We just learned that Dr. Erik Odeblad of Sweden died on October 17, 2019. Pictured on the right with Drs. John and Lyn Billings, Dr. Odeblad became a close friend and collaborator of the Billings over the years. Best known for his remarkable discoveries of the properties of cervical mucus, Dr. Odeblad leaves us a legacy of significant research that also includes the purpose of the Pockets of Shaw and their role in identifying Peak Day, among other discoveries. We will feature him in our November newsletter.
BOMA-USA Exhibit at Catholic Medical Association Conference Was Inspirational
By Martha Winn, RN, BOMA-USA Education Chair
The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) is a national organization providing support and education to the Catholic health professional. Presently there are 104 physician “guilds” across the country. The local guild helps the healthcare professional stay up-to-date about issues of health care in their community/state and to build a network of support.
The CMA conference this year took place in Nashville, TN at the beautiful Opryland Hotel. Close to 900 physicians, health professionals, medical students, residents, clergy, and religious attended to gain Continuing Medical Education credits, pray, and enjoy fellowship. BOMA-USA was represented by a table of information in the exhibitor’s hall in the Tennessee Ballroom. The BOMA-USA banner is attractive with the words, “Pure and Simple!”. During the conference, I was pleased to “spread the word” with brochures, books, and information. Equally rewarding was the opportunity to shake hands with the many friends and supporters of the Billings Ovulation Method®.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Physician, Heal Thyself: Living the Fulfilled Life in Medicine”. The theme is a timely topic. I spoke to professionals from varied disciplines who discussed recent trends in medicine. The Catholic Church’s teaching on life from conception to natural death is central to the practice of their medicine. Our culture is often rife with confusion on the issue of life. This conference offered sessions addressing the concerns of the healthcare professional who is battling these issues daily. The professional must take care of their own personal needs in order to take care of others, including spiritual care. Sacramental confession, Mass, and Adoration were a large part of the conference.
I gave a presentation for one of the breakout sessions. My talk was entitled, “Fertility Awareness Method Management Education in Medical Practices: Empowering Patients to Participate in Care/Simplifying the Office Visit”. I discussed how to incorporate the fertility awareness information in a practice with the use of certified teachers as an allied health team member. Proper education of the patient will save time during the 10-minute office visit and in many cases will allow a more effective treatment plan. I included statements from a survey of professionals who are currently including the education in their practice to demonstrate effectiveness.
My respect and admiration for the CMA has grown by attending the conference. It is an encouragement to see a growth of practices offering fertility education. Credit is given to the CMA for this trend. For more information, access their website, https://www.cathmed.org/
Billings Fellowship Hour
In an effort to give more value to our treasured members, and as a way to connect teachers and other members throughout the country, we are announcing our new Billings Fellowship Hour.
It will be a free, members-only Zoom meeting which can be accessed on a computer or other device through a simple internet link. We will encourage video participation so that we will be able to see each other, react, and ask questions. It should be great fun! The plan is to offer the special hour each month on varying days and times.
The first Billings Fellowship Hour will be on Sunday, October 27 at 7 pm Central Time. Fr. Joe Hattie, O.M.I. of Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada will be our first guest. Fr. Hattie is the Spiritual Director for WOOMB International. A longtime friend of Drs. John and Lyn Billings, Fr. Hattie was a frequent participant at WOOMB conferences in Australia over the years. He will discuss a document he wrote called, “Spiritual Direction for Billings Ovulation Method Teachers.” Participants will hear his fascinating advice on how the devil can tempt us with good things that others are capable of doing instead of us in order to keep us from our Billings work.
To register for the October 27 meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please share with Sue any ideas for future guest speakers or topics, as well as suggestions for days of the week and times that you prefer to have the Fellowship Hour.
By Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
BOMA is getting the word out! Over the last few weeks, we have attended the FACTS meeting, completed our first healthcare student training initiative, produced our first podcast, and recorded a marketing interview for Catholic Radio in Dallas.
Attending the FACTS meeting in Dallas on Oct. 12 was very valuable. Bernadette May, RN and I shared responsibility for our display table with Alana Newman. Alana is one of our certified teachers and the star of Springtime Production’s documentary “Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae”. This film does a suburb job of profiling John and Evelyn Billings and we had it playing on screen at our booth. It is available on our website for sale. The booth traffic was very good, especially after Dr. Mary Martin gave her talk. We are grateful for how well Dr. Marguerite Duane balanced the presentations for all the methods, but we were especially proud of the final presentation given by Dr. Martin.
