It appears this is true. According to her Facebook public page, Abby Johnson is enrolled in a Creighton FertilityCare practitioner course! Join me in congratulating and praying for her learning process, and continuing your prayers for all NFP teachers/ practitioners out there. (And pray for more!) Read more about Practitioner Education Programs for the Pope Paul VI Institute here.
Check out this fantastic commercial/ video from St. Louis with Doctors inviting you to know about your body through NFP.
If this had been submitted for the NFP Video mini-contest, I would have voted for it. It’s short, sweet, uses well-chosen typeface for the graphics, and makes an invitation for people to learn more. They apparently chose really doctors, but the *only* criticism I have is that several of the doctors sound like they’re reading lines like robots. They could’ve used a little more coaching. Overall, well done, though. More dioceses and NFP promoters need to be putting out these types of media efforts!
On a related note, April at My Feminine Mind writes about the kind of doctors you won’t see in this video: Things Your Doctor May Have Not Told You About Your Birth Control.
About Creighton FertilityCare
The Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning (in Creighton terms, FertilityCare) was first researched and initiated as a method of family planning (to achieve and postpone pregnancy) in 1976, and fully described in 1980. It has since grown nationally and internationally, and many, certified practitioners (Creightonspeak for teachers) are certified medical consultants and NaProTechnology (medical application of the Creighton model) trained surgeons.
Gold Standard for Women’s Health*
*Let me be clear: charts from all non-calendar based natural methods of family planning (Northwest Family Services, CCL, Serena, Billings, Marquette, local models, etc.) can be used to identify and diagnose women’s wellness issues, given you have a trained medical professional, hopefully an OB/GYN, GP, Endocrinologist,etc. However, Creighton FertilityCare has a highly standardized way of training and supervising practitioners, as well as training medical consultants (practitioners with medical training who go through a special round of Creighton courses), which makes them an obvious choice for people with women’s wellness issues, subfertility or infertility issues. While many people have strong loyalties to a certain model of NFP (for or against a method), it’s generally known that Creighton is the go-to model for health, wellness and IVF alternatives.
Guess what? There’s no official Creighton web/ mobile application, aka app. WHAT!? Creighton is super scienc-y, but very underfunded for tech ventures (They still have a rather wily web site situation going on, although I appreciate they finally updated two of their, I think, six, sites). While a number of people have created workaround versions, and I vaguely recall that someone actually designed an as-yet unapproved Creighton app, THERE’S NO OFFICIAL APP.
Dear Dr. Hilgers
I had heard rumors about an official Creighton App, but a month or two ago decided to go straight to Dr. Hilgers, the Creighton founder. Needless to say, Hilgers wasn’t available, but I spoke with someone privy to the status of said app. The answer? It’s in the works, but seemingly in a holding pattern, without a tentative release day of months out, but that seems likely to be delayed. Please, please join me in petitioning Dr. Hilgers and his faithful staff to invest in speeding up the process by taking this little survey. I would be happy to summarize the results in an email to Pope Paul VI Institute (Home of Creighton), but I need your input. Once you put your vote in, PLEASE SHARE THIS so we can get as much accuracy in the communicating the demand for this product. Additionally, if you know of any individuals or foundations who would fund such a project, please leave your or their information in the combox. [Note: for a few people the survey doesn’t show up in their browser. Here is a direct link to the survey.] Thank you!
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool. Update: There are a couple good blog posts out there reviewing NFP Apps. Here’s one, to start:
In May I blogged about a video contest about an NFP Video Contest held by Goodness Reigns, a new media non-profit out of Kentucky. I was asked to help judge along with some very distinguished brothers and sisters in NFP, family life, and new media apostolates, and the results are in! Check them out, and make sure you vote for your favorite in the People’s Choice Contest! And the winners are….
First Place: Natural Family Planning Explained by Leah Chen
Second Place: “The Whole Story” by Christina Dirkes of San Diego, California
Third Place: “NFP Can” by Mike Day of Wesley Chapel, Florida
Fourth Place: “True Love and NFP” by Seth Kiser and Theresa Krupka of Mauldin, South Carolina
Fifth Place: “A Conversation With NFP Pioneers” by Beth Dunn of Crescent Springs, Kentucky
Sixth Place: “Taking Back the Power” by Myra Spiller of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Seventh Place: “NFP Flash Mob” by Mary Ashley Burton of Lexington, KY
Eighth Place: “A Fresh(Man) Take on NFP” by Julianna Hoffman & Joseph Bermingham of Cincinnati, OH
Happy NFP Awareness Week!
