.
You live in the New Jerusalem: obtain for us the spirit of prayer.
You stand before the throne of the Lamb: obtain for us the wisdom of the Cross. You contemplate the Mother of the Lord: obtain for us true devotion to Mary. You dwell with the Apostles of Christ: obtain for us missionary zeal.
You share in the communion of Saints: obtain for us love for the Church.
You are seated at the Table of the Kingdom: obtain for us the crown of glory.

Let us pray

O God, Who in the power of the Holy Spirit
Have made Saint Louis-Marie
An ardent apostle of Christ Crucified
And a faithful son of the Virgin Mary;
Grant that through his example and intercession
We may be renewed in the spirit of our baptism
And be always faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit.
One God, forever and ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Aborted Rowan Baby
Abortion Clinic Workers Refuse To Help Mother Screaming to Save Live Child

ORLANDO, FL - Angele, a single mother in her thirties with two children, thought that abortion was the answer to her circumstances. At almost 23 weeks gestation, she entered the EPOC Clinic in Orlando, Florida. Little did she realize that the next day she would give birth to a live, perfectly healthy boy whom she named Rowan. Cradling Rowan's moving body, her screams for help were ignored by abortion clinic workers while her son took his last breath. [continued]

Monday, April 25, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI Reveals His Feelings About the Papal Election

Pope John Paul II was so well-liked partly because of his genuineness and his humanness. Pope Benedict XVI also displays his vulnerability as a human being, revealing his feelings about being elected as the new Shepherd of the Church. This man has won my heart already.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Who is Pope Benedict XVI?

Quick Facts about our new Holy Father

The secular press has some inaccurate information out there about our new Pope. However, Our Sunday Visitor gives us a clear picture of who Pope XVI really is.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

BENEDICT XVI-- A Pope of the Holy Eucharist

Following is a partial text of the first message of Pope Benedict XVI which he delivered in Latin at the end of his first Mass as Pope with the members of the College of Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel.

"In a very significant way, my pontificate starts as the Church is living the special year dedicated to the Eucharist. How can I not see in this providential coincidence an element that must mark the ministry to which I have been called? The Eucharist, the heart of Christian life and the source of the evangelizing mission of the Church, cannot but be the permanent center and the source of the petrine service entrusted to me."

"The Eucharist makes the Risen Christ constantly present, Christ Who continues to give Himself to us, calling us to participate in the banquet of His Body and His Blood. From this full communion with Him comes every other element of the life of the Church, in the first place the communion among the faithful, the commitment to proclaim and give witness to the Gospel, the ardor of charity towards all, especially towards the poor and the smallest. "

"In this year, therefore, the Solemnity of Corpus Christ must be celebrated in a particularly special way. The Eucharist will be at the center, in August, of World Youth Day in Cologne and, in October, of the ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place on the theme "The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.' I ask everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations."

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI
Praise the Lord! We have a Pope!

This morning about 11:30 a.m. CST, our new Holy Father was introduced to the world. As the name "Joseph Ratzinger" was announced, the jubilant crowd cheered wildly, waving flags from every country around the world, manifesting the universality of Catholicism. Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI -- the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church.

In a simple speech, our new Shepherd, presented an important message to his flock. "Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," he said after being introduced by Chilean Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez.

"The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers," the new pope said. " I entrust myself to your prayers."
The crowd responded by chanting "Benedict! Benedict!"

Let us pray for Pope Benedict XVI that the Holy Spirit will guide him as he leads his people on the path to holiness in this blessed year of the Holy Eucharist.

Thank you, Lord, for this precious gift of our new Papa. Amen.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Another Lawsuit Filed by Pharmacist Against Governor Blagojevich

We need to continue to pray for the Illinois governor who wants to control Catholic religious beliefs regarding life. This is an abuse of his power and authority.
Black Smoke, No Pope

As I was watching Raymond Arroyo reporting live from the Vatican on the Papal Conclave this morning, a the crowd waiting the results of the election began yelling and I, too, became excited, awaiting the announcement of our next Holy Father. However, it turned out to be a false alarm and the smoke which initially appeared white was actually black. It's the Holy Spirit's way of telling us we need to persevere in prayer, so that He can enlighten the minds of the Cardinals and help them to know God's will in this matter.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Pharmacists File Suit Against Governor Blagojevich

Illinois pharmacists have filed a lawsuit against IL Governor Rod Blagojevich for forcing them to fill birth control prescriptions and the morning after pill, which are abortifacients and destroy human life. Let's pray they win.
Has Governor Blagojevich Crossed the Line?

