By Celine Klosterman
FORT MADISON — After 30 years of working with various Right to Life groups, Jane Clarke has talked to many women who’ve had miscarriages or abortions.
“They always said it was so sad they had no place to go to grieve for their baby and bring flowers,” said the member of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison.
So she suggested to Knights of Columbus Council 739 a practice she’d seen elsewhere: creating a headstone to remember the unborn.
The council was receptive, sponsoring what’s now a memorial in Gethsemane Cemetery in Fort Madison. Father Troy Richmond, pastor of Holy Family Parish, will bless the stone during its dedication Saturday, Dec. 12, at 2:30 p.m.
“It gives a place for any mother or father who lost a child before birth to go if they have grief to deal with,” said Jim McInteer, grand knight. “It gives their grief legitimacy.”
The stone bears an image of Jesus cradling an infant next to words based on Isaiah 49:15-16: “I will never forget you; I have carved you upon the palms of my hands.” Beneath the image are the words “In Memory of The Unborn.”
The Knights of Columbus paid about $6,000 for the creation and installation of the memorial and an accompanying stone bench, McInteer said. All people — mothers, fathers, grandparents of all faiths — are welcome to visit.
“It’s a place for healing,” Clarke said.