Elizabeth Ministry

This respect life ministry is an outreach to women in special times of womanhood. Volunteers reach out with cards, calls, and visits to expectant mothers, new mothers, families experiencing infertility, adoption, miscarriage, child crisis, infant loss, grandparent issues... Elizabeth Ministers do not aim to be counselors. We are here to listen and pray. We are women willing to share our presence, stories, experiences, and prayer in the hope that it might support, encourage, and console. Non-visiting ministers craft gift items for gift bags or support through EM's Prayer Vine*. There are no scheduled meetings, just occasional gatherings. Our hope is that every STM women would be a part of Elizabeth Ministry in some way be it as a visitor, Prayer Vine member or behind the scenes.

Commitment: Flexible commitment based on minister's schedule personal experience, and participation level chosen.

How does this unique ministry work?
Parish Women volunteer to become "visit" ministers in the areas they have experienced. For example, a woman who has twins would visit someone expecting twins. Support is offered in the form of visits, phone calls, cards, and special blessings (ex. Pregnancy Blessing). A special "Gift and Resource Kit" is presented to the women being visited on behalf of St. Thomas More to show the support and care of our faith community during this time. These kits include special items depending on the situation.

Is extensive training needed to become an Elizabeth Minister?

No. The majority of the training needed to become an Elizabeth Minister is personal experience. Elizabeth Ministers are not counselors or experts. We are simply women willing to share our time and experiences. An initial training session is all that is required. A Visitor's Manual is available, as well, to help guide you.

Does Elizabeth Ministry require a lot of time? Again, no. An Elizabeth Minister is able to adjust time requirements to fit her schedule and to fit the needs of those to whom she is ministering. Brief visits, phone calls and cards provide a tremendous amount of support with a minimal amount of time.

What are the Elizabeth Ministry areas of involvement? Elizabeth Ministry reaches out in times of celebration and in times of sorrow: Pregnancy - Birth - Miscarriage - Infertility - Adoption - Infant/Child Loss or Crisis - Grandparent Issues

Are there ways to help that do not involve visits? You bet! Many behind-the-scenes volunteers are needed to help! Volunteers are needed to sew/knit baby blankets/bibs, knit or crochet baby booties, prepare gift and resource kits, pray for families facing crisis situations, make and deliver occasional meals, and create various hand-made cards. We also have a Prayer Vine* that is active daily and receives requests regularly for prayer for special circumstances. Prayer Vine members are contacted via email or by phone.

Miscarriage, Infant and Child Loss Remembrance Tree*

Elizabeth Ministry displays a Remembrance Tree between Christmas and the Baptism of our Lord each year in the Gathering Area. The names of over 40 STM babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death each has his/her own snowflake on this tree symbolizing the uniqueness of these individual saints now in the presence of God. The families who make known these losses are also given a crocheted snowflake for their home trees as a memorial keepsake.

A Mother's Prayer

Oh give me patience when tiny hands tug at me with small demands.

And give me gentle and smiling eyes and keep my lips from sharp replies.

And let not fatigue, confusion or noise keep me from sharing my child's newfound joys.

And most of all, help me to look above, when at times I think I have no love.

For you have promised to bear my load as these precious lives unfold.

Experiencing a Miscarriage

If you experience a miscarriage or if you find out from your doctor that your unborn baby has died and that you will experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, please call. Elizabeth Ministry is here for you. We can provide you with resources, prayer support, and most especially, with companionship during this very difficult time. We have wonderful women, right here at our parish, who have been through similar hurts and are here to help you prepare for what you will experience and offer our support and prayers.

Many hospitals today do a much better job at helping parents create memories of the babies they have lost and, therefore, some of those hurts are now lessened. However, not all are equally equipped. We are here to help with all the little details that can seem overwhelming at such a difficult time.

It is surprising to learn that many doctors send women home to experience their miscarriage in their own home. Elizabeth Ministries has resources available to help ensure that your unborn baby receives as much dignity as possible in the process. "Miscarriage Delivery Aids" as well as Burial Vessels of all sizes are available. The Miscarriage Delivery Aids are sized to fit in your purse in the event that you experience your miscarriage while you are somewhere away from your home.

The Burial Vessels are exactly that. They are vessels in which your unborn child can be buried. Yes, St. Thomas More does funerals for miscarriages and stillbirths, but one does need to be prepared at the hospital to claim your baby's body. Our Catholic hospitals seem to be aware of the need to treat our unborn babies with proper respect and burial. However, not all secular hospitals see the unborn baby as a person but rather as medical waste to simply dispose of. Please know that it is perfectly acceptable to request your baby's body. In fact, you may need to be persistent and firm in your request.

We are here to help you plan a funeral and assist in the burial of your precious little one.

For those moms and dads who do not have a gravesite to visit in remembrance of their babies, we can help them make a suitable memorial and STM has an annual Remembrance Tree**. Please do not hesitate to call or email if you should experience a miscarriage or if you have experienced a previous miscarriage.

Meals for Families Facing Crisis Situations

These situations include moms on bed-rest, families with a baby in intensive care, etc.

If you are willing to make and deliver a meal or if you know of someone who would benefit from receiving meals, please call or email the Elizabeth Ministry Coordinator.

Elizabeth Ministry International was founded here in the Fox Valley and there are now over 700 chapters worldwide. Bishop Morneau is EM's Spiritual advisor. Elizabeth Ministry is based on the premise that if we reverence every child as sacred, we will cherish that child into adulthood and old age.

More information may be found on EMI's website referenced below.

Elizabeth Ministry International Headquarter

and

Elizabeth Ministry Gift and Resource Center

(Formerly St. Mary's Convent)

120 W. 8th Street, Kaukauna, Wisconsin 54130

Store Hours: Monday & Wednesday 12:00-8:00 Tuesday & Thursday 9:00-4:00 Friday 9:00-12:00 CST

The gift shop is filled with beautiful gifts and resources for women and families. There are, of course, a great number of birth and loss items available. You will also find prayer resources as well as gifts for children, teens and grandparents.

Phone: (920) 766-9380

Fax: (920) 766-1221

Website: www.ElizabethMinistry.com

St. Thomas More Parish Contact:

Anna Donnermeyer  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Spiritual Adoption

 

celebrate life

We will begin our parish's annual Spiritual Adoption program again this spring.  Until then, you are invited to pray daily for all life - those unborn and those that are vulnerable in any way.  Thank you!