MARY WAGNER, SIXTH FROM THE RIGHT DRESSED IN A DARK GREEN JUMP SUIT
MARY WAGNER: LOVE’S PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
+ Here is an article I just wrote detailing in brief and in part, Mary’s courageous witness of charity for life.+Please pray for Mary’s hearing for Constitutional Standing set for Feb. 4.Thanks to a special donation, I am leaving today to be present at the hearing and hopefully visit Mary. Please pray for safe travel and entrance into Canada.Finally, here is an article I just wrote detailing in brief and in part, Mary’s courageous witness of charity for life.”Mary Wagner: Love’s Prisoner of Conscience”
Mary Wagner began her full-time prolife mission in Canada after college. She served the most vulnerable in Vancouver, British Columbia, and traveled throughout the country defending life in many different ways, particularly through a peaceful, personal presence at abortion facilities. She worked with the Servants of Our Lady of Guadalupe at World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002. After that, she made numerous visits to the US to assist the servants in pro-life ministry, including sidewalk counseling, education, Frassati Outdoor celebrations of life, and a pilgrim/talk at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
During this time she encountered the religious order the Community of St. John. She took between 3-4 years discerning a contemplative vocation with much of that time spent in France at the mother house cloister. While in deep prayer at the convent chapel, Mary believed she heard the voice of Jesus Christ calling her back to serve the unborn children and their mothers in Canada, particularly those innocent ones in most imminent danger of violence. And so with the blessing of her superior she returned, maintaining a spiritual friendship with both the Community of St. John and the Servants.
Mary’s unique mission of gentle love takes her to the abortion centers and even inside the facilities to share the light of Christ. She brings flowers and compassionate cards of aid to the women who are abortion vulnerable. She speaks words of peace and encouragement. And her charity is one which refuses to depart from the places of darkness and violence, even when instructed by those who wish to take the lives of the innocent to leave the scene of the crime. By God’s grace, numerous mothers, fathers and babies have been touched by Mary’s sacrificial Christian charity, and lives have been saved.
This mission of love combined with courage and steadfastness has not always been met well with the abortion industry and those favoring the more socialist and pro-abortion side of the Canadian government. As a result, Mary has been in prison for an overall total which surpasses three years. Her charge is “mischief”. Currently she is being unjustly held in the Vanier women’s prison in Toronto, and has been incarcerated since August 15, 2012 for reaching out to abortion-vulnerable mothers/children. On that day when she brought her trademark red roses and her smile, she was assaulted by members of the abortion mill. No charges were brought against these individuals.
So the question is asked, if Mary’s only so-called charge is “mischief” then why is she still in confinement?
In response to Mary’s quiet compassion, the government demanded that she never return to offer assistance to babies or mothers at any abortion facilities in the entire Province of Ontario. By God’s grace, Mary has bravely returned three times to the killing centers knowing well that complying with unjust court orders only assists the oppressors and never the oppressed. As a result, the Crown has made Mary’s current release conditional upon her signing an immoral court document stating that she promises never to be present at any abortion mill in Ontario. Again, sustained by Divine grace, Mary has refused and will continue to refuse to sign any dishonest contract with those favoring the assault on the innocent women and children. She sincerely desires that her words and actions will consistently bear witness to both the victims and the victimizers about the truth of the sanctity of all human persons. Thus, Miss Wagner has become a prisoner of conscience… a prisoner of love.
One might say that Mary is the “Queen’s good servant, but God’s first.”
In this most recent time of unjust detention, some amazing things have happened while in she has been in prison:
1) She has helped to save the life of an unborn baby by talking to the pregnant mother in prison. (Who later came back to visit Mary and thank her for helping to save her son Alexander, who also was there for the visit!)
2) She was awarded by a pro-life Member of Parliament the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honor as an outstanding Canadian who has made a lasting contribution to the good of the nation. (One of the highest civilian awards in the country.)
3) Some guards and prison staff are grateful for Mary’s presence with the ladies in lockup, and state that her prayerfulness, respect and gentleness are having a huge positive impact on the population.
4) Her friend Bishop Gracias from India was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Francis to assist him with the reform of the Curia, and the new Cardinal visited Mary and celebrated a special Mass, the first ever, at the Vanier Women’s Prison with other bishops and priests last year. There were many Confessions heard before Mass from a large number of penitents who were counted among both inmates and staff. Mary has written that the Holy Mass celebrated on the feast of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross continues to bear much fruit in the lives of theses women. Deo gratias!
5) Cardinal Gracias told Pope Francis about Mary and her mission, and the Holy Father gave Mary his Petrine blessing, a personal gift, a promise of his own prayers, and a request that Mary pray for him! (Thank you Pope Francis!)
