It is with great joy that the Board of Trustees of Family Life International NZ is able to announce that Colleen Bayer, National Director and Founder, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI, a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great.
This incredible honour is bestowed upon Colleen for her commitment to promoting life, faith and family in New Zealand, and especially for her selfless dedication to the mothers and babies.
Colleen is very humbled by the honour, and sees it as being for all those who work for life in New Zealand. She wishes to express deep gratitude to all the Friends for Life who through their support and encouragement allow her to carry out this most important work on their behalf. Colleen is also very appreciative to all those who work and volunteer for Family life International NZ, furthering its mission to promote life.
But most importantly, Colleen wishes to point out that the real honour should go to those women and girls who courageously choose life for their babies, often in difficult circumstances, and sometimes without support from their families. Honour too, should be bestowed upon women who recognise that they need healing after abortion, and who take the difficult, but courageous step to seek that healing. She also recognises the countless young people who have embraced Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and are living chastity in their marriages, and in their single life – being true witnesses to the Gospel of Life.
Inspired bythe late Rev. Fr. Paul Marx, OSB (founder of HLI USA), and with the late Dr H.P. Dunn (father of Bishop Patrick Dunn) as advisor, Colleen Bayer established Family Life International NZ in 1992. Her dream, was to begin a pro-life organisation in New Zealand that addressed all the life issues from conception through to natural death, was unashamedly Catholic, and would open its arms wide to every pregnant mother facing a crisis pregnancy, as well as the sick, disabled and elderly who may find themselves a target for euthanasia-type practices. This dream has become a reality, because of the support of so many faithful New Zealander’s.
But while the work of Family Life International is tangible evidence to her selfless dedication to the culture of life, being 20 years old, FLI only tells half of Colleen’s story of active service for the pro-life movement and caring for the disabled.
Colleen has been married to her husband Terry for 40 years. Together they have five children (four adopted, three of whom have special needs), and ten grandchildren. For many years Colleen and Terry have fostered and provided respite for 27 children with various special needs, truly opening their hearts and their home to those who are most vulnerable in our society today. In the 20 years prior to establishing Family Life International, Colleen was actively involved in SPUC, Operation Rescue, and praying outside the abortion clinics.
All the team at Family Life International NZ warmly congratulate Colleen for this great honour. The honour, we believe, shows the urgency for which Pope Benedict XVI sees the pro-life and pro-family mission of the Church in these days.
Details of the investiture have yet to be finalised, but we will update you as soon as possible. All Friends for Life will be invited to share in this very special occasion.