MENASHA — “Life is Sacred” is the theme for the 2017-2018 Janssen Forum Luncheon Speaker Series, a good match for the November speaker, M.J. Clements, executive director of Mother and Unborn Baby Care (MUBC) and WomanKind Medical Clinic in Appleton. MUBC, located on Wisconsin Avenue, assists with unplanned pregnancies, provides baby items, offers classes and operates the clinic next door.
Clements, a member of St. Pius X Parish, Appleton, shared her personal faith story and discussed the mission of the organization during her luncheon presentation on Nov. 9.
The forum, named for the late Fr. Orville Janssen, is held the second Tuesday of each month at Mount Tabor Center. Mass is celebrated at 11:15 a.m. followed by lunch and the presentation. The forum runs September through April.
God brought her to the position nine years ago, said Clements, who was born and raised Catholic, but fell away from the faith for a period of time at around age 20. In 2008, her previous job was eliminated.
“I received three months of severance. At that time I didn’t even have an internet connection in my home,” she said. “I had to start over from scratch. I was very nervous.”
Clements interviewed for jobs, but did not receive any offers.
“I would think ‘I got this one,” but no, I didn’t get it,” she said. “I was really anxious. I knew that I needed to trust in God. I knew that he had a plan. That was the only thing that would settle me down. I always thought when I would retire I want to attend daily Mass. I thought, ‘Let’s do this now.’ I started attending daily Mass. I was still not in a good spot.”
One day, Fr. Tom Farrell, pastor at St. Pius X Parish at the time, gave a homily about the time and effort made to save for retirement. He said that people really needed to save for their eternal retirement, which stuck with Clements and helped put her at ease.
A friend soon called to ask about her interest in the executive director position. She was offered the job after meeting with the board president.
“I started the job the day my severance ended,” said Clements. “This is all God’s plan.”
Prior to the opening of the clinic in 2007, MUBC did not have medical personnel on staff and the number of patients had dropped because pregnancy tests were available at dollar stores. The addition of ultrasounds and education had a “tremendous impact” on the number of patients, said Clements. Education on adoption, abortion and parenting is provided. Other services at the clinic include sexually transmitted disease testing, Pap/pelvic and breast exams, and medical referrals.
“When a person comes in for a test, we just don’t run the test,” she said. “There is a lot of education that goes on. Pregnancy tests take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and sometimes longer.”
Women who attend classes earn “Mommy Money” through the “Earn While You Learn” program. They can purchase diapers, wipes, maternity and baby clothes, and other items. New mothers meet with a mentor.
“We walk along with the mothers and their babies until the child is 3 years old,” said Clements. “We try to keep them with the same mentor because they build a relationship.”
Clements offered statistics to show the continued effects of abortion, including that 3,000 babies are aborted a day in the U.S. and that six out of 10 women having an abortion already had a child. When she started, offers to work with the schools were denied. In 2013, MUBC was invited into area schools. A nurse teaches health classes. More students now seek services.
The organization is supported through donations.
“We have been blessed,” said Clements. “One of the ladies who takes care of our donations came to me with tears. ‘We don’t have any size 5 diapers.’ We can’t purchase those. In 2008, I was instructed to stop buying diapers. We were spending $900 a week. There is no way we could ever sustain that.” The next day, Clements received a call from a local food pantry.
The caller asked, “We have a pallet of diapers and we don’t need them, would you like them? The only problem is they are all size 5,” said Clements with a smile. “This is something that happens so often. It’s amazing.”
In addition to donations, MUBC, which began in 1983, raises funds through a golf outing, a bowling event and an annual banquet, which will feature Bishop David Ricken as the speaker in April of 2018.
“We cry, we pray and we trust in God,” said Clements. “We have had some of the women who have aborted their babies feel comfortable enough to come back to us. They are broken. We offer help, post abortion counseling … We will never abandon women.”
For more information about Mother and Unborn Baby Care or WomanKind Medical Clinic, visit fvmubc.org.
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau will be the speaker at the next Janssen Forum on Tuesday, Dec. 14. The $7 cost, includes lunch. To register, call (920) 722-8918.