“The numbers really surprised us,” said Bonk. “We had hoped to remember 10 babies and were shocked when we receieved the names of 60 to remember with candles and prayer cards.”
Bonk is a new member of the Daughters of Isabella, O’Reilly Circle 218, at St. Boniface Church in Edwardsville. The group hopes to use this year’s success to make the Mass an annual occurrence.
More than 75 people attended the evening Mass, in addition to another 20 who comprise the St. Boniface Choir in which some were also remembering babies. “Father Goeckner gave a beautiful homily, with the lights from the 60 candles flickering in the background,” said Bonk, who organized the event and read the intentions during Mass. Her grandmother, Sue Nelson-Helms, read the reading and the D of I Circle, presented the gifts. Approximately 20 members of the Circle also participated by welcoming attendees, singing in the choir and distributing prayer cards and carnations to the families touched by miscarriage. Families were also invited to take the prayer card home with their baby’s name as a keepsake.
Kelly Bonk, 18, a member of St. Boniface Parish, is graduating May 27 from Edwardsville High School and plans to study pre-med at the University of Denver. New to the Daughters of Isabella, she was inspired to plan an event to serve the community. The D of I group welcomed Kelly's idea and agreed to sponsor the event. Her mother, Laurie, had lost a baby to miscarriage prior to Kelly's birth, and Kelly knew of other young mothers saddened by the recent loss of their babies.
“She hoped this event would bring peace to those affected,” said Laurie Bonk. “She was so inspired by the many emails she received asking for names to be included and telling her what an honor and a comfort it was to many to be included in this Mass.” Babies from the 1950s to the present were remembered at the Mass.
The Daughters of Isabella is a charitable organization of Catholic women with a membership of more than 60,000 women in the United States and Canada. Founded on the principles of its motto: unity, friendship, and charity, members come together as a sisterhood to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, bringing spiritual benefits to the members and contribute to the common good of humanity. The D of I O'Reilly Circle 218 welcomes members from all churches in Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Troy and Highland. Currently, membership is approaching 70 members.