Remembering Ann Prebil

Ann M. Prebil, co-developer of the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System 1946–2017

It is with great sadness, that we said goodbye to a dear friend and mentor Ann Prebil, who passed to her new everlasting life Monday morning, Oct. 23, 2017. Her death was not unexpected — she had fought an extraordinary battle for many years, but her passing is still a very sad moment for all of the Institute family. Ann was a tireless advocate for the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System and NaProTECHNOLOGY® and has been part of our Co-Developer team since 1976. As Co-Developers we worked very closely together for over 40 years — truly amazing years together! We can speak first-hand of her absolute dedication and love of this work. Her amazing efforts will bear fruit for many years to come. Ann has been an inspiration to us and to many others.

Ann’s worldwide involvement was extraordinary and what she really loved to do. She was currently supervising students in Argentina, Mexico City, Poland, Europe, and the United States. She was on the Faculty for our Omaha and Mexico City Education Programs as well as St. Louis Mercy Hospital and Poland and participated in a number of Education Programs in Europe over the years. Ann also served as a Board member for FertilityCare Centers of America (FCCA), FertilityCare Centers International (FCCI), and was a member of the FertilityCare Centers of Europe (FCCE) organizing group. She was Chair of the AAFCP Accreditation Commission and took great joy and pride in the growing numbers of Independent Education Programs in the United States, Canada, Poland, Croatia, and Nigeria.

We trust you will say prayers for Ann and for her family. Ann is now experiencing in a very special way Our Lord, the giver of all life.

To carry on the memory of our co-developer and friend, the Pope Paul VI Institute is establishing the Ann M. Prebil Scholarship Fund. To contribute to this scholarship fund, please send check to the Pope Paul VI Institute Attn: Ann Prebil Scholarship or indicate your gift designation on your online gift.

Institute Education program brings new Medical Consultant to Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Terra Papik

Dr. Terra Papik, D.O. from Lincoln, Nebraska is currently enrolled in the Pope Paul VI Institute’s Medical Consultant Program. Last Fall, Dr. Papik helped to start a new private practice called “Doctors for Women,” and her focus is on learning and practicing NaProTechnology.
The Allied Health Programs of the Pope Paul VI Institute focus on the training of both Medical Consultants and FertilityCare Practitioners. These two types of professionals depend on each other, because proper Creighton Model charting is required for the delivery of NaProTechnology. FertilityCare Practitioners need Medical Consultants to provide treatment for clients, while Medical Consultants rely on FertilityCare Practitioners to teach their patients proper charting methods.

Today, Terra treats girls and women from ages 11 all the way up to 101. She especially enjoys a career that makes bringing the miracle of life a focal point of her practice. “I have been so awed by the human body, so I do my own ultrasounds. … You see these little things that look like jelly beans and they have heartbeats. Then at nine weeks or ten weeks you see arms and legs, and they are moving. It is just a miracle that we can create a whole other person through God’s grace … your body does it naturally.”

In her practice, Terra tries to create an atmosphere where her patients feel at home. “I wear jeans most days of the week. I go by Terra. I do not go by Dr. Papik… They feel like they can be honest with me, which you have to have — that trust and honesty in order to take care of someone medically.”

Terra also has firsthand experience with the difficulty women face in finding answers to reproductive problems. “I always struggled with irregular cycles, difficulties achieving pregnancy and maintaining pregnancies. There just was not a lot out there — I never met a physician that could tell me, ‘This is what is wrong with you and here is what we are going to do about it.’ I was given those same Band-Aid treatment methods and just sort of a dissatisfaction with the system.”

Then a friend from church, who is a FertilityCare Practitioner, told Terra about the Creighton Model and NaProTechnology. She encouraged Terra to learn more about the system so she could treat women in Lincoln. “She had been sending most of her clients to Omaha for treatment,” Terra explained.

Terra completed Phase I of the Pope Paul VI Institute’s Education Program in Omaha in the Fall of 2017, just one week after her new clinic opened. She is now very eager to share what she’s learned with her fellow physicians. “I am so excited to bring this back. The first thing I am going to do is present it to my clinic staff, because I do not think they even fully understand what we can potentially do with this.”
After completing the program, Terra will be the first female Medical Consultant in Lincoln. “I am just really excited about the amount of women that we will be able to see, treat, and help.”