Here's what the Illinois Federation for Right to Life Has to Say.

Illinois Federation for Right to Life Statement on Governor Blagojevich's Emergency Order Forcing Pharmacists to Dispense Abortifacients

Governor Blagojevich on April 1st, issued an emergency order requiring pharmacists to dispense the abortifacient "morning-after pill" that violates their religious beliefs. This order violates a number of laws, including the Health Care Right of Conscience Act (which makes it unlawful for any public official to discriminate or punish any person who refuses to "participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience"), the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Illinois Human Right Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The emergency rule is in effect for 150 days, after which time it is expected to be made permanent.

The face-off between pharmacists and the governor began after a Loop Osco pharmacist denied two women the Plan B abortifacient morning-after pill. From this Governor Blagojevich is now forcing pharmacists to choose between adhering to their religious beliefs or violating law as set forth by the governor.

The Illinois Pharmacists Association Executive Director Michael Patton, in a letter to the governor April 5, argued that the governor's order "requires pharmacists and pharmacy operators to comply with one specific set of beliefs." He added that forcing pharmacists to act against their deeply-held religious beliefs "is a recipe for disaster."

The Illinois Federation for Right to Life feels that Governor Blagojevich has crossed the line and abused the power of the office of governor and joins with others in urging the governor to suspend the April 1st Emergency Order immediately.

Bonnie Quirke (President, IFRL)
The Illinois Federation for Right to Life
1104 Milton Road Alton, IL 62002
Ph. 618-465-7655
Fx. 618-465-7788

Feel free to contact Governor Blagojevich and let him know what your opinion is on this.

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich
Governor's Office
Mailing Address: Office of the Governor
207 State House Springfield, IL 62706
Telephone: (217) 782-0244
TTY (888) 261-3336

I don't have his Chicago address, where he really resides, as he refuses to live in the governor's mansion, but I am sure this will get to him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Big Companies Quietly Pursue Research on Embryonic Stem Cells

A number of large companies including Becton, Dickinson & Co., Invitrogen Corp., Johnson & Johnson, General Electric Co. and the U.S.-based research operations of Swiss drug giant Novartis AG are supporting immoral embryonic stem cell research, rather than adult stem cell research, which is not only a morally ethical way in treating the ill and disabled, but has been proven scientifically to be more highly effective. Children of God for Life shares two interesting alerts on this -- including a story from the Wall Street Journal, one G.E. shareholder's letter, and G.E.'s response, which is ludicrous. We need more letters to G.E. and other large corporations to gently persuade and encourage them to do that which is morally correct.

A beautiful and touching video tribute to the Holy Father can be found here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Repeat of the Schiavo Death Averted

Terry's death is producing good fruit. Thank you, Lord.

O'Reilly schedule change

The O'Reilly Factor has bumped the 14-year-old abortion story for more pressing news tonight. The Factor plans to reschedule this story for sometime next week, they say. Will keep you posted.
NEWS ALERT From Jill Stanek

O'Reilly to discuss 14-year-old's abortion at Hope Clinic TONIGHT

Tonight, Bill O'Reilly will discuss the abortion I wrote about a few weeks ago of the 14-year-old girl whose mother was dragged out of Hope Clinic by police as she was begging to see her daughter. Angela Michael, an RN and sidewalk counselor at Hope, witnessed and filmed the event and will be on with Bill. Angela is also a leader in the Operation Save America team.A news article on the incident by Joyce Morrison can also be accessed at Illinois Leader. Please pray for Angela and that the truth about the atrocity of abortion will continue to get out through The O'Reilly Factor tonight.

~ Jill Stanek
Granite City's Abortion Mill "HOPE" Clinic

(Granite City, IL) Quincy/Adams County Right to Life Group is setting up a prayer vigil for April with the goal of shutting down the Granite City abortion mill. It is estimated that approximately 150 to 200 abortions per week take place there, many of them late term abortions. The mill is closed only on Sundays. Mondays is a "bag and tag" day when staff prepare fetal body parts for marketing purposes. On Saturdays 40-60 people pray at this mill, but very few are there Tuesday through Fridays.

