Creighton Model interns are first to train under diocesan program

GREENVILLE — Four women are in training to become the Diocese of Charleston’s next instructors and advocates for the Creighton Model FertilityCare System of natural family planning.
The Creighton Model is based on observing and charting biological markers that can help a couple determine when they are naturally fertile and infertile. The markers aid couples in family planning efforts, and can help women discover abnormalities in their health, according to the program’s official Web site, www.creightonmodel. com.
The program was developed at Creighton University School of Medicine and the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, both in Omaha, Neb.
The four interns in South Carolina are Laura Boronski, Kelli Ball, Amy Withers and Crystal Stein. All currently have the title of fertility care practitioner intern, according to Nancy McGrath, RN, who has been a certified practitioner for 12 years.
The women started training for the program in August 2007 and completed their most recent level of instruction in May. The Sessions were held at St. Francis Women’s Hospital in Green­ville and were taught by McGrath and faculty members from Omaha.
Kathy Schmugge, family life coordinator for the diocese, said the classes are an important step toward promoting greater knowledge of the Creigh ton Model.
“For the first time, we’ve got people going through our own in-house training,” Schmugge said. Previously, McGrath and other practitioners had to travel out of state for eight days of instruction.
“It’s gratifying to see the program taking off, and to see the full spectrum of healthy family life that comes with it,” McGrath said. “It’s amazing to see the fruits that come from a family that really understands the fullness of our sexuality in the way God intends it to be used.”
Boronski, a mother of seven who attends Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in North Myrtle Beach, said she has offered instruction about the Creighton method at parishes around Horry County, including Church of the Resurrection in Loris, St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach, and St. Michael Church in Garden City.
The interns work directly with clients and report back regularly to McGrath. After they have counseled 18 clients, they will be eligible to take final exams and become fully certified practitioners.
Advocates say the Creighton method is an especially effective natural planning system because the classes involve both spouses.
Couples go through an introductory session and then return for follow-ups with an instructor for a year. The first session is a PowerPoint presentation that describes the basics of the method, while the later sessions deal with the intricate charting that is required.
“When couples have to talk about that intimate part of their life in detail with each other, it can open them up to so many other important conversations,” McGrath said.
“I think it’s great that couples can learn this awesome skill, which will not only make their marriage better, but helps them respect their fertility,” Boronski said. “I love teaching people about this because it makes such perfect sense. It’s a great way for couples to get in good graces with God.”
Amy Withers said she knows the effectiveness of the Creighton Model because she and her husband have used it.
“I really enjoy working with people and helping people, and after using the system, I progressed to wanting to teach others about it,” she said.
Withers, a mother of two, is a member of St. John the Beloved Church in Summerville. She helps clients in the Charleston-Summerville area, and said she has also counseled a Charlotte-based client who first started learning about the method while she lived in Charleston.
“It’s a very fulfilling and enjoyable program, and it’s also challenging,” Withers said. “This has been enriching in my own personal life, and I hope it’s enriching for the couples.”

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