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On the Feast Day of Saint Pope John Paul II: We remember his devotion to motherhood

From on May 15, 2014:

"A Kenyan hospital specializing in maternal care that was co-founded by a Canadian doctor is being credited as the first health care facility in the world to be named after St. John Paul II.

On April 27, within an hour of Pope John Paul II’s canonization, Dr. Robert Walley and Bishop Anthony Ireri Mukobo of the Apostolic Vicariate of Isiolo announced that a local hospital will be named St. John Paul II Maternity Hospital.

Walley is the executive director of MaterCare International, a Canadian organization of Catholic health care professionals caring for mothers, their newborns and unborn babies.

In 2005, he received an e-mail from Bishop Luigi Locati, the then-bishop of Isiolo, who invited Walley to visit him.

“He asked me to tell him what to do about maternal mortality and suffering mothers,” said Walley. “From the obstetrical point of view... most of the deaths occur during the last three months of pregnancy, during labour and delivery or a week afterwards.”

Walley was interested, but said he couldn’t visit the bishop at that time because he was heading for Rwanda. But Locati wouldn’t take no for an answer. Walley says the bishop replied almost immediately: “If you want to go to Rwanda, you have to go through Nairobi (Kenya).” Isiolo is just north of Nairobi.

Just around the time Walley and Locati started planning for the hospital, Pope John Paul II had died, and the pair thought the hospital would be “a marvelous memorial” to the late pontiff.

“He gave his life for motherhood. Mary was his champion,” said Walley of John Paul II. He describes the pontiff as a father figure.

When he found out John Paul II was “on the fast track” to sainthood, Walley said they held off on their renaming plans until the right time."

MaterCare continues our mission to serve mothers and their children, and we are continually inspired by the words and wisdom given to us by this great Saint.

Happy feast day!

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