Please pray for the success of this effort and if possible come join others in prayer for one day during April.

Here is a prayer, that you can you can say for the closing of that mill:

Loving Father, I know that all life is in your image and I thank you for the life you have given to me. I join with others to thank you for the many children who have been saved from abortion!

Merciful Father, we beg your forgiveness for the shedding of innocent blood of millions of unborn babies that die through abortion!

We pray for godly wisdom in our government & courts, and that our nation becomes a repentant nation.

We pray that God will strengthen & aid pro-life officials.

Gracious God, we ask that You would bring forth a profound spiritual awakening in Granite City, in Illinois & across our land.

May those who proclaim the Gospel never hesitate to defend life & speak up for all the victims of abortion!

Almighty God, we pray for the protection of all unborn children and their mothers. Protect them from the violence of abortion, especially those children who will die at Hope Clinic in Granite City. Give new hope to their parents, that they may turn away from the desperate act of abortion!

We pray for God's grace & healing for mothers who have had abortions! Only through the forgiveness of Your Son, will they know peace of mind & heart.

We pray that God's mercy will allow conversion to the abortionists & to each staff member at Hope Clinic.

We pray that God will sustain those counselors & prayer warriors who travel to Granite City's abortion mill to save mothers and their babies from the tragedy of abortion. Send Your Holy Spirit to bless them with perseverance in this effort. Amen.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Novena For the Election of the Next Holy Father, Saturday, April 9–Sunday, April 17, 2005

By Mark Miravalle

The Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, calls the People of God to be in fervent prayer, in imitation of the disciples in the Upper Room and in union with Mary, for the upcoming conclave of cardinals who will gather to elect the next pontiff. In the nine days which follow the funeral of our beloved Pope John Paul II (Friday, April 8) and which precede the beginning of the conclave (Monday, April 18), let us follow these directives in unified prayer for the election of the next Vicar of Christ.

Heavenly Father,
We, the People of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history at the beginning of the Third Millennium.

We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. Holy Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son:

1 Our Father 1 Hail Mary 1 Glory Be

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


VATICAN CITY, APR 6, 2005 (VIS) - According to a communiqué released by the Italian Civil Protection Department, and by the local and police authorities of the city of Rome, from Monday evening to Tuesday evening, one million people passed through St Peter's Basilica to pay their homage to the mortal remains of John Paul II. At least 600,000 people are expected today. Every hour between 15,000 and 18,000 faithful file in front of the Holy Father's body.


Today on Fox News, a young man stated that he stood in line for ten hours in order to view the Holy Father's body for ten seconds. Now that is true devotion. So many people from so many walks of life throughout the world loved our Holy Father and were drawn closer to the Lord through him. I am one of them. After a long absence from the Catholic faith, I returned in 1987, on fire for my faith due to the evangelization efforts and prayers of my fellow Catholics who were so deeply inspired by Pope John Paul II. He was indeed the father of our Catholic family here on earth.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Annunciation
The Feast of the Annunciation

Today is the feast of the Annunciation. On this day, we celebrate the actual Incarnation of Our Savior the Word made flesh in the womb of His mother, Mary. Our Holy Father had such a beautiful devotion to Our Mother Mary. I can envision him rejoicing with her and Jesus for all eternity. Have a beautiful day!
Pope John Paul II
Prayer for the Repose of the Soul of Pope John Paul II

Prayer for Pope John Paul II

Lord God, I thank you today for the life of Pope John Paul II,
And for the grace you have given the Church and the world
through his leadership.
He proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord of all,
He announced the Gospel of Life,
He promoted peace and freedom.
Now that you have called him home,
Give him eternal rest and peace,
and bring to him the promised salvation
that he so faithfully proclaimed
to every corner of the earth.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Divine Mercy
Divine Mercy Sunday

