Shortly before leaving Philadelphia in September, I made two special stops with the Black Madonna – one a very pleasant place, and the other a house of horrors.
First, I visited the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, also more commonly known as the Pink Sisters. These sisters are devoted to perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They were surprised and delighted by the visit of Our Lady of Czestochowa to their convent, if only for a few hours. I was happy to bring the icon to the sisters and ask for their prayers for the success of the peregrination, for as St. Paul says, “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).
The spirit of peace which pervaded the neighborhood surrounding the Pink Sisters contrasted sharply with the spirit of evil, despair and decay in the neighborhood surrounding Kermit Gosnell’s former abortion mill.
A small group of pro-lifers gathered outside the office in Philadelphia to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet with the pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa for the conversion of Kermit Gosnell, his family and former staff, those who sought “services” there and, perhaps even more importantly, those who were indifferent to the horrors that occurred there. While a person lives, there is an opportunity for repentance and conversion. Human Life International produces a prayer card with a copy of an icon of St. Michael the Archangel with St. Michael’s prayer on the back which we say for the conversion of abortionists. Kermit Gosnell remains unrepentant, but we continue to hope and pray for his salvation.
Many find it hard to pray for those who commit horrible atrocities such as murder and terrorism, but Our Lord calls us to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth and seek the conversion of all our brothers and sisters.
Kermit Gosnell was convicted on May 13, 2013 of three counts of first-degree murder for killing babies born alive in his abortion mill and one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, an immigrant from the war-torn nation of Bhutan.
In 2010, when Philadelphia police and federal agents raided Kermit Gosnell’s abortion mill on suspicion of drug trafficking, they found what Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams called “a house of horrors.” The first thing they noticed was the stench of cat feces and urine that pervaded the place. Blood was spattered all over the walls and floors. They found bags and bottles of fetal body parts throughout the building, including in the refrigerator where the abortion mill personnel kept their lunch. Shelves were lined with jars of severed feet. They found unsterilized instruments and disposable medical supplies that had been used repeatedly.
A Grand Jury report discussed “semi-conscious women waiting for abortions moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets.” His anesthesiologist was a teenager. His staff couldn’t say what medications or dosages had been given. None of them were trained nurses or medical personnel.
Most babies born after only 24 weeks can survive if they are given proper care. But Gosnell made sure that the babies died. He induced labor, delivered live babies and then killed them by what he called “snipping.” He cut their necks with scissors, severing their spinal cords. It is likely that hundreds of babies died this way during the over 30 years that Gosnell operated his abortion mill. According to the Grand Jury report, one baby “was breathing and moving when Gosnell severed his spine and put the body in a plastic shoebox for disposal.” He joked that one baby he killed was big enough to walk him to the bus stop. He sliced the neck of one baby and joked with his fifteen-year-old assistant that the baby who was still moving looked like a chicken with its head cut off.
The Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade did not make abortion any safer. It simply let the back alley doctor hang his shingle in the front. After pro-life Governor Bob Casey was succeeded by two pro-abortion governors – Republican Tom Ridge, a Catholic, and Democrat Ed Rendell – not a single abortion mill in the State of Pennsylvania was inspected for the next 15 years. Governor Ridge said that “inspections would be ‘putting up a barrier to women’ seeking abortions.” Planned Parenthood and other so-called “women’s health” groups also looked the other way when they heard about Gosnell’s atrocities and never contacted officials.
Liberal columnist Kirsten Powers scolded the mainstream media for paying very little attention to the story. Some media said it was just a local Philadelphia crime story, but others admitted they failed to cover the story due to pro-abortion bias.
Gosnell was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his crimes. More about the story of Kermit Gosnell is told in a 21 minute documentary called “3801 Lancaster.”
Kermit Gosnell is in prison, but he and his staff and supporters inflicted enormous spiritual damage to the City of Philadelphia, the nation and the world. In the Book of Ezekiel we read:
But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live? (Ezekiel 18, 21-23).
Please pray with Human Life International asking the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa and St. Michael the Archangel for the conversion of Kermit Gosnell and everyone who, by their actions and omissions, is associated with the Culture of Death. God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2,4).