The story of Mary Magdalene, a repentant sinner who went on to sainthood, is well known. Today she serves as inspiration for two life-affirming organizations: The Community of St. Mary Magdalene and The Magdalene Institute. Their founder, Mary Langlois, hopes that the spirituality of the Community of St. Mary Magdalene will help those who are attracted to its traditional Catholic practice of penance and reparation. The formula is simple: Ms. Langlois offers her sorrow over abortion—her own and others’—as a kind of penance, and offers her work against legalized abortion as a kind of reparation. She has found that this makes life tolerable, even joyful in light of the mercy she has received.
Ms. Langlois recounts an atheistic, irresolute, and hippy-like youth. At age 19, after learning that the man she was having an affair with was married, she ended the relationship only to find herself pregnant. Believing abortion to be a woman’s “right,” and not wanting to cause further hurt to the man’s family, she ended her pregnancy, not thinking about the hurt she was inflicting on her unborn child. Within days, she was anguished about the choice she had made, but managed to complete college and find decent work in the science field. She married a very supportive man, with whom she shared her ordeal, and raised six children.
Soon after her abortion, Ms. Langlois had found solace attending a nearby Catholic Church, an experience which led her to convert and beg for God’s forgiveness. For many years, she lived with a haunted conscience, keeping the dark memory of her abortion in her heart. After her children had reached adulthood, she finally told her story to her loving, supportive offspring.
Sorrow for terminating an innocent life remains a constant in her life, and Ms. Langlois knows she is not alone. In today’s world, abortion is legal in nearly all countries, pro-choice adherents consider it a “right,” and the practice has become so widespread that one recent compilation estimated the global abortion count to have reached one billion.
While some organizations clamor for abortion on demand—especially at the United Nations—many women who have had the procedure feel remorse and carry a heavy mental burden. Ms. Langlois has found comfort and solace in communion with St. Mary Magdalene, in a spirit of prayer, penance, and reparation for abortions throughout the world. Calling St. Mary Magdalene “my role model,” Ms. Langlois describes the Community as “a traditional Catholic approach to going forward in life as a forgiven post-abortive person, with Magdalene as the role model for post-abortive women.”
Ms. Langlois has also established The Magdalene Institute, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, which, according to its mission statement, is dedicated to “sharing high-quality research and scholarship on the topic of abortion.” The Institute, the statement goes on, is “committed to the highest standards of intellectual honesty and rigorous objective analysis, without bias, without fear.” Ms. Langlois stressed that her secular organization would deal with “solid facts and figures,” and promotes “logic-based advocacy.” She hopes to gather and disseminate scholarly research studies, articles, and other materials that scientifically analyze the causes and consequences of abortion and its impact. Research is welcomed from any reputable source—religious or not. The Institute has plans to start generating its own research soon.
At some point, Ms. Langlois, under the auspices of The Magdalene Institute, hopes to take her message to the United Nations to continue pro-life advocacy work she previously carried out under the auspices of another organization. She is especially interested in defending life before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. There, intense lobbying takes place as pro-life and anti-life NGOs (non-governmental organizations) hoping to influence UN documents and declarations seek to persuade delegates to use language that reflects their fundamental views. For instance, in pursuing “empowerment of women,” UN agencies and certain NGOs promote use of the overarching term “reproductive rights” as a subterfuge for including abortion. Pro-lifers recognize that the term itself doesn’t actually suppose any right to abortion, but they know its use by the UN will be interpreted as if it did.
Ms. Langlois has been promoting the pro-life cause for more than three decades. For nearly ten years, in addition to her work at the United Nations, she has given presentations and lectures in the United States, Latin America, and several African countries. With The Magdalene Institute, Ms. Langlois and fellow advocates will have even greater support for the defense of life. Her hope is that the Institute will serve as a counterweight to abortion-promoting organizations that are better known—and considerably better funded.
 ABORTION WORLD WIDE REPORT: 100 COUNTRIES, 1 CENTURY, 1 BILLION BABIES, Thomas W. Jacobson, M.A., and Wm. Robert Johnston, Ph.D. Family Research Council, Washington, D.C. 25 January 2017.