||Bishop Robert C. Morlino blesses new ultrasound equipment at the Stateline Pregnancy Clinic in Beloit. Catholic Herald photo/Jo Boyce
BELOIT -- Bishop Robert C. Morlino traveled to Beloit on Saturday, Aug. 25, to confer a blessing on the Stateline Pregnancy Clinic (SPC), its staff and volunteers, in special recognition of their recent acquisition of an important piece of new equipment used in their work.
The SPC has provided a wide range of free and confidential services to the stateline area teens and young women for 27 years, among them counseling for pre-natal medical care, parenting, adoption referral, intervention, community support groups and referrals, maternity care, and abstinence education. Additionally, emotional and spiritual support services are provided for post-abortion needs.
New ultrasound equipment
The primary focus of the day was on the ultrasound service provided by SPC since 2001, when they acquired a refurbished unit in service ever since.
It became apparent early this year that this equipment was aging and in need of replacement. Unfortunately, new equipment was beyond the SPC due to cost.
An interview with Sr. Rosalia Bauer, FSPA, underscored the importance of the ultrasound service to the clinic’s operation.
Sister Rosalia has lived at St. Jude Parish in Beloit for 19 years, where she does volunteer work and in the Beloit community, notably as a prominent advocate in the stateline area for the rights of the unborn.
Sister Rosalia says the ultrasound service is an important one not only for diagnostic healthcare, but from an educational standpoint for women. It affords them direct evidence of the changes happening within their bodies and those of their unborn children.
With the instrument’s sensitive imaging and sound capability, their unseen and unborn child can make its presence known to them within a few weeks of conception, with dramatic effect by virtue of its distinctive high-rate heartbeat.
Bishop visits clinic
About 40 people met at the SPC August 25 to greet Bishop Morlino and hear his message, too many to be accommodated inside the clinic. Fortunately, the new ultrasound equipment is portable and on wheels, so it was simply wheeled onto the back covered porch overlooking the large parking lot, which afforded good visibility for the proceedings.
SPC Director Marybeth Karstaedt welcomed Bishop Morlino and the assembly, and introducing Steve Schmalz of Knights of Columbus Council 605, Beloit.
Schmalz spoke on behalf of Scott Tenney, K of C Council 8021 of South Beloit, and the national K of C organization, describing the fund-raising efforts enabling the equipment’s purchase.
The National K of C organization has a current program named “The Ultrasound Initiative” designed to provide matching funds to support facilities like the SPC. The decision was made at SPC to embark on a local fund-raising program, with a conservative goal “to purchase a decent used ultrasound machine” to replace the old equipment.
But through the efforts of coordinators Schmalz and Tenney, and their recruitment of numerous “on-site” chairpersons and volunteers at individual churches and with the generosity of the Stateline community, it soon became apparent that their fund-raising goal could be met and exceeded.
The end result was the $20,000 brand new state-of-the-art color ultrasound machine, complete with supplies and paid training for several operators.
Bishop Morlino commented on the broad ecumenical appeal of the project and its success.
Following the blessing of the equipment, Bishop Morlino chatted informally with several attendees. When someone asked the duration of the project, beginning-to-end, Schmalz said, “Pretty close to nine months.”
The bishop responded, “Nine months from conception to delivery; how appropriate.” It was truly a “blessed event.”