Since 2000, the second Sunday of Easter has also been known as Divine Mercy Sunday. Here are some extracts from a sermon given by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonisation of Sister Faustina Kowalska on 30 April 2000:
Today my joy is truly great in presenting the life and witness of Sr Faustina Kowalska to the whole Church as a gift of God for our time. By divine Providence, the life of this humble daughter of Poland was completely linked with the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind. In fact, it was between the First and Second World Wars that Christ entrusted his message of mercy to her. Those who remember, who were witnesses and participants in the events of those years and the horrible sufferings they caused for millions of people, know well how necessary was the message of mercy. [continue]

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope John Paul the Great

Our beloved Holy Father passed on to his eternal reward this Divine Mercy weekend. We prayed for the Lord to show him mercy and for Mother Mary to wrap him in her mantle of love and peace around him, and our prayers were answered. Pope John Paul II, age 84, was taken from this world and entered into eternal life at 9:37 a.m. today, Saturday, April 2nd, the day honoring Our Holy Mother, to whom he had consecrated his life.

He was known and loved by many due to his unconditional love for others and his great gift of evangelization. Following in Christ's footsteps, he spread the gospel message throughout the world, traveling more than any other Pope, in an apostolic act of love to reach out to the people. The best articles I have found on his life and on his papacy thus far include the following: The Pope: A Timeline , The Death of Pope John Paul II, Our Sunday Visitor's The Papacy of John Paul II, The Pontificate of Pope John Paul II, Holy Father, Pope John Paul II .

This site brings back many happy memories of Our Holy Father, including videos, photos, and his words. The ones that I will always remember are, "Be not afraid" and "John Paul II, he loves you."

He is not here. He is risen! Alleluia!

The Holy Father Dies

Our Beloved Pope John Paul II has passed on to his eternal reward. Praised be God for this great saint who shepherded us so faithfully! Thank you, Lord for the gift he was to all of us. Welcome him into your loving arms now, for all eternity! John Paul 2, we love you!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Millions of Faithful Worldwide Pray for the Holy Father as He Draws Closer to Death

Pope John Paul II was near death as dawn approached Saturday, his breathing shallow and his heart and kidneys failing. Millions of faithful around the world paid homage, many weeping as they knelt with bowed heads, others carrying candles in prayer.

Let us continue to lift him up in prayer as he endures this final trial.

Lord, thank You for the great gift Pope John Paul II . Hold him in Your arms and fill him with Your peace. Let him see the light of Your love as he prepares to join You for all eternity. Amen.
The Holy Father is Close to Death

- Pope John Paul is in a "very grave" condition today and appears close to death after suffering heart failure and shock, according to Vatican reports.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls reports that the Holy Father has received the "Holy Viaticum" -- communion reserved for those near death -- and has decided himself not to go to hospital for treatment.

Let us pray for our beloved John Paul II -- who has consecrated himself to Mother Mary. "Totus tous", Mother. Wrap him in the blanket of love that you wrapped Your Son, Jesus, in and fill his heart with your peace.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Friends Remember Schiavo Before Maelstrom

Friends Remember Late Terri Schiavo Before She Became a National Obsession

The Associated Press

Mar. 31, 2005 - President Bush spoke for "millions of Americans ... saddened by the death of Terri Schiavo," but only a few of them knew her as a woman not a cause or a political battleground, not a heartbreaking figure whose every facial tic was scrutinized for evidence of a conscious mind within.

The Terri Schiavo her friends and family remember had a marvelous laugh. She loved animals. She hungered for romance, and found herself swept up in a grand love affair.
And then, 15 years ago, it all stopped suddenly, tragically.

She was 26, thrust into a strange and terribly public fate for one who was so shy and quiet.
Her high school yearbook, from Archbishop Wood in Philadelphia's suburbs, lists only one activity library aide. The Rev. Chris Walsh, the school minister, said while several teachers remain from those days, only one remembers Terri, and not much about her.

Benjamin Shatz lived next door to her family's home in Huntingdon Valley. All he remembers is "a nice child, respectful, polite."

Her shyness may have had something to do with her weight. Just 5-foot-3, she weighed 200 pounds in high school. "She cried a lot when she went to get clothes," said her mother, Mary.
But her friend Diane Meyer remembers laughter, instead. "Among those who knew her, she was always vivacious. She had a laugh that made everyone laugh," she said.