While the Pope Paul VI Institute’s National Center for Women’s Health in Omaha has a program for seeing out-of-town patients, it is ideal for people to have a local Medical Consultant who can treat patients using medical NaProTechnology. A strong network of FertilityCare Practitioners and Medical Consultants helps to bring the Culture of Life to women’s healthcare.

For more information on the Pope Paul VI Institute’s Education Programs, please visit www.popepaulvi.com/education.

Bringing “hope and healing” to Poland

Lech Wojewodzic

When Lech Wojewodzic began his career in medicine, he never imagined that he would become an OB-GYN. “I made all the vocation training in Germany and Italy in orthopedics,” he said, “because it was for me — a man who can fix some fractures and so on.” But then in 2009, an article in the Catholic Polish newspaper Gość Niedzielny (“Sunday Guest”) made him reconsider. It was an interview with Pope Paul VI Institute Director Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers and the impact NaProTechnology was having in Poland. “I was riveted,” Lech said. “[Dr. Hilgers] invented all this stuff with NaProTechnology. I was like, ‘Wow, this is for me!’”

Lech was still unprepared for this career change. “I was praying for God to show me the way,” he said. “When I opened the Bible, there was Abraham … it was the place where God told him that his children will be as many as sand on the beach.” Still, he needed convincing. “So I opened at another place, and it was about Mary, mother of Jesus, who already conceived. It was about her giving birth to the Lord.” Moved by this sign of divine intervention, Lech went to his priest for one last confirmation. “He says to me, ‘If you have prayed, you can choose this other specialization.’”

Lech applied for residency as an OB-GYN, and there were only three available openings in his area. When he received the results back from his test, he placed third — only 0.3% higher than the next applicant.

Lech then bought the textbook, “The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaProTechnology,” learning new ways of treating infertility that were unheard of in Poland at the time. “I was someone who was already converted,” he said, telling his colleagues, “‘In America, they do this and this and this!’ They were laughing, ‘You will do surgery in all those complicated cases?’” After five years, however, Lech gained the respect of his colleagues. In 2016, he passed the Board State Exam for OB-GYNs in Poland with the second highest score in the country.

There is still an uphill battle in bringing these natural, procreative methods to Poland. “About 70% of the population are pro-IVF … They are Christian and they are Catholics, but they think in a different way.” Lech believes, however, that the results of the Creighton Model System will win them over. “It’s the time to show them, even if they don’t believe in God, even if they don’t believe in Natural Methods, they can see fruits of it, and maybe this will convince them about our work and our services.”

Meet the 2017 Summer Interns

The Pope Paul VI Institute has always been committed to the education of people on the truth about issues facing women’s reproductive healthcare. Educating young people and showing them the difference they can make is an important endeavor for the Institute. The spirit that young people have for this work creates synergy with our mission. Their enthusiasm is truly contagious and reminds us all of why we work to bring the culture of life to women’s healthcare.

Malori Mattson

Malori Mattson, Summer Research Intern

Over the summer of 2017, Malori Mattson, a Creighton University medical student from Minot, North Dakota, interned with the Institute and evaluated pregnancy rates in relation to the Creighton Model System, as well as factors that played a role in these rates, such as endometriosis and past surgeries.

Malori first learned about the Pope Paul VI Institute and the Creighton Model System from her teacher and mentor, Fr. Justin Waltz. Through her undergraduate and medical studies, she kept the Institute in her mind, and after a discussion with two previous Pope Paul VI Institute interns, she was certain she needed to apply for the internship. She is now considering becoming an OB-GYN.

“I know that one day I will be able to look back on my experience at the Pope Paul VI Institute and gather from it the encouragement and strength I will need to remain steadfast in my beliefs,” Malori said, “especially during times when those beliefs are challenged.”

J.P. Jensen

J.P. Jensen, Summer File Clerk

John Paul “J.P.” Jensen is a junior at Mount Michael Benedictine High School and a “NaPro Miracle” of FCCA Assistant Administrator, Gerianne Jensen.