[The following appears in this week’s Georgia Bulletin, and is reposted here with permission.]
by SUZANE HAUGH, Special To The Bulletin Published: July 19, 2012 ATLANTA—According to the Guttmacher Institute, statistics released earlier this year suggest that close to 90 percent of women of reproductive age—and 87 percent of Catholic women—use a method of contraception other than Natural Family Planning. While the percentages may differ in other studies, it is clear that contraceptive use is prevalent even among Catholics, making it harder to imagine how to “think outside the pill,” a phrase coined by Jessica Smith, an NFP blogger who has worked with the Edith Stein Foundation. As a former contracepting college student and now a “revert” to the Catholic faith, she is passionate in her mission to enlarge hearts and minds to see the truth of the church’s teachings in the area of human sexuality. “NFP for the Catholic person is part of the wider spiritual road to heaven [as opposed to contraception], but we don’t always have to start there because not everyone is there,” she said. People come to NFP by many routes—if not for spiritual reasons, then maybe because it is ecological and relationship-building. For National NFP Awareness Week, her insights have been compiled in the following list of incentives for considering NFP.
1. Build Trust in God
How deeply do you trust God with your life? “I wanted to be loved in a certain way,” Smith recalled when soul searching in her 20’s. Even though she had been wounded in the past, her thirst for a deeper love intuitively allowed her to trust God. “Other people find that harder; they have to seek it. But don’t be afraid to be afraid. … God provides you with the guidance needed.” Her own story illustrates this. Shortly after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend and taking a break from the pill, she received an invitation to a prestigious conference in England where she was seated next to a seminarian in a talk about birth control. She recalled telling him, “You don’t want to know what I think.” But he simply listened to her story, and the next day he invited her to Mass, where confession was available. “God had planted a seed and that day was the beginning of a new way of life.” She instructs that the first step forward is not necessarily delving into books and websites on human sexuality. “It starts with the sacraments and the interior life. … You may have a great booklist, but if you’re not frequenting the sacraments—all of them—and praying, then it’s hard to be open to anything. You need to make an effort to be constantly in grace.”
2. Educate Yourself
Understanding your faith and church teachings cannot be compartmentalized to Sunday homilies; everyone must become active learners. Today there are many places to look for information about NFP and the spiritual and physical harm caused by artificial contraception to women, men and families. At the cusp of Smith’s reversion was providentially meeting well-formed Catholics and inevitably compiling an impressive reading list. Today some of Smith’s favorite websites and resources on the matter are: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website on NFP: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural- family-planning Our Sunday Visitor on NFP Know-How: www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/9650/NFP-KnowHow.aspx Living the Sacrament: A Catholic NFP Community http://livingthesacrament.com Natural Family Planning: Real Love. Real Natural. (Smith’s blog) www.nfpworksblog.com
3. Understand your body is good & made for good
Smith likes to remind young women, particularly, of the beauty and goodness of their bodies and how they are meant for good and beautiful things, “and most of all you deserve to go to heaven.” “You should know yourself—your own heart and own soul—and be rooted in reality,” she advised. “Romance is beautiful and awesome, but in order to be the powerful person you are, the powerful woman you are, then you need to know yourself and your own body. This is why fertility awareness is so beautiful.” Understanding the science of your body empowers you to better treat issues that may surface. “How many people complain about their health or a menstrual situation and their doctor puts them on the pill as a panacea that doesn’t help at all?” Regarding relationships, Smith cautions women that being on artificial contraception “opens you up to being used because it makes you constantly available to give your dignity away to someone who is not necessarily going to stick around to marry you.” She points out that some people describe the church’s “M.O.”—or modus operandi, way of thinking—as “whatever is fun, you can’t do it.” “But the church’s M.O. is really ‘you are good and true and beautiful and made in the image and likeness of God. So how do you live that gift?’” “It’s not about oppression; it’s not about patriarchy. It’s about living the gift in a way that makes us happy—truly happy—like the happiness of people portrayed in romantic movies but much more profound.” The NFP lifestyle honors a woman’s body and leads to a sense of greater contentment and self-respect.
