….That baby boy grew up, was very handsome, extremely bright — and also a boatload of worries and problems. The boy made some very bad choices that led to some very bad results. He lived on the streets for months at a time. But his mother, the woman who adopted him, never quit on him. She never stopped believing in him; never stopped loving him; never stopped praying for him. And little by little, over time, he changed. He made better choices. He cleaned up his life. Today he’s a civil engineer leading an office of other engineers, with his own two children and a very beautiful and very Catholic wife from Colombia. Which simply proves that God may take his time, and he has some very odd twists in his story development, but he’s always good.

Now everything I’ve just said is actually a chapter in another, much larger tale that I’ll save for another time. It’s enough to say that this woman friend of mine, this adoptive mother, spent 49 years working in the prolife trenches, and hundreds of hours on prolife counseling and referral lines. She founded or cofounded 11 prolife clinics; ran a right to life league with 90,000 members; and volunteered in Special Olympics for 30 years. And on the side, she raised four kids, including a child with Down syndrome; taught full time; earned her master’s degree at night; and managed the anxieties of an exceptionally difficult husband. I know all this from close observation because that adopted boy I mentioned is my son, a man whom I love very deeply and take immense pride in; and I’ve shared a bedroom with his mother for the past 52 years.

She’s my friend, my very intimate friend Suann, sitting right there in the audience . . . and we’re married, in case that needed clearing up.

So what’s the point in sharing these personal details?

The lesson in my story is not that it’s “unique,” but just the opposite, because it’s not. The prolife movement survived half a century of malice and setbacks because it’s filled with hundreds of thousands of good people with other such stories; invisible, unrecorded stories of love and sacrifice that are more demanding than anything I could share. And we need to hear those stories, and honor them, because they teach us what it really means to be human….

The above comes from a talk given by Francis X. Maier at the Napa Institute conference July 30 in Napa, California. It was adapted into an Aug. 7 story in Catholic World Report.