In collaboration with FACTS, we trained six healthcare students to teach the Billings Ovulation Method®. It was a combined effort by Martha Winn, RN, and Tony and Marianne Abadie. This was the first group to be trained as part of our Capital Campaign effort, for which we are actively fundraising. We are finalizing the way this training will be offered along with the budget and process for scholarships, which makes this first effort very helpful. Cooperation with other organizations is key to expanding our reach. If you would like to donate, click on the following link https://www.boma-usa.org/donate2.html.
Our very first “members-only” podcast was recorded and put on the website in October entitled “PCOS - Getting to the Root Cause”. You can access it on the new members resources page here https://www.boma-usa.org/401/login.php?redirect=/member-resources.html . It is password protected, so be sure to have your members password handy to access it. If you don’t remember what this is, please e-mail Sue Ek, Sue@BOMA-USA.org and she will provide this key requirement. We had the honor of interviewing Dr. Danielle Koestner, DO, about how she uses the Billings Ovulation Method® in her practice with a special emphasis on PCOS.
Finally, I got the opportunity to record an interview for Catholic Radio in Dallas. Our primary purpose is to get the word out about our health care student training effort and gain financial support. This will air as the KATH 910 AM “Interview of the Week” by Dave Palmer on Saturday, November 2nd beginning at approximately 3:30pm. It will also be on the Guadalupe Radio Network app after November 2nd, which can be found online at www.grnonline.com. You can also listen to it at your leisure by clicking on this link Craig Turczynski interview here.
Father Daniel McCaffrey, STD, (on the left) in Vietnam during the war in 1969
Q. Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in the Bronx, NY. I was raised in upper Manhattan and attended Catholic schools through high school.
Q. What inspired you to become a priest?
A number of things. My mother had two brothers who were priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, NY and the fact that I was an altar boy from the 7th grade through high school. So, I was associated with priests from my earliest years. To become one was my only ambition.
Q. Then, what happened?
I was accepted into the minor seminary at Providence College in Rhode Island. After that I went through the required studies and was ordained a priest in Washington, DC in June of 1958.
Q. Where were you first assigned?
I volunteered for the Pakistan Mission in 1959 and landed there on a liberty ship in December of the same year.
Q. How long were you in Pakistan?
All together about seven years. I was the pastor of a large parish in the port city of Karachi and was able to supervise the construction of a church and rectory while there.
Q. Where did you go after Pakistan?
In 1967, I came back home on leave with the hope of returning to Pakistan to teach at the regional seminary. So, I went off to study at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy and succeeded in receiving a Doctorate in Theology.
Q. Then what?
At that time the Vietnam Conflict was raging and our country was extremely short of Catholic chaplains. I felt it was my duty to volunteer in the United States Army Chaplain Corps.
After a year in Vietnam, I spent another nineteen years on active duty serving in Korea, Germany, and Honduras as well as numerous Army installations throughout the United States. I retired from active duty after 20 years.
Q. Where did you go then?
Archbishop Beltran of Oklahoma City welcomed me into his archdiocese and encouraged me to proclaim Humanae Vitae. I’ve been doing that ever since!
Q. It’s interesting you mention Humanae Vitae and its affirmation of responsible parenthood. Tell us more.
These issues have been front and center during my 61 years as a priest. I was just ordained when the birth control pill came out on the market. Almost everyone jumped on it as a great panacea. Pope Paul VI carefully studied its ramifications and finally declared it to be contraceptive. This ruling created a tremendous push-back that has continued to this very day.
Q. Why do you think the clergy has failed to preach on this matter?
I don’t want to judge, but the fact is they didn’t! Many excuses are put forth. Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, in a 1998 pastoral letter, relates what a priest told him. “I’m a priest. If I preach about what’s wrong with contraceptives, I’ll lose people.” The archbishop responded, “If priests don’t preach the Church’s message about contraception, Heaven loses people.” Well said!
Some clergy excuse themselves from mentioning the subject from the pulpit for fear of scandalizing the children. However, I can tell you from experience that a homily may be delivered in an engaging manner without scandalizing anyone while at the same time giving a clear, well-reasoned doctrinal explanation. Father Matthew Habiger, OSB, PhD and I have put together a pamphlet “Getting Beyond I Can’t” enumerating eight excuses given by clergy for not preaching Humanae Vitae. I’ll send a copy free of charge to anyone requesting it by calling my office at 405-942-4084.
Q. What can be done now?
Well, whatever it is, it must be done quickly. Today we have an urgent life and death situation on our hands.
A bishop in Germany 30 years ago begged me never to stop preaching on this cancer of contraception that was eating away at the Church. I assured him I’d always do so. Unfortunately, today the cancer has metastasized beyond one’s imagination. It has brought our Church and country to near destruction. However, I know Our Risen Lord’s promise to His people will never fail.
