Welcome to ava’s grace, a ministry of the Diocese of Fort Wayne—South Bend which offers spiritual, emotional and practical support to families who suffer miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.
Each year in the United States, about 25,000 babies are stillborn, and approximately the same number of babies die during the first year of life. About 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, resulting in the loss of more than half a million babies before 20 weeks gestation. Parents who experience the loss of a child at whatever stage of pregnancy or infancy are often overwhelmed by grief that is intense and isolating, and sometimes invalidated by others. We who believe that every human life is sacred from the moment of conception, need to surround these grieving parents with spiritual, emotional and practical support at a time when they might feel very much alone. Such support is a sign of our solidarity in the body of Christ and a manifestation of God’s abiding love which accompanies us in our suffering and invites us to unite it with His own.
ava’s grace seeks to bring the rich resources of our faith to bear on the heart-breaking loss of a child. Its patrons are Saints Zélie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Thérese of Lisieux, who lost three children in infancy and one in early childhood. This saintly couple, whose path to holiness passed by way of this painful cross, can inspire and intercede for other parents who have experienced a similar loss.
If you are here because you have lost a child before or after birth, your suffering saddens us deeply. We hope that you will find in ava’s grace the support, consolation, empathy and hope you will need for your journey through grief. On the page linked below, we have compiled a wealth of resources to help you navigate your way through this difficult time, ranging from information on Catholic funeral rites and burial services for miscarried, stillborn and newborn infants, to grief support groups and other services throughout the diocese as well as online, to many inspirational articles and blogposts from women and men who have journeyed through the loss of their littles ones with the support of their faith.
ava's grace also sponsors annual Memorial Masses for those who have lost a child during the month of October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in our nation as well as Respect Life month in our Church. We also host daylong retreats for couples who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, and are developing a “companion” outreach in which women, men and couples can be matched with others who have shared a similar loss.Please scroll down to the “Upcoming Events” section at the bottom of this page to find out more about we else have planned to provide support for you in the coming weeks and months.
May Mary, who suffered the death of her beloved Son, comfort you in your sorrow, and may Christ, the Divine Healer, bind up your broken heart.
Saints Zélie and Louis Martin, pray for us.
Director for Marriage & Family Ministry
Secretariat for Evangelization & Discipleship
For more information on the inspiration behind ava's grace, please read this Today's Catholic Article.
Icon of the family of Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérese of Lisieux, with all of their children, including the four little ones they lost.
Memorial Masses for Those Who Have Lost A Child
Tuesday, October 23rd, 7:00 p.m.
St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne
Celebrant: Fr. Andrew Budzinski
Thursday, October 25th, 7:00 p.m.
St. Thérese, Little Flower, South Bend
Celebrant: Fr. Bill Miscamble, CSC
To help spread the word, please see this poster, as well as our Facebook Event.
Daylong Retreat for Couples
Save the date of Saturday, March 23rd, 2019, for a daylong retreat at the Sacred Heart Parish Center in Notre Dame, IN. This retreat is geared for couples who have suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, but individuals are welcome as well. Check back on this page for further details and information about how to register.