Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Sunday, February 25, 2018

WATERBURY – Carolyn’s Place, a pregnancy care center serving Greater Waterbury, will celebrate its 20th year of caring for babies and families with an anniversary dinner from 4:30-9 p.m. Nov. 4 at La Bella Vista at the Pontelandolfo Club.

The celebration will also honor several men and women for their exceptional advocacy for life. Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A Cronin, Archbishop of Hartford from 1992 to 2003, will be presented with the Carolyn’s Place Ministry Award. This award was established to recognize people with a religious vocation who exemplify extraordinary commitment to the sanctity of human life.

Jim Vicevich, WTIC-AM radio host, will be honored with the Carolyn’s Place Maureen A. Donohoe Life Award. This award is given to a person who represents life-affirming values and actively promotes them in the general community.

The award is named for Maureen Anne Donohoe, daughter of Ray Donohoe and the late Jessie Donohoe, who died in 1986 at the age of 20. Despite living with cerebral palsy, Miss Donohoe spent her short life courageously speaking out and writing in defense of the sanctity of human life.

Carolyn’s Place also was founded in memory of Miss Donohoe.

The Walter J. Williams Service Award will be presented to the original founding members of Carolyn’s Place, including: Father Robert Rousseau, Peter and Mary Arduino, Ellen Cavallo, Mr. Donohoe, Marge Fisher, Barbara Fydenkevez, Maria Mancini, Mary Moynihan and Clare Townsend Keating. This award is given to those who have provided outstanding volunteer service to the Carolyn’s Place ministry. It is named in memory of Mr. Williams, who served on the agency’s board of directors from 2000 until his death in 2009.

As a lawyer, Mr. Williams provided invaluable legal advice to organizers of fund-raisers for Carolyn’s Place. He also assisted a pro-life group and a monthly pro-life rosary recitation at his parish, St. Teresa in Woodbury.

WATR-AM radio host Ed Flynn will be the emcee. Gomez and Sadlon will provide live jazz music. A silent auction will feature Yankees tickets, wine baskets and more.

All funds raised will help the nonprofit center continue its work of "empowering individuals through education, comfort and assistance to make life choices related to their sexuality and child-bearing that are consistent with the sanctity of human life," as its statement of purpose reads.

The cost of attending the dinner is $50. Reservations are required. For tickets or for more information, contact Ginny Baudinet at (203) 597-9080 or e-mail staff@carolynsplace.net.

The event was scheduled for Nov. 4 to commemorate the 21st birthday of Carolyn Marie, an abandoned baby for whom Carolyn’s Place is named.

On Nov. 4, 1991, Father Rousseau, then pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Watertown, discovered a three-hour-old baby girl, left in a box in the entryway of the church. Because she was born on the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, Father named her Carolyn.

Father Rousseau said he could scarcely imagine how afraid and alone the mother must have felt, but how courageous she was to choose life for her child and place her in a safe surrounding where she would be found. He and a core group of parishioners formed a committee that worked and prayed.

In the fall of 1992 the group opened the doors to Carolyn’s Place so that no woman might face pregnancy alone.

Baby Carolyn Marie was adopted confidentially, but her legacy continues in the more than 1,000 babies born through the center and countless other lives touched.

Also since its opening, Carolyn’s Place has conducted nearly 1,200 education presentations to schools, logged over 166,000 hours on its 24-hour hotline, filled nearly 4,000 requests for personal care items requests, and taught childbirth preparation and parenting skills to nearly 200 mothers and fathers.