Q. Could you be more specific?
Well, let me tell you what I did many years ago at St. Stephen’s Church in Midland, Texas. The bishop there asked me to fill in as administrator for seven months due to an emergency situation. This gave me a chance to test out a plan to implement NFP in a parish. So, I preached at all the weekend Masses in a loving, non-judgmental way inviting them to an introductory NFP session on Monday evening. A skilled NFP instructor from Austin and her husband drove up to teach it. One hundred parishioners showed up for the class! Almost all of them signed up for further instruction. So, I flew in two other teachers from El Paso on various weekends to teach the NFP classes in order to accommodate the parishioners while they were there attending Mass, including Saturday and Sunday evenings.
To make a long story short, at the end of my stay at St. Stephen’s, 43 couples were trained in the theology and methodology of Humanae Vitae & NFP.
It’s a very preachable message! However, it must be continually proclaimed by gentle, persistent preaching at least five times over the course of a year at all the weekend Masses. Topics to be discussed may include pornography, modesty, contraception, sterilization, IVF, abortion, etc. This is not asking too much since the Culture of Death is everywhere doing the work of Satan. But to be successful, it must be done by the local priests and deacons. Our people have not rejected this teaching. They have just not heard it proclaimed!
Q. What is the role of the NFP instructor in all of this?
More than you might think! An American diocesan bishop wrote to me not so long ago that he thought, “…the Lord was lifting up many faithful and articulate lay persons to be engaged in this vital work and wondered if the Holy Spirit wanted them to be the primary servants of this task.” He may be right!
Q. What can an NFP instructor do in a parish setting?
Plenty! To be successful at this, a church community needs at least one highly-trained NFP couple salaried by the parish. This couple would be a wonderful asset for RCIA, CCD, adult education, marriage and baptismal preparation programs. Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, Australia says without this, a parish is not serious about the prophetic teaching of Pope Paul VI and his liberating message of life and love.
Q. Where do we go from here?
I welcome the opportunity to give parish missions. As I like to say, “Have chalice, will travel!” To learn more about the possibilities just go to our website: www.nfpoutreach.org.
Q. Any final thoughts?
President Teddy Roosevelt, a Presbyterian, told a group of mothers in 1905 that the country that buys into contraception commits national suicide – a prophesy coming true today. We have the saving truth, so let your light shine!
The WOOMB Directors are very grateful to those people who have offered financial support for the WOOMB African Sponsorship Fund for the Benin Conference. However, they still have a long way to go in raising funds. As Africa is a very large continent, it is likely that most delegates will have to come by air and the anticipated travel and accommodation costs are ~$1,400 per person. Please see the attached flyer and consider helping this international effort to make a difference in the lives of millions of African couples.
An Eric Genius Concert
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, sign up for the Eric Genius performance September 28th. It promises to be an inspirational afternoon. Bring a friend because all donations go towards the BOMA medical student education initiative and Eric’s prison ministry.
Dolores Clark (left), shown with Kay Ek (center) and Marian Corkill of WOOMB (right) enjoyed learning how to make a flower necklace while visiting Australia.
Faithful Billings Trainer, Dolores Clark, Passes Away at 88
We recently received the sad and surprising news that longtime Billings trainer and former BOMA-USA Education Chair, Dolores Clark, died on January 11, 2019, at the age of 88.
As a retired nursing professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, TX, Dolores helped write BOMA’s training materials. She graciously hosted BOMA meetings in her home where Billings leadership from around the country would gather to collaborate
Dolores was generous with her time, talent and treasure. She would personally pay for her transportation and hotel expenses for the many trainings she was a part of. This included trips to Australia for international conferences. At those conferences, she had the opportunity to meet with Drs. John and Lyn Billings and Dr. James Brown. As a former Creighton Model practitioner, Dolores was amazed with the science and simplicity of The Billings Method™ and worked tirelessly to ensure we were giving accurate information to new teachers.
Her daughter, Mary Clark Robinson, Ph.D., R.N., of Fort Worth, TX, said Dolores moved to memory care in September of 2018. “It was a struggle because she did not like being there. On her 88th birthday (January 2) she suffered a major stroke. She was placed in hospice care at that point.”
Mary said, “Teaching NFP was one of her greatest sources of pride and joy, and an opportunity to live her faith and profession!” She continued, “She loved children. Having a role in helping to bring more children into the world, as a nurse practitioner, and helping fertile and infertile couples achieve pregnancy was her vocation for sure!”
If you were part of a training with Dolores, you will no doubt remember her exhortation, “Have another baby!”
When notified of her passing, Marian Corkill of WOOMB wrote, “She was a very special lady. I was only thinking of her, yet again, yesterday.”
