Mater Domini Home is a treatment centre for pregnant women who are in crisis – this crisis can be linked to any trauma, be it abandonment, abuse, violence, illness, mental health, destitution, etc. In particular Mater Domini offers an alternative to abortion – and encourages mothers to birth their babies, provides hope and opportunity for mothers to continue to care for their babies, and offers support and assistance in instances where mothers decide on adoption.
Mater Domini is a Catholic facility, but is open to women of all religious persuasions. The philosophy is based on the victim support theories, and offers women the opportunity to escape violence and brutality, live in a socially acceptable and family context, with the opportunity to recover from their trauma, empower themselves, build their resilience and grow their confidence and skills to enable them to re-establish independent living.
Our home is situated in Claremont, and we operate within the Archdiocese of Cape Town, with Archbishop Stephen Brislin as our Patron. We are a registered with the Department of Social Development. Non profit Organization number: 089-510-NPO Public Benefit Organization: 930036903.
Mater Domini provides a loving, caring environment that respects the sanctity of life and freedom from abuse for all human beings. We do not discriminate against residents, and will help any woman regardless of race, creed, marital or economic status.
The establishment of Mater Domini was was born out of the need that existed within Archdiocese of Cape Town to create an alternative to abortion for women who might have felt forced into making such a decision out of desperation. When we talk about the nameless, faceless and voiceless victims of abortion, we have to include the mothers, who so often find themselves in helpless circumstances, with little other alternative but to make the difficult choice to end the life of their unborn child.
Our aim is to provide a safe and nurturing environment to women in crisis pregnancy and to protecting the unborn child – the most vulnerable member of society.
- Provide a home for women in crisis pregnancy, which embraces a Catholic ethos dedicated to the defense of the right to life of every human being;
- Provide material and spiritual support, as well as skills development, to the women we seek to assist at Mater Domini with the desire that they leave with the relevant competence to work on improving their future prospects and those of their children;
- Provide support and encouragement to women who have resolved their crisis and returned to their communities;
We are dedicated to the defense of the right to life of every human being. We believe in the respect of the dignity of all human life from conception; through every stage of development to natural death, and the right to the enjoyment of life free from any abuse for all human beings.
The plight of a young girl is very much at the heart of the decision we took to establish the Mater Domini Home. Early in 2007, Sally Hall, from the HLI office was approached by a pregnancy counselling centre with a request to assist a young mother with accommodation. She had been given an ultimatum by her grandmother; either you have an abortion, or move out! This young woman did not want to have the abortion, but without the assistance of her family or the father of the child, her choices were severely limited. In desperation she approached the crisis counselling centre, in a bid to seek assistance.
We immediately started calling around to see if there was any organisation, or religious order within the archdiocese who would be willing and able to assist us. Phone call after phone call ended unsuccessfully. After days of searching for a solution to this predicament, we had to contact the centre, and give them the news that we could not be of any assistance to this woman.
The reality of the situation shocked us, and with no means other than our trust in God, we took the leap of faith, and established the Mater Domini Home.
Since our opening day in September 2007, there has been no looking back. The need for the home was immediately confirmed. Our original premises in Pinelands was kitted out to accommodate 8 women, but was generally filled to capacity, and often packed to the rafters, with as many as 19 women and children resident at one time.
Our first baby was born in November 2007, and there have since been many more births, and we have assisted a multitude of women and children at the home.
As you may well imagine, most of the women who find themselves under our care, have been through turbulent times. They suffer not only financial poverty, but by and large emotional and spiritual poverty as well. We try to respond as Jesus calls us to when he says: “Whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.”