6) The cases have garnered international attention from reports by Lifesitenews, particularly when a judge had said to Mary in court that “you are wrong and your God is wrong!” This was the most widely read pro-life internet story in the world in 2011.
7) The current case has attracted much national secular press attention as well due to the controversy of her Jubilee Medal award and her efforts to receive “legal aid”. In the case of the latter, since she is attempting to mount a constitutional challenge to the Canadian laws regarding abortion, she applied for assistance to cover her costs since she is indigent. The Crown rejected her request, but only because the top government prosecution team of attorneys argued against her. All for a simple case of “mischief”?! This unjust treatment is attracting attention and admiration, even from those who do not consider themselves “pro-life”.
8) Her witness is galvanizing the young adult pro-life movement in Canada, finding in Mary a heroine of peace who is emblematic of the courage, truth and love needed to stand for life. The Christmas Postcard Campaign organized by the Canadian national pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition went international, and Mary received thousands of positive greetings from throughout the world.
Mary acknowledges that any good coming from her “small efforts” are the grace of Almighty God and the fruit of the many prayers of those who love God and His children. We pray that her noble efforts may be used by God in a mighty way to challenge the culture of death in Canada and beyond, and that Mary’s witness of love would inspire many others to peacefully and perseveringly build a victorious culture of life.
I am leaving now for Toronto to attempt to visit Mary and be present for her February 4 hearing.
Please pray for this important standing hearing. It will be to determine her standing for a constitutional challenge. This is a crucial victory being attempted now as it has been 25 years since any similar court challenge defending the personhood of an unborn child has been tried in Canada. Her attorney, Dr. Charles Lugosi, a former professor of Constitutional Law at Ave Maria Law School who has argued cases before the supreme courts of both the US and Canada, is attempting to invoke the Canadian Criminal Code under the “defense of others” and applying this to the unborn child and her mother. The hope is to bring a case of precedent before the Supreme Court using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (their constitution), as well as expert testimony and state of the art technology, in order to bring protection to all persons.
Thank you for your prayerful solidarity for Mary, her case, and all the innocent in danger.
2012 Mary Wagner News
2013 Mary Wagner News
ARTICLE DATE MARCH 28, 2014
ARTICLE DATE: MAY 12, 2014
AbortionThu Jun 12, 2014 – 7:30 pm EST
Pro-life prisoner Mary Wagner found guilty, but released
TORONTO – After almost two years, Mary Wagner’s marathon trial on charges of mischief and failure to comply with probation orders finally came to an end in a north Toronto courtroom Thursday afternoon, with her stepping out to freedom amid hugs and congratulations from about three dozen supporters. But the case is far from over.
Justice Fergus O’Donnell found her guilty on all counts and sentenced her to five months in jail on the mischief charge and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders. He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because the time spent in jail exceeded the sentence, she was freed immediately.
The charges related to her entry of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 12, 2012 and an attempt to speak to abortion-bound women there. She was arrested, charged and has spent the duration of the following time in jail, the majority of it due to her refusal, for reasons of conscience, to agree to bail conditions that stipulated she stay away from abortion sites pending conclusion of the trial.
“I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many contributions you’ve made spiritually, financially, through letters, through word of mouth. Thank you.”
Stepping out into the sunshine on a warm and windy day, Wagner remarked that the wind was something she noticed right away.
“The wind is something we don’t experience much in jail … because there’s a high wall around us,” she told LifeSiteNews. “The first thing that struck me was the wind. I feel free, inside and out, and it’s beautiful to see the people again – the good friends on the outside we’ve been separated from for a long time. So thanks be to God.”
She said although there were some difficult times in jail, it was nonetheless “fruitful in many ways, because a lot of people there are hungry for God and are looking to reach out to Him. I was constantly meeting women wounded by abortion and encouraging them to seek the mercy of God.”
She said she saw the time as “an opportunity for the Holy Spirit really to be at work in hearts that are broken, seeking and are open to God. So quite easily, prayer groups formed and people asked why I was there, why I was in jail. Immediately, I had the chance to share the truth about the wound of abortion.”
She estimated some 80 percent of the women she met in the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton had undergone an abortion and of those, 90 percent said they regretted it. “I would love to see more of a connection between the outside world and the inside world for women who are hurting,” she said. “Maybe just by penpals or visits and that, because a lot of them don’t have connections with somebody in their lives anymore.”
Wagner confirmed that she and her defence team will appeal the verdict. “Ultimately, the victory is not so much in the courts,” she said. “Of course, we’re going to seek justice for the children through the courts, but regardless, the call to love our neighbor who is in distress, who is in imminent danger remains. So I hope, God willing, to continue to reach out to the mothers and children who are in danger.”
