This article, by the late, great Joseph Wall is one of our annual posts at Christmastime. It first appeared in the Nov/Dec 1996 issue of the American Life League’s Celebrate Life Magazine. The Northeast Women’s Center was at that time located at 9600 Roosevelt Blvd. Through the efforts of the NE Philadelphia Pro-Life Coalition, they lost their lease and were forced to move to another location on Roosevelt Boulevard at Comly Road, a few miles up the road. It is now a Planned Parenthood facility and pro-life activists remain ever vigilant in their constant witness outside this killing center.
WHADDAYA TALKING ABOUT? Angels have red hair? What kind of nonsense is this? Explain yourself?
Patience, dear reader. There is logic here. There is also a charming (and true) little tale behind it.
There was, and alas still is, in our city an abortion clinic, the Northeast Women’s Center. Since its opening in the mid-1970’s it has been picketed regularly by neighborhood pro-life people. We have conducted prayer vigils, sidewalk counseling and, in later years, occasional rescues.
One of our activities was a visit to the clinic on Christmas morning. Incidentally, the clinic closed for only two holidays during the year – Christmas and Yom Kippur! The purpose of our pilgrimage on Christmas day was to offer a kind of present to all the little ones who had died there during the preceding year. Our present was a simple one: A few of us would kneel on the sidewalk outside the front door of the multipurpose building housing the abortion clinic. We would pray the Rosary for God’s precious infants who had been put to death there since the previous Christmas. Then we would place a present; a doll, or a teddy bear in holiday wrappings, inside the vestibule of the building, in front of the elevator to the third floor – the clinic floor.
When the clinic personnel arrived the next morning, they would see this present with its gift tag and would know that at least some people cared for the little babies they had killed. More important, we hoped and believed that the babies themselves would know that there are those who loved them enough to help them celebrate on earth what they were celebrating in heaven; the birthday of the baby Jesus.
And so it was that on a cold, rainy Christmas morning a dozen years ago, a handful of pro-lifers; Stephanie Morello, Kathy Long, Susan Silcox, Patricia Dowling and myself, made our way to the Northeast Women’s Center abortion clinic. We knelt in prayer, saying the Holy Rosary for the 4,000 babies whose lives were so abruptly terminated there since the last Christmas. Having completed our prayers, we went to the front door with the intention of opening it and placing our gift for the unborn babies inside, out of the rain; alas, it was locked! All the other doors to the building were locked as well. What to do? We did not want to leave our gift on the walkway outside, where it would become sodden with rain; a soggy mess would be a poor gift for these little ones. And it would be the only gift they would ever get.
As we stood there trying to figure out what to do, a young man with bright red hair came up the walk from the parking lot. When he saw us, he asked what our problem was. We explained our dilemma. “Oh”, he said, “I have keys to the door.” With that, he proceeded to unlock the door and let us into the vestibule. We laid the Christmas present for our pre-born brothers and sisters in front of the elevator and turned to thank him. That quickly, he had vanished. We never saw him again.
Now you, dear reader, can believe what you wish about this; that it was happenstance, simply a coincidence, whatever. Personally, I believe that the Good Lord, seeing our confusion, sent one of His red-haired angels to bail us out.
Incidentally, this is not the only case of a red-haired angel going about the world doing the Lord’s work. I know of another one…but, then, that’s another story!