Mary Pat Jahner: 2012 Lumen Christi Award Finalist

Jahner

“I have watched up close as Mary Pat has poured out love and compassion on each and every woman and child that she has contact with. Her Catholic faith is her stronghold and guiding force.”

“Mary Pat ceaselessly gives her time and her love to help others wherever she goes. She brings her love of God to all who she encounters with compassion, grace, and humility.”

Mary Pat Jahner, Diocese of Fargo, ND

“One mother, one baby, one family at a time.” This is the simple mission of Mary Pat Jahner’s ministry at Saint Gianna’s Maternity Home. She believes in this mission so completely that she left her teaching career, gave up a steady income and set out to establish the shelter for women in tiny Warsaw, North Dakota. She started from the ground up, establishing a board of governors, renovating an abandoned school and coordinating volunteers. The St. Gianna’s Maternity Home opened in 2003, and has since become a place as full of love and faith as Jahner herself.

The road for women facing unplanned pregnancies can be a difficult one. Many go unsupported, and are left with feelings of helplessness, fear and isolation. As director of the Home, Jahner lives each day for these women. She offers them pregnancy and child-care resources, assists them in finding good doctors and connects them with adoption agencies. Most importantly, she offers them a safe haven that’s overflowing with love, family and faith. Each night, the women gather together in the chapel for prayer. They seek the guidance of Christ and learn, by example, how to live their faith in the world. In the gentle embrace of Jahner and the Lord, these women begin to recognize their own self worth, and with it, the responsibility they have to the lives inside of them.

In ten years, the Home’s mission to support “one mother, one baby” has grown to include 73 babies born. Jahner truly inspires hope in the women she touches through her ministry, and her reach extends well into the community, serving as a gentle reminder of the sanctity of human life.