Mary Kate Knorr didn’t expect that advocating for the unborn would lead her to spreading the word about women’s fertility awareness. But the longer she worked for the pro-life cause, the more it made sense.
“I saw that the pro-life movement wasn’t doing enough to address the huge problem we have in our nation, and globally, with artificial hormonal birth control,” Knorr said in an interview with Aleteia. “That, to me, was a major gap—and one I felt personally called to address.”
That call led her to found Feminae Vero, a non-profit organization dedicated to fertility awareness education and other means of supporting women’s holistic health, with a special focus on the connection between faith and health. Knorr said, “Feminae Vero exists to serve, educate, and evangelize girls and women on the truths of their reproductive health and how it connects to our Catholic faith.”
Feminae Vero is a new venture for Knorr. Her background is in politics and pro-life work, and she served for years as the executive director of Illinois Right to Life. She launched Feminae Vero in January of 2021.
Women can find a variety of services at Feminae Vero, including the following:
- Fertility awareness education
- Doula services
- Healing retreats
- Advocacy with elected officials and medical professionals
So far, the backbone of their work is fertility awareness education, and it seems as though that’s the area where the organization can make the biggest impact.
Two projects currently in the works are especially exciting. One of these projects is creating a curriculum for middle school and high school girls to learn about their reproductive health and its relevance inside of Catholic teaching. This curriculum has the potential to be wonderfully empowering and useful to girls during a key developmental stage.
“As Catholics, we know that faith and honest science go hand-in-hand,” Knorr said. “It’s a facet of our philosophy to lead with science in teaching girls and women about their bodies, then follow up with the truths of the faith so as to ultimately achieve evangelization.”
It might seem odd to think that fertility awareness education would lead to evangelization, but Knorr has seen a real connection between the two. During her time in the pro-life movement, she made a pivotal observation: “Most of my previously pro-choice colleagues had a spiritual conversion alongside their ideological one,” she said.
When they became pro-life, they also became Christian, and, in many cases, Catholic. “Abortion is not exclusively a logic problem,” Knorr said. “It’s also a heart problem.”
The second project is a curriculum for seminarians and clergy. “It’s a future goal to develop a program for seminarians and clergy that will equip them to better support girls and women from a ministerial standpoint,” Knorr said. This project sounds like a crucial force for good: At times, there is a disconnect between what the Church teaches about women’s health and what local clergy understand about that teaching, so this project will help to bridge that gap.
There’s a lot that’s toxic, both physically and spiritually, in the lives of modern women. Knorr hopes that Feminae Vero will be a refreshingly holistic and positive resource.
“One of my primary goals in starting Feminae Vero was to extend a healing hand to women,” she said.
There are so many voices in society today that have deeply wounded women by lying to them about the way they were made and God’s plan for their bodies. Through our healing retreats, as well as the service and education that we aim to offer women, it’s our goal to take women by the hand and usher them into a healing process.
Ultimately, this healing comes from Christ. “It’s the Lord who’s doing the healing,” she explains.
That’s why we place such a heavy emphasis on evangelization as the ultimate goal. We believe that truth, if shared with prayer and compassion, will bring women to Jesus Christ—and once they meet the Lord, their healing will be inevitable.
Knorr wants women to know that God created them with profound purpose and intention. “Our culture’s objectification and abuse of women is a result of humanity’s fallenness,” she explains, “but John Paul II’s Theology of the Body tells us that we are meant for more.”
Her goal for Feminae Vero is to help women uncover that purpose and intention. She says, “Women can find such immense healing in the arms of Jesus Christ.”