Jacqueline Ann (DeStefano), New York based author of poetry collection Water Lilies, was certainly on a mission this Lenten Season. Though many of her poems in Water Lilies relate to common themes such as love, relationships, loss, etc.., she has found her way with writing about faith and God and sharing those Christian messages with the purpose of healing others in a unique and artistic way.
While Jacqueline Ann began to grow her social media pages, her audience and viewership expanded, creating new opportunities for her to share her poetry with many different types of people.
Though she has been a practicing Catholic her whole life, she understands that ones’ faith will always be challenged and granted the opportunities to grow into a deeper relationship with God.
“While I was posting on my social media pages about faith, and God with many important messages for people to see, I was also very much affected by the recent law that was passed in New York. As I was reading all of these news articles coming out about the specifics of the law, I grew angry and wondered what on earth I could do to help this situation. I felt lost and not impactful in that sense to think there are innocent babies that will suffer as a result of this evil the world has condoned,” she states.
As the third trimester abortion bill was passed in New York, a flame was lit inside her. And though she knows in her heart what abortion is and how it affects our world, this legislation had prompted her to do something she never had done before.
During the “40 Days for Life,” Jacqueline organized a Rosary Prayer Mission across the United States to pray for the protection of the preborn and the healing of mothers and families that find themselves involved in such situations.
She attended some “40 Days for Life” meetings on Long Island, New York, which sparked the idea of her mission “40 Rosaries during the ‘40 Days for Life’ Mission.” The plan was to have different people from across the United States pray a rosary each day during the forty days for the intentions of our preborn.
In 2016, she went on a pilgrimage to France and Italy with 206 Tours, a Catholic Pilgrimage Tour Company based in Hauppague, New York. She remained in contact with the team at the Company, and reached out in need of volunteers to help fulfill this mission. 206 Tours gladly granted their assistance, posting about Jacqueline’s mission on their Facebook page and asking for people to help her. Within a week, Jacqueline’s inbox was flooded with requests to help volunteer, and with the amazing help of her family, friends, colleagues, and supporters of her writing, she got the word out.
“I will say this--my lifelong mission is genuinely to bring more souls closer to God, but when I casted my net to the sea initially in accepting this mission to pray the Rosary for 40 days, I was afraid that my net would not be filled. Yet, I felt something deep within me that asked me to trust and be patient with God. Well, I am glad I did because He provided more people than I even had slots available for to sign up! There were people who have not prayed the rosary in years who volunteered proudly to help me, and people who have never prayed a rosary in their life and asked to learn.”
For forty consecutive days (March 6, 2019 - April 14, 2019), there were different people around the United States she would have never known that were praying with her to protect our preborn.
“It was a humbling and empowering feeling to be this messenger for God even if it was just for these 40 days. It means everything to me and I am so blessed to have done this.”
For anyone who would love to pray the rosary again, for the first time, or to be a part of this mission to pray for the preborn for next year, please contact her on Instagram, Facebook, or her website.
If any of you are suffering, or are looking for words of encouragement and truth, I recommend picking up a copy of her poetry collection, Water Lilies, which is available for sale through her website. Within her poetry, she reminds us that no matter what situations we find ourselves in, or what viewpoints we may have in the world around us, God is always there for us. And despite our wrongdoings, we cannot be afraid to answer His call because He will choose us. He will always choose us in different ways as He intends to share His love, guidance, and truth with those who surround us.
Thanks to people like Jacqueline Ann and her 40 Days for Life Rosary team who prayed for the preborn, babies' lives have been saved and after all that is the utmost mission of the pro-life movement.