J.P. worked over the summer filing research articles from various medical journals and says that working for the Institute over the summer may have changed his long-term goals. From reading an article titled “Potassium Chloride-Induced Fetal Demise,” he discovered how very broken mainstream medicine is. “I had remotely considered medicine before,” J.P. said, “but now I know there is a lot of work to be done and many people to help with good medicine.”

The St. John Paul the Great Fellows for 2017

The St. John Paul the Great in Medical & Surgical NaProTechnology is integral to bringing the culture of life to women’s health care. Fellows are trained in the specialized field of reproductive endocrinology and in the breakthrough surgical system that utilizes robotic technology and highly effective adhesion prevention measures. The St. John Paul the Great Fellows become equipped with the skills to improve the health of women and restore fertility naturally — all while practicing medicine that fully adheres to the Church’s teaching on human reproduction. The St. John Paul the Great Fellows are the future of NaProTechnology, and we are happy to introduce the 2016–2017 Fellows, Neil Sink, MD and Teresa Hilgers, MD.

Dr. Neil Sink

Dr. Neil Sink

Dr. Sink initially began a career in general surgery, but the calling to become an OB-GYN took root after attending a baby’s birth by cesarean section. After one and a half years in general surgery, Dr. Sink decided to visit the Institute after a discussion with his mom about his desire to switch to obstetrics and gynecology. “Although I was only there for a day,” he sais, “it was so inspiring to see good medical care being offered while also being true to one’s beliefs about life and faith. I decided to switch jobs essentially in the Pope Paul VI Institute parking lot.”

Coming to the Institute after completing his OB-GYN residency at the Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Dr. Sink has learned how to perform complex pelvic surgeries through the Fellowship. “There is something enormously satisfying about putting in the effort to remove disease while maintaining and healing the pelvic organs as best as possible.” Dr. Sink is grateful for the opportunity, challenge, and gift to care for people.

Dr. Sink and his wife, Anne Marie, have two daughters — Moira (3) and Alice (4 months). After completing his Fellowship, Dr. Sink plans to provide quality medical care to patients of all walks of life from a practice that is infused with the Spirit and adheres to its faith.

Dr. Teresa Hilgers

Dr. Teresa Hilgers

Dr. Teresa Hilgers is the daughter of Dr. Thomas and Sue Hilgers, co-developers of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. Dr. Hilgers began to pursue her studies in history and never planned on being a physician. “It was annoying to hear everyone ask, ‘Are you going to be a doctor like your father?’” she recalls. However, she then decided to answer her calling to become a doctor, and after looking at other specialties, she fell in love with obstetrics and gynecology.

Coming to the Fellowship after completing her residency at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Dr. Hilgers has enjoyed working with her dad and looking at Creighton Model charts.

“I am often amazed that you can open up the chart and have a good idea of what is happening to the woman before even meeting her,” she said. Dr. Hilgers also enjoys teaching clients how to chart with the Creighton Model. After her completion of the Fellowship, Dr. Hilgers plans to stay at the Institute and play a role in the education of our patients, practitioners, and other doctors about the Creighton Model System and NaProTechnology.

Bringing “hope and healing” to Mexico

Alejandra Martinez Goldaracena, OB-GYN in Mexico City

Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, director of the The Pope Paul VI Institute, has had a great deal of interest in Mexico since the 1980s, and he was responsible for leading the first translation team to work on translating the Creighton Model materials into Spanish.

However, it has been within the last five years that our work has gained momentum, with the establishment of FertilityCare Centers in Mexico, as well as physicians who provide NaProTechnology services. The Institute has developed a five-year plan to establish the infrastructure for this work in Mexico, and this includes our formal affiliation with the Universidad Panamericana School of Medicine.

In 2017, we started our third Education Program in Mexico, training 27 new students at the Casa Lago conference center in Mexico City.

One of the newest recruits to the cause of NaProTechnology is Alejandra Martinez Goldaracena, an OB-GYN in Mexico City. She had never heard of the Creighton Model until Nov. 2016, when she was introduced to the work of the Pope Paul VI Institute by Dr. Gregorio Obrador, Dean of the Medical School at the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City. Dr. Obrador has been working with the Pope Paul VI Institute to bring NaProTechnology into Latin America.

Now, Alejandra has had a crash course in the Institute’s work.

