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Controversial project has
SI TUATED ON THE highest point of
Guelph, Ont., the Basilica of Our Lady
Immaculate grounds will soon include a
space of solace for those who have lost
babies to miscarriage or abortion.
The Garden of Grace is a project of
Guelph and Area Right to Life, whose
offices are in a small house on the
church’s property. Project co-ordinator
Jakki Jeffs says the idea came while
talking to a friend about her abortion
and the grief it brought.
“It suddenly hit me. There’s nowhere
for that baby,” recalled Jeffs, who then
came up with the idea to have a “space
where men and women who have
lost babies through miscarriage and
abortion could come and grieve.”
The garden features two paths – a
shorter flagstone path that will have
a gazebo in the centre, and a longer
cement path. Both will feature benches
and a professionally planned and
planted garden. The official opening is
planned for May 31.
The shorter path will begin and
end with statues by sculptor Tim
Schmalz – “I Knew You in the Womb,”
inspired by his loss of a child through
miscarriage, and “I Will Not Forget
You,” which Jeffs says represents a
child he lost to abortion 20 years ago.
While only the paths and the places
for the benches and statues were put in
place by the fall of 2016, the Garden of
Grace has already garnered opposition. In
early October about 80 people attended
a rally at the foot of the hill on which the
basilica sits. That same weekend, among
other graphic items, vandals spray-painted slogans on the walkway.
“It’s a sacred space to me,” says
Jeffs, “which is why I don’t understand
the opposition. This is about our need
for the grief to be exposed, healed,
blessed . . . and understand it.”
Church creates garden to
help women remember
Two sculptures by Tim Schmalz (miniatures shown here) will be part of the Garden of Grace in Guelph, Ont.
Work on the garden started this past fall and the official opening is slated for May 31, 2017.
8 WWW.FAITHTODAY.CA / MARCH / APRIL 2017