Mary’s House: Helping Mothers, Saving Lives

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by L’Anne Sciba, Executive Director and Founder, Mary’s House 

“I hope they… [people of the Shreveport Diocese] felt respected, I hope they feel they had a voice when they spoke with me, that I listened to them.”

Bishop Michael G. Duca to The Shreveport Times, June 27, 2018

In October 2013, I had the idea of opening a pregnancy care center (PCC) and realized before I went any further, I should ask Bishop Duca if this was an acceptable idea. I made an appointment with him.

A few months later I met some people from another part of the country, mentioned how I met with the bishop, and they burst out laughing. They couldn’t believe that I could get an appointment at all! That is when I realized that Bishop Duca’s heart was truly open to meeting and knowing the people in his diocese.

At that initial meeting in 2013, he listened to my idea, looked at my “charts,” asked some questions, and then he offered what he had: an empty room at the Catholic Center. Even though, as he said later, “it wouldn’t cost me anything,” and we never did use the room, his encouragement gave me and others the message that a new pregnancy care center was welcome in the diocese.

But, I had to keep working my day job.

Bishop Michael Duca and L'Anne Sciba sign papers to move Mary's House into their current home on Margaret Place in Shreveport.

In early 2014, one of Bishop Duca’s Pro-Life Banquet team members called to invite me to speak about Mary’s House Pregnancy Care Center at the Pro-Life Banquet – I had a five minute limit! Considering Mary’s House had no donors, no money, and was only a vision to help young women find alternatives to abortion. How could five minutes do anything? Yet Bishop Duca’s idea seemed to be to let this idea of Mary’s House “run” and see where it would go.

At that Banquet, $80,000 was donated to Mary’s House by the attendees.

Later that year, Schumpert Hospital closed, and the diocese acquired a vacant yellow house in which the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word had lived. In December 2014, at our semi-annual meeting about the Mary’s House idea, the Bishop offered the vacant yellow house for Mary’s House to use. It turned out to be perfect! On November 20, 2015, Mary’s House Pregnancy Care Center opened at the Margaret Place location.

As of June 2018, over 500 young women have come to Mary’s House for pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, for someone to talk to, to gain access into the healthcare system and for information about other resources.

Bishop Duca, you are a true shepherd, pastoring and letting God work through you and the people in the Diocese of Shreveport. Thank you, Bishop Duca, from all the young moms, their babies, the volunteers and donors of Mary’s House!

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