Dr. Victor Topete, an OB-GYN medical consultant in Puebla, Mexico, invited Alejandra to participate in EPI in Mexico City in March. Alejandra went on immediately to complete EPII in Omaha in April.

Alejandra (right) listens to a lecture by Dr. Hilgers on Advanced Case Management during Education Phase II in Omaha in April, 2017.

“It’s the time,” Alejandra says. “I wish more Mexican people would know about the Creighton Model and NaProTechnology … Mexico needs NaProTechnology.”

This mission is also very personal for Alejandra. A close relative had suffered from infertility problems five years earlier and turned to artificial reproductive technology as a solution. “If I had only known about this,” said Alejandra. “My wish is to tell people that there’s another option — a better option.”

Part of Alejandra’s “crash course” with the Institute was not just learning about the Creighton Model and NaProTechnology, but also learning English, which she was not fluent in at all when she started just a few months ago. Alejandra has discovered since then, however, that the Creighton Model itself is a language all its own, which transcends either English or Spanish.

“The Creighton Model System is more than cultures,” she says, “More than countries. The language is not the problem … I understand that it is a universal language.”

As of today, teaching materials for the Pope Paul VI Institute have been translated into 15 different languages, including Spanish.

With more Education Programs scheduled in Mexico City through 2018, hope and healing will continue to flourish in Central America and around the world.

Remembering Mother Teresa

On September 4, 2017, the Catholic Church paid homage to an extraordinary woman whose life exemplified Christ’s call to compassion and service to others when Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) is canonized. She joined another modern apostle of mercy — St. John Paul the Great — to be canonized in recent years.

It is quite rare for the Church to declare sainthood in such a short period after one’s death, but as many of us know, these two saints were rare themselves, both in their faith and their ability to discern the signs of the times. In his landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI reminded us that the Church is a “sign of contradiction” to a society that seeks answers in technological, medical and other “advancements,” some of which oppose natural and moral law.

In an age when these advancements grew at unprecedented rates, both St. John Paul the Great and the soon-to-be St. Teresa of Calcutta were clear voices for those marginalized as a result of these advancements.

In 1978, I had the pleasure of meeting Mother Teresa. Years later, in 1993, Mother Teresa accepted our invitation to speak at the Institute’s 25th anniversary celebration of the publication of Humanae Vitae. While health reasons prevented Mother Teresa from attending the celebration, she addressed the crowd by video (the entirety of which you can access at the Pope Paul VI Institute website.

As was the case when Pope John Paul II was canonized, the Institute feels blessed knowing that yet again another of its strong supporters is being declared a saint. As I have shared so many times before, in our work, we meet great opposition from mainstream medicine and a culture of death that seeks to expand abortion, contraception, sterilization and in-vitro fertilization without limits. The upcoming canonization provides both encouragement and further validation for our work. Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the Pope Paul VI Institute seeks to serve as a sign of contradiction.

To be clear, at the Institute we don’t operate to simply oppose mainstream medicine. Instead, we seek to build a culture of life, where women and families find healing within God’s design for human reproduction and sexuality.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said “We must remember that life begins at home and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family.”

As the Pope Paul VI Institute continues to build a culture of life in women’s reproductive health care, we thank you, our supporters, for standing as a sign of contradiction with us.

NaProTechnology Building a Culture of Life through “Good Medicine”

Fr. Piotr Kieniewicz

Fr. Piotr Kieniewicz

The mission at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction is to build a culture of life in women’s reproductive health care. While this mission is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, its focus extends well beyond Omaha, and well beyond even the United States. In fact, the Institute’s methods and research are being practiced in communities throughout the world. This is especially true in Poland, where the Pope Paul VI Institute held Education Programs in 2012 and 2013.

For Father Piotr Kieniewicz, a priest at the Basilica of Our Lady of  Lichen in Konin, Poland, NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model FertilityCare System are providing hope and healing to a growing number of Polish families.

“Poland is a unique country in Europe,” says Father Piotr. “While abortion and contraception are certainly being practiced here, there is a growing feeling that we need to protect life.

Father Piotr, who was ordained in 1993, has a unique perspective in the area of human reproduction and sexual ethics as he holds a Ph.D. in Bioethics and has also received training in NaProTechnology. With this background, he was asked to manage a center providing Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology services on the campus of the Basilica. The center has seen tremendous growth since it opened, and it is currently staffed by four part-time medical consultants, each of whom has a full slate of patients.

