Margaret’s Story

One winter Sunday, in our church bulletin there was a notice: If you feel guilty or depressed about an abortion you have had or encouraged someone to have, help is available at Second Chance Ministry. You can talk to Mrs. Angelina Steenstra or Father Vince Heffernan at 647-350-3755 Ext. 369.

I clutched that bulletin, my heart cramped, I couldn’t breathe. It was amazing how reading those words caused a strong physical reaction in my body. Yes, I was suffering from depression but could that secret, the abortion from 23 years ago, be such a contributing factor? No other counselling I had attended over the past years had focused on that topic. Why was such a topic in a church bulletin?

It took me two weeks to call, and that’s the best thing I have ever done.

In a Christian environment with two caring facilitators under the umbrella of the Catholic Church, I could listen to other women journeying through similar turmoil. I could safely reveal my secret.

Thus began my journey of being able to admit to having had an abortion, to finally acknowledging my child, to owning up to the responsibility of what I had done, and to learn that many factors from my childhood and society had contributed to the course of my actions. The feelings I had squashed, I now could feel; and now I could love Marissa.

What a relief to confess this burden and leave it at Jesus’ feet. Yes, Jesus forgives me but first I had to face up to what I had done and feel the pain. I must now learn to forgive myself. God is showing me that all along I was looking for love in all the wrong places and that I had learned quite young not to trust anyone. That lack of trust has cost me so much. I am learning to trust God. I pray that I will be able to discern and to turn away from the wily deceits of the devil and diligently keep on the path of God’s love.

Thank you, Jesus for dying on the cross for my sins. Only through your great love and sacrifice am I able to receive forgiveness and the promise of eternal life.

I am thankful for the ongoing guidance of Father Heffernan and Mrs. Steenstra. Through their faith and strong calling to offer this support group, to provide a safe and strictly confidential environment, as well as one-on-one sessions, I am able to work through my fears. I have been offered hope. My knowledge of and my love for the Catholic Church have blossomed too.

I am thankful also for the courageous people who have gone to Second Chance Ministry before me and have made up my support group. Some attended for a short while. Many returned when issues resurfaced or they needed comfort within the group. God is with us and we are no longer alone in our despair. He has given us a light in our darkness. We are all learning to walk towards that light.

I pray for God’s guidance and blessing for this mission and people involved. I believe the Lord is planting seeds, providing nourishment and strength, with a wonderful outcome in mind for this world.

So the purpose of this letter is to make you aware that because of this ministry and its notice in the local church bulletin, I received my second chance to begin the process of making my life right with God.

For more information:


Second Chance Ministry
61 Fairfax Crescent
Suite 369
Toronto, Ontario
M1L 1Z7


Fr. Vince Heffernan sfm 647-350-3755 Ext. 369
Angelina Steenstra 647-330-9749