Returning Catholic bolsters prayer warriors

Nov 9, 2023
On the closing vigil of the 40 Days for Life campaign, Nov. 4, on University Blvd., Ramona Treviño, a former Planned Parenthood employee shares her inspiring conversion story hoping to inspire the volunteers. (GLENDA MEEKINS);

ORLANDO | On the vigil closing of the 40 Days for Life campaign, Nov. 4, former Planned Parenthood employee, Ramona Treviño bolstered excitement and inspired 40 Days volunteers by sharing how their prayers helped transform her heart. Standing on a curb in front of Planned Parenthood near the University of Central Florida, a small crowd gathered to listen, amidst loud traffic, and the honking of horns.

As a manager of Planned Parenthood, Ramona Treviño justified her position because abortions did not take place on site. She thought she would somehow help prevent abortion. Pro-choice then, she thought – although abortion was not for her, she was not against that decision for someone else. “It was relativistic. I thought, that was her business, her body, and her choice,” she said. Treviño never contemplated what the women were choosing. Then God began to work on her heart.

Today she is director of outreach for 40 Days for Life, speaking at conferences, workshops, and 40 Days sites across the nation. She was offered the position nine days before Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Treviño worked for Planned Parenthood for three years starting in 2008. Her decision to leave happened gradually. She credits the prayers and fasting of the many prayer warriors praying for an end to abortion and their conviction to pray for abortion workers.

“There was also a moment of realization in reference to my culpability and involvement with abortion,” she said. It came through Catholic radio which she stumbled upon one day on her way home. That day the topic was abortion and contraception. “It set everything into motion,” she recalled. It started by affecting her view on contraception.

“Listening to Christian women sharing their abortion stories was a shock,” she said. She had no idea Christian women had abortions. She was heartbroken at how they were treated. Many acknowledged if there was someone there to talk to about other options, they might have changed their mind.

On the radio, she also heard about 40 Days for Life and their peaceful, prayerful presence on sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood, her Planned Parenthood. Already praying a rosary for Lent and going to confession “to get right with God”, one day she stepped out of her office to see one lone woman on the sidewalk. She had dealt with protesters before, but this woman smiled and waved. Treviño felt it was safe to approach her.

Volunteers for 40 Days for Life close their campaign vigil, Nov. 4, with the lighting of candles and prayers offered by Deacon Michael An. (GLENDA MEEKINS)

Reluctant, she asked the woman to pray for her explaining she wanted to leave her job and was struggling. It turned out, the woman was not even with 40 Days for Life. Eventually, the leader of the campaign arrived. Upon hearing her story, he asked if he could share it with volunteers and the national staff. She recalled thinking, “He respected my privacy and he saw me as a person and not as some trophy to be won.” He shared her story. “This whole pro-life community began to rally behind me, offering this outreach, networking and they said they would help find me another job,” she recalled.

It was her first connection to the pro-life movement, where she “experienced the body of Christ in a tangible way.” It all came to a head on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011. “That was the one defining moment where God really showed me it was time to take a leap of faith.” She knew God was asking her to trust Him. She left Planned Parenthood the following week. Three months later that center closed.

Having been a teenage mom herself, she is thankful she never considered abortion. And her shifted position on contraception invited the joy of three more children. Her granddaughter’s second birthday was the day Roe v. Wade was overturned. “That was a beautiful moment and a kiss from heaven to be able to see my granddaughter here today because of the life I chose when I was 16 and pregnant,” she said.

Hoping to give local volunteers that “shot in the arm” needed to continue the prayerful fight she said, “When we say yes to God and we show up out here, we have to trust God.”

Stephen Myler, 40 Days for Life coordinator, found Treviño’s testimony a great inspiration. He prays more people join him and his wife, Elaine, for the next campaign.

Bill Bogle, a parishioner from Sts. Peter and Paul in Winter Park, also appreciated her powerful story. “We have to combat these evil forces because we are the front line,” he shared. “We need to stick up to destroy the unsubstantiated fear that kids are a burden. They are a joy.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, November 8, 2023