4. Men: be a hero–honor women
“Esto Vir!—Be a man!” That is one of her favorite phrases of St. Josemaria Escriva, and it is one that Smith likes to bring up when approaching the topic of sexuality with men. “I really like it because NFP is about being a man who honors a woman’s dignity, her body and her soul.” And that’s what chastity is all about—it’s not about what you won’t do, but more about doing something well and purely. “But men have to understand the dignity of their own bodies before they enter into that journey. So often we perceive men who don’t live chastely as jerks, or who use women, but often they are wounded as well.” Today’s society perpetuates myths that “cohabitation is good, porn is good, contraception is good, masturbation is good.” But Smith likes to draw attention to purity speaker Jason Evert, who has a number of resources on his site www.chastity.com to address these issues. “Evert invites men to be heroes, to be men … to man up,” she explained, and continued, “They have been given a mission. We need to affirm that.” Whether it is a mission of marriage to the church as clergy or united with a wife in marriage helping to raise children, “it is an awesome thing that needs to be cherished.” “They have the duty to honor their wives and work alongside their wives,” Smith added. “I think that resonates with men and they rise to the challenge when ministered to by strong peers.” It takes virtue, or “spiritual muscle memory just like your body has muscle memory.” Virtue requires repetition and experience. “NFP is one of many ways to increase your spiritual muscle memory.”
5. Be Open
Once Smith experienced her reversion and gained a deeper understanding of her faith she began to notice something in her newfound position with NFP ministry—silence. “Quickly I realized that it was one of the central aspects of the church and one of the biggest destroyers of unity and the biggest issue of dissent in the church. I realized that if we were ever going to have unity in the church on any level we needed to start with the family and clergy on this issue.” Why is agreement so elusive? “Objectively, NFP is not elusive once you start studying and understanding it; it’s very tangible and beautiful and dazzling, but because we have all failed in some way or another to talk about it for 40 years it makes it harder for us to do it now.” “Essentially, silence makes it elusive. People (very often clergy) are intimidated by it, by the statistics that 80-90 percent of Catholics contracept. And they know that 80-90 percent of those looking at them in the pews every Sunday contracept. They are afraid to scare people away. There’s just a lot of fear, and that fear unfortunately controls their pastoral approach to talking about it.” People come to the issue of family planning with different obstacles that must be compassionately addressed. “It really is an elephant that nobody is addressing. Once we address it, it will be easier to promote family unity and women’s dignity. But it has to be wisely addressed in a positively encouraging way.”
6. Be courageous–and a courteous sign of contradiction
Going against the mainstream and promoting an approach to human sexuality that involves sacrifice and the pursuit of wholeness and virtue is a tough road to travel. “Being a sign of contradiction starts with the little and particular, and fans out to the universal,” Smith encouraged. “We can’t be martyrs for the church if we can’t do little things like put up an NFP poster in our parish and not worry about what people say.” She asked that people not be afraid but be ready to inspire. “The beauty of the world is very shallow and fragmented, but the beauty that our Lord has to offer through the church is whole, it’s unified, it’s beautiful, it’s very exciting. But if we get stuck up in that Urban Outfitters’ glitter that is modern society then we can’t see the ordinary beauty of that thing that is the church.” She quoted Blessed John Henry Newman: “Nothing is so extraordinary as an ordinary life.” “And we have to fall in love with life—but not be romantic with life—as well.” She challenged philanthropists and those charged with new evangelization to take on the cause of NFP and family apostolates. “It will be what will change and is changing the face of this country and the world. We have to be courageous enough to be signs of contradiction.” Suzanne Haugh is the director of Goodness Reigns, an apostolate designed to call upon youth and young adults to use media and art to explore and share the Catholic faith. It held its first short-film contest in conjunction with World Youth Day 2011, and attracted entries from around the world. Winners traveled to Madrid and presented their entries during a WYD Film Festival. Goodness Reigns recently sponsored a video competition entitled “Natural Family Planning: The Better Way.” For more information, go to www.goodnessreigns.com.
Happy Grandparents’ Day, Jesus! Yup, it’s the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, an oft-overlooked but incredibly lovely feast day. It is well-known to people who struggle with infertility because tradition tells us Anne and Joachim were advanced in age when blessed with Mary, but it is a high point of NFP Awareness Week as well–a feast day for all. As John Paul II wrote, “The destiny of humanity passes through the family.” This is quite literally true in the case of Anne and Joachim, and is true on several levels for all of us as well. By the way, if you’re sub fertile or infertile, and if you don’t already know, please check out FertilityCare & NaProTechnology.