Meyer's first memory of Terri Schindler was her own third-birthday party, at the Philadelphia Zoo. She remembers Terri as a chubby child with big brown eyes behind Coke-bottle glasses.
As the birthday girl, Diane was given a key to storybooks posted around the zoo. Turn the key, and a recorded voice would talk about the animals. Other children at the party wanted a key, too, and were jealous.

But not Terri. "She was just so excited," Meyer said.

She was thrilled to be among the animals. She adored dogs, and as she grew older she loved to ride horses. She wanted to be a veterinarian, but she was an uninspired student and never graduated from college.

Once, she came home crying at night, sure that she had run over a rabbit or squirrel. Her family calmed her down and convinced her no animal had died, but then her brother Bobby retrieved the dead bunny and threw it in the bushes, so she would never know.

Another time, the family's Labrador retriever Bucky collapsed, and Terri tried to give him mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation. He died as she held him.

The Schindlers lived in a four-bedroom colonial on Red Wing Lane. Terri's bedroom was purple and white; she would spend hours there, arranging her more than 100 stuffed animals, a faux menagerie. She also collected Precious Moments figurines, most of them gifts from her parents.
The Schindlers Mary and Robert (owner of an industrial equipment company) and their children, Theresa Marie, Bobby and Suzanne were a tight-knit family. Terri joined her mother for Mass on Saturdays, and all would gather round the table for roast beef on Sunday.

She was especially close to her mother. "When people say I was her best friend, I say no," said Meyer. "I was her closest friend. Her mother was her best friend."

Then Michael came along.

Meyer remembers the moment more than 20 years ago when an excited Terri called her at college. She had a date -- the first date this once overweight girl had ever had. Please, Terri begged, you have to come home and help me get ready.

Meyer could not make it home in time, but she was there the next day, to rehash Terri's spectacular night of romance. The boy, tall and handsome, was someone she met in sociology class at Bucks County Community College.

He kissed her, and her life was never the same.

She had never been kissed before. She had never been on a real date before. She had not gone to her senior prom, this girl who enjoyed Danielle Steel romances and devoured Tiger Beat magazine with friends, giggling over who was cutest Starsky or Hutch.

Michael and Terri were married a little more than a year after that first date, on Nov. 10, 1984, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. She wore Victorian white with a pink-and-white bouquet; it was a fairy-tale ceremony, even if John Denver did not reply to her letters beseeching him to perform at her wedding.

At first, the couple lived in the Schindlers' basement. In 1986, they moved into a condominium her parents owned in Florida, paying $400-a-month rent; the rest of the Schindlers also moved to the Sunshine State.

After high school, Terri lost more than 50 pounds by dieting. Now she dyed her hair blonde, wore a bikini. She liked to tan.

"Terri has always been beautiful from the inside out," Meyer said. "And then when she lost all the weight, she really became quite beautiful on the outside as well. What was inside she allowed to shine out at that point."

In Florida, Michael was hired as a restaurant manager, and Terri was an office worker for Prudential insurance. "Everybody liked her. She was hardworking," said Jackie Rhodes, a co-worker and pal who shopped and hung out at Bennigan's with her.

When a colleague ran a golf benefit for Angelus House, a home for the handicapped, Terri and Jackie volunteered. Rhodes joined Terri in her frequent visits to see her grandmother at a nursing home 30 miles away.

Rhodes said Terri wanted to have children and had stopped using birth control, but had not become pregnant. She had seen a doctor about it.

Michael's family says the couple seemed happy together, but Terri's friends and family disagree they say she was considering leaving a control freak who tried to keep her away from her loved ones, who had told her that if she ever got fat again, he would divorce her.

By this time, she weighed less than 120 pounds, and her ribs were visible.

"I eat, Mom. I eat," she told her concerned mother.

Her family doubts she had a real eating disorder. Doctors, though, think anorexia or something like it led to a potassium imbalance that caused her collapse in the hallway outside of her bedroom on Feb. 25, 1990.

Her heart stopped for 10 minutes. Her life changed forever.

Today millions of Americans are saddened by the death of Terri Schiavo. Laura and I extend our condolences to Terri Schiavo's families. I appreciate the example of grace and dignity they have displayed at a difficult time. I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life, where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others. The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak. In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in the favor of life.

--George W. Bush