“Dr. Hilgers says good ethics brings you to good medicine, and this has become my motto,” says Father Piotr. “NaProTechnology is good medicine.”

While Father Piotr is optimistic that adoption of NaProTechnology and the Creighton Model will continue to spread throughout Poland, he does see some challenges. “Poland still does not have proper surgical equipment for NaProTechnology, and the state-owned hospitals ultimately decide what is needed and what is not,” he says. “But if it is God’s will, He will provide.”

Even more than Poland, however, Father Piotr wants to see NaProTechnology used throughout all of Europe. “We have a lot of work to do,” he says, “but we get a lot of help from Dr. Hilgers and the Pope Paul VI Institute. We are committed to helping build a culture of life here and to provide good medicine.”

 

Dr. Angelica Brings Healing and Hope to Paraguay

Dr. Angelica Maria Sarmiento

Dr. Angelica Maria Sarmiento

The Pope Paul VI Institute provides medical professionals throughout the world with training and support to help extend the Institute’s medical breakthroughs to women and families across six continents. The Institute’s primary source of education and training is its Education Program, which consists of two full weeks of training held annually in the fall and spring.

In Oct. 2015, one of the many medical professionals to begin the Institute’s Education Program was Dr. Angelica Maria Sarmiento, an obstetrician from the South American country of Paraguay. Dr. Angelica first heard about the Pope Paul VI Institute after being contacted by a local reporter who was writing a news story about NaProTechnology.

“I declined the request for the interview because I hadn’t even heard about NaProTechnology at the time,” says Dr. Angelica. Having a strong background in both gynecology and bioethics, however, Dr. Angelica’s interest in NaProTechnology was piqued. It was not until after two other chance encounters and some additional research that Dr. Angelica made the decision to pursue training at the Pope Paul VI Institute’s Education Program, regardless of the time, travel, or cost.

“When you are trying to follow God’s will, He will pave the way,” Dr. Angelica assured herself and enrolled in the Institute’s medical consultant program. But the “road” did include its bumps.

“Here I was sitting in my first class in Omaha, and I came to the realization that I was in the wrong track. If I wanted to practice NaProTechnology, I would need to go through the Practitioner track.”
After some prayer and contemplation, Dr. Angelica made the decision to enroll in the Education Program Practitioner track as well.

“I felt that God was asking me to take another leap of faith,” she said. In April, Dr. Angelica completed Educational Phase II in Omaha in order to provide services to women and couples in her hometown of Asunción, Paraguay, where she is currently operating a growing NaProTechnology practice.

Not unlike so many Education Program students, Dr. Angelica sought reproductive health methods that are ethical and address the root cause of patients’ reproductive health problems. Through NaProTechnology, she is able to serve her patients’ medical needs while “living out her faith in a very real way.”
“Dr. Hilgers’ research is so new,” she says of the Institute’s founder. “Nobody has said the things Dr. Hilgers has, yet his research is also very clear and logical. If something is true in the spiritual realm, it must also be true in the physical and ethical realm as well.”

 

A Family at the Institute

Maureen and Edith Karpf

Maureen and Edith Karpf

I thank God every day for the Pope Paul VI Institute. Edith Lorraine Karpf was born into this world on April 1, 2015. She has been with me, in my arms, every day for the past year, even while I do my job as Development Associate at The Pope Paul VI Institute.

The reason we have been able to spend this precious time together is because of Dr. Hilgers’ office baby policy. Since the very beginning of the Pope Paul VI Institute, Dr. Hilgers has allowed employees of the Institute to bring their babies to work with them for the first 12 months, if the job allows.

While Dr. Hilgers requires a high quality of work performance from his employees, he understands the needs of the family and the importance of nurturing the bond between mother and child. This is a testament to Dr. Hilgers’ dedication to building strong families!

The Institute is a very special place because of the important work being done to make the pro-life reproductive health care found in the Creighton Model System and NaProTechnology widely accessible. There is no way I could adequately convey how truly incredible it is to be an Institute employee! The Institute is definitely not just a place of employment — it’s a family.

 

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