Crisis maternity home to be built in Upstate

GREENVILLE—The Diocese of Charleston has unveiled plans to build a crisis maternity home in the Upstate.

Plans are at the very beginning stages, said Caroline Weisberg, director of Catholic Charities, but they envision a facility with room for 12 women plus their children.

The concept for St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope was brought to life by a group of families in Greenville. They spoke to Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who asked Catholic Charities to help with the planning.

The bishop said it was the necessary thing to do to further the cause of the pro-life mission.

“In spite of our pro-life efforts, there are thousands of women every year who choose abortion instead of life for their baby,” he said. “St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope will be a place where expectant mothers can live and gain life skills while they are pregnant and for some time after giving birth.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 7,187 abortions in South Carolina in 2008 — the most recent figures available. Diocesan officials said this is because there are so few alternatives.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers offer financial and emotional assistance, but it still leaves a gap for those who have nowhere to stay.

“It’s a difficult situation for young women who may find themselves very much alone,” the bishop said.

Weisberg noted that pro-life activists regularly pray the rosary outside abortion clinics, and they started wondering, what will we do if someone says, ‘OK, I won’t have an abortion. How are you going to help me?’

With a maternity home, they’ll be able to give them that help.

Kathy Schmugge, assistant director of the family life office, said the home will be more than a place to give birth, it will be a place of love.

“Women will be able to stay long enough to get on their feet … and provide for their child emotionally, physically and spiritually,” she said.

The diocese hopes to offer classes to help with parenting skills and other necessities such as cooking or budgeting.

Weisberg said they have found a piece of property, have an architectural committee in place, and have a fundraiser lined up for Feb. 24. Once the home is built, it will operate under Catholic Charities.

“We have a lot of planning to do,” she said. “The biggest thing was to say yes, we are going to do it. We have the bishop’s blessing, so now we just have to make it a reality.”