Father Robert R. Rousseau
MERIDEN – The new director of the Pro-Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Hartford is certainly no stranger to pro-life causes. Father Robert J. Rousseau, pastor of St. Augustine Parish in North Branford, was the driving force behind the creation of Carolyn’s Place, a crisis pregnancy resource center now centered in Waterbury.
As director of Pro-Life Ministries, Father Rousseau succeeds Father James J. Cronin, pastor of St. Mary Parish and temporary administrator of Christ the Redeemer Parish, both in Milford. Father Cronin had held the position since Oct. 9, 1991.
Coincidentally, it was around that time – Nov. 4, 1991, to be precise – that Father Rousseau, then-pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Watertown, discovered an abandoned baby girl in the church as he was leaving a meeting of the Council of Catholic Women.
"I heard a cry, and I looked down and there was a shaft of light coming from the main body of the church, and in that shaft of light, that tiny shaft of light, there was this little foot. I almost had a heart attack. I hit the light switch real quick and there was this gorgeous, absolutely beautiful little baby just staring up at me."
The baby was eventually adopted, and Carolyn’s Place was established the following year.
"One of the major goals at the time was that no woman should have to go through pregnancy alone and we would have a 24/7 hotline," Father Rousseau said. If he could meet the mother, he would like to thank her and let her know that because she decided to leave her baby where it could be found, more than 1,000 babies have been saved through Carolyn’s Place.
As the new director of Pro-Life Ministries, Father Rousseau will be encouraging pro-life representatives in each parish, who, he said, "are trying to do a yeoman’s job and sometimes a very difficult job also."
He said, "It’s critical that people be willing to stand up and take a public stand, especially in the modern day when in some ways it seems to be a less popular stand; and yet our little brothers and sisters need voices to speak for them. They can’t speak for themselves, and if we who are living our lives don’t speak up for them, no one will."
In announcing Father Rousseau’s appointment, Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist Suzanne Gross, program coordinator for the Pro-Life Ministry, said, "We welcome Father Rousseau and are grateful for his dedication to the Gospel of Life and the needs of this ministry. We thank Father Cronin for his years of advocacy, his monthly letters, and his vigilance in the protection of all human life."