She paid tribute to her lawyer, Dr. Charles Lugosi, who was joined by a co-counsel for the last several hearings thanks to monies raised for her defence fund by pro-life supporters. Lugosi continued “to persevere, continuing his research without funding. … This case was not widely known for the longest time,” she said. “But he continued to work very hard. … He’s put forth tremendous effort with great integrity in continuity with true justice and with our faith as well.”
“I’m very grateful for Charles’s work and for the support of all who have contributed through their prayers and financial contributions, large or small,” she said. “I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the many contributions you’ve made spiritually, financially, through letters, through word of mouth. Thank you.”
As a devout Catholic, her immediate plans were to attend Mass that evening and then head to the west coast of Canada to see her family. “The last time I saw my family … for the most part, was over two years ago. I hope, after a few days here, to go back to the coast and spend some time with them and then take some time to pray in solitude … and be open to God’s will.”
Prior to the verdict, Lugosi made final submissions before O’Donnell, arguing that the constitutionality of Section 223 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which states a human being begins only when he or she has emerged in a breathing state from the birth canal, has not been considered in any of the previous abortion-related cases before the Supreme Court, including the pivotal 1988 Morgentaler one.
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He had previously argued unsuccessfully that expert witnesses should have been allowed to testify at the trial as to the humanity of the pre-born. As well, he pointed out there were inconsistencies between the Supreme Court’s findings in the Morgentaler case and those in the euthanasia-related Rodriguez and Carter cases, where the court enunciated certain value-of-life statements.
“In both Carter and Rodriguez, the courts affirmed the unconstitutionality of involuntary euthanasia – involuntary death through deliberate medical intervention,” he said. “Why not be consistent and decide that involuntary abortion of the unborn child is also unconstitutional?”
“It is beyond the competence of Parliament to define whether a child is or is not a human being,” Lugosi continued. “The expert evidence is conclusive that a new human being begins at conception and-or fertilization and that abortion kills a human being, as a matter of reality.”
“It is a violation of natural law, the rule of law, the supremacy of God, the unwritten Canadian Constitution and the Constitution Act, 1982, for the judicial branch of government to abdicate to members of the legislative branch or executive branch of government, the absolute, untrammeled right to use legal definitions to exclude any class or individual human beings from the legal protections shielding all innocent human beings from a fatal assault intended to cause death,” he added.
Wagner’s defence rested on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which allowed for actions in the defence of other human beings. It was the defence’s intention to demonstrate that the unborn at the Women’s Care Clinic on August 12, 2012 were, in fact, human beings under Wagner’s care and protection.
“As a matter of reason, a child is the same human being one second before birth and one second after being born alive. Location of the child, in or out of the womb, is irrelevant. What matters is scientific truth, free from corrupt and biased thought that seeks reasons to justify the death of an innocent child.”
Lugosi also appealed to Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion, “not just to believe, but also to act, in the free exercise of these rights. Without the free exercise of these rights, these rights are meaningless. The rule of law has a moral component consistent with natural law and to deny the defendant’s defence is to subvert the rule of law and the superiority of natural law.”
Wagner saw her actions, concluded Lugosi, as legal, consistent with the entire constitution of Canada, the common law, the rule of law, and the supremacy of God.
In a rebuttal, Crown attorney Tracey Vogel argued the medical evidence intended to be put forth by the defence was “irrelevant” and that the two expert witnesses slated to testify, and whose will-say statements were put before the court, were not impartial. “This does not assist a live issue before the court,” she said. “The evidence is not true.”
The bottom line, Vogel continued, was that Wagner admitted the elements of both sets of offences she was charged with, interfered with the operation of a “private medical clinic,” had no reason to be there and caused “great upset” to patients, their families, and friends.
In his verdict, O’Donnell acknowledged abortion is a subject of great controversy and one over which there has been much previous litigation. He decided, however, there was no possibility of the success of Wagner’s argument, as the defence of necessity was not valid on account of her failure to use other avenues at her disposal for opposing abortion.
On sentencing, O’Donnell noted there was nothing he could say that would modify Wagner’s behavior. He acknowledged it was not his place to judge her strongly held beliefs; however, he observed her approach was not necessarily respectful. He encouraged her to think about whether her 22 months spent in prison might have been better used advancing her cause in a more effective manner.
He cited Wagner’s “very stubborn streak” and said it was his role as a judge to emphasize rehabilitation, deterrence, and denunciation so that the sentence resonated with her and others. Although he said abortion is a very polarizing issue, he added the Canadian way is one of compromise. Allowing either side of a controversial issue to break the law only encourages others to feel they can do so. The kind of “havoc” Wagner caused in August 2012 had to be circumscribed with further probation orders, he said.
The defence has 30 days to file a notice of appeal in the case. Reasons for a number of O’Donnell’s judgements during the trial, including disallowing public funding of Wagner`s defence and the testimony of expert witnesses, are still forthcoming.