Skip to content
Home » News » Cura Personalis

Cura Personalis

By Isabelle Ohlhaut

Each year, approximately 140 million babies are born. Out of that 140 million, 56 million are born to unmarried or single mothers. Growing up pro-life, I have learned the importance of helping single expectant mothers and prompting them to choose life. You may be thinking to yourself, what about after the baby is born? What should a mother do then? As a pro-lifer, I believe it is part of my responsibility to express the value in the care of single mothers and their babies after birth. St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches a concept called cura personalis, which means “care for the whole person.” We can use this to help us better understand how to help single mothers physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

Once a baby is born, the thought of money, food, and care can be overwhelming for new parents. For single mothers, this thought can be twice as overwhelming. She must balance the care of her baby while balancing her work and money. As good Catholics, one thing we can do to help is donate to charities helping single mothers and their babies. These charities can provide free food, clothes, temporary shelter, and care for mothers struggling. Charity is one of the three main virtues taught in the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.”

Dealing with children on your own can cause a lot of stress, anxiety, and frustration. These things can make mothers become doubtful of themselves, and they may begin to lose hope. For many years, Catholics have been taught the importance of helping others, especially the poor and vulnerable. We can do so by showing our love and support for struggling moms, as well as by offering advice, help, and aid to them. By talking to these mothers, we can remind them that people are there for them and that they are not alone in tough times.

Often, people struggling—whether it be physically, mentally, or emotionally—begin to lose their faith in God. It is common for them to blame God for their struggles and not talk to Him in dark times. Single moms who are feeling alone may turn away from God or forget Him all together. One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” This verse tells us that even though we may feel alone, God is always with us, and we are never battling alone. We can use this to remind mothers to not lose their faith in God, and turn to Him when they feel alone. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.”

Growing up in a generation where pro-life Catholics are frowned upon comes with its challenges. We battle to defend the preborn, prompt women to choose life, and help struggling pregnant women. As we continue to support these women, we cannot forget about the ones suffering alone and how to help them after they have their babies. There are so many ways we can encourage these women and remind them we are here for them. A teaching from St. Ignatius of Loyola called cura personalis, meaning “care for the whole person,” has helped me understand how to help these women physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

Isabelle Ohlhaut won an honorable mention in the high school category of the Culture of Life Studies Program’s 2023 Pro-Life Essay Contest.