“Women’s Care Center is a welcoming environment where those in need of life-affirming support can come and be served in truth and charity.” Bishop Daniel Jenky, Diocese of Peoria
Members, auxiliary, family, and friends of the Chicago Region spent a fun-filled afternoon at the Wilmette Harbor Club working on a service project for the Women’s Care Center (WCC)- Peoria. We completed more than 300 new infant blankets, filled 200 gift bags for new mothers, and collected a veritable mountain of diapers. Due to the sensitive nature of the WCC—a 100 percent pro-life resource center for pregnant women and their families—we are not able to serve in-person, but we are still able to make assist them, serving from a distance.
The WCC-Peoria was destroyed by an arsonist in 2021, and temporary space was immediately secured to continue their mission. Through the generosity of donors and the providence of God, they were able to purchase an empty bank building to retrofit. The location was perfect (near a Planned Parenthood facility); the price was right, the contract was signed, and extensive renovations began.
A year ago, the Chicago Region submitted a grant application to help WCC-Peoria with this enormous undertaking. Not only was the building itself destroyed, but everything in it; not even a paper clip was salvageable. The Federal Association Grants Committee, along with the board of directors, generously awarded them a $25,000 grant. The grand opening and blessing of the facility late last summer by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria was a joyous occasion, celebrating the culmination of the work, support, and prayers of many people and organizations.
Christine Dennis, co-founder and vice-president of the WCC-Peoria, was our special guest. She recalled how Janet Smith, a young professor at the University of Notre Dame, opened the very first Women’s Care Center in 1984. Located in a tiny house with barely visible signage, it served 300 women in its first year of operation. The WCC-Peoria, founded in 2013 with the assistance of the late Thomas Zimmerman, KM, of the Chicago Region, is currently experiencing a significant increase in the number of women they serve. Due to the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision last year and the designation of Illinois as an “abortion destination” state, more women are coming to Illinois to abort their babies. But many change their minds and find their way to the WCC.
Pregnant women, or those who think they might be pregnant, are met with unconditional love the minute they walk through the doors. Each woman is offered counseling and assistance before and after the birth of her child, for as long as she needs it. There is no expiration date on the services offered, and all are at no cost to the mother. As a result of the immediate care and compassion experienced by these women, an astonishing 92 percent of the women seen choose life for their unborn child. And no abortions or abortion referrals are ever provided.
The Chicago Region is proud to be a part of their pro-life mission in any way we are able.