In the early part of 2000, when it became evident that Billings teachers in the United States were not current with the latest information from WOOMB, Marian said, “She made a huge contribution to the updating of Billings teachers in the USA at a time when it was not easy to stand up as she did.” Marian went on to write via email that she and her husband have very special memories of their time with Dolores and Jim Clark and their very generous hospitality. “We remember happy times spent with them in Dallas as well as the amazing road trips, both in the USA and Australia. We are grateful for these memories and their friendship. May she now be at peace with her Creator.”
So, it is with grateful hearts that we extend our prayers asking God to grant Dolores eternal happiness for all she did for us by always defending the truth of The Billings Method™.
From October 1 to December 31, we are running a contest for the highest number of new memberships raised by a BOMA member. Recruiting can be done by drawing in new members through your list of clients, healthcare providers, clergy, family, friends, women’s/men’s groups, etc. Just think how we can enrich the lives of so many by bringing them our monthly newsletters and opportunities to participate in webinars and other events. The winner will receive a copy of the new DVD, Sexual Revolution, and the book, Estrogeneration.
Membership dues are an important way to support BOMA-USA. All teachers and teachers-in-practicum are expected to pay dues in order to be listed on our website. Of course, not all members are teachers and we welcome anyone to join us. Members receive many benefits such as our monthly electronic newsletter, special members-only webinars and soon-to-happen free members-only Zoom meetings featuring special guest speakers. Members also receive quantity discounts to our store that are only accessible through their membership.
Over the years, September has been our month for renewing annual membership dues. Although the New Year (January 1) might seem logical, we chose to avoid adding another bill to your busy Christmas season.
The board has voted to increase the price of dues to $75 per person next year, and so we are offering an additional incentive to you this year. If you would like to keep your dues at $50 per person for the next three years, you can do that by opting into our auto-renewal system. Just pay your $50 dues now, and select “auto-renew” in the link. We are also giving members the opportunity to help cover our credit card processing fees by having the option to add $1.75 per $50 dues payment. (PayPal charges us 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction.) While $1.75 may not seem like much, if everyone covers that cost, it will save us a great deal in the long run. And, as always, we welcome your additional donations and have set up the system with several donation levels.
If you have any questions, please email Sue at email@example.com.
By Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
Two articles on hormonal contraception and mental health, published out of Denmark, have resulted in much interest and discussion among BOMA board members and staff. The studies are somewhat confusing because the results are reported as relative risk rates. We wanted to make sure you are aware of these results and are armed with what the data means.
The first article by Skovlund et al., was published in 2016 and evaluated over 1 million women for an average of 6.4 years. They measured the rate of first-time users of anti-depressants or first-time diagnosis of depression at a psychiatric hospital. They compared the rates between women using various forms of hormonal contraception against non-users, and concluded that the use of hormonal contraception was associated with subsequent use of antidepressants and first diagnosis of depression. The actual incidence was less than 1% difference between the groups (2.2% vs 1.7%) but because the number of women studied was large, the difference was statistically significant. This means that the result could be attributed to the use of hormonal contraception. Some of the other significant findings were:
Overall the study results were conclusive: the incidence of depression was 2-3-fold higher for women on some form of contraception. But perhaps the medical community is not overly concerned about this data because essentially the actual rate went from slightly less than 2% to 2-3%. What truly sprung from this study is the realization and need for a second study.
The second paper was published in 2018 by the same authors (Skovlund et al., 2018) and looked at the rates of suicide attempt and suicide in hormonal contraception users compared to never-users. There are a few reasons why this data is significant.
The number of study subjects were very significant (Nearly a half-million were followed for 8.3 years.)
Suicide or suicide attempt is a much more objective measure than depression. Either they did or did not attempt or commit suicide.
The results reached statistical significance and like the previous study, the highest risk was found among women 15-19 years of age who were using progestin only products, and non-oral implants.
Again, the paper is difficult to interpret because they report the results as relative risk rates. Using this measure, the rates averaged 97% higher for suicide attempt and over 200% higher for suicide. But if you look at the actual incidence, it is a small percentage even for the adolescent group at 2,196 suicide attempts for 786,497 person years or about 0.3%. The significance of this is that “hormonal contraception leads to 1,400 more suicide attempts and 12 more suicide deaths per 1 million people years”. Some may not think that number is significant, but I would like to point out that even one suicide death is substantial, especially when the medication is not being given for a life-threatening reason in the first place. As Hippocrates put it “abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous”. Also, suicide is the extreme manifestation of the side effect called “mood disorders.” If 12 women die from suicide and an additional 1,400 attempt suicide, many more may be experiencing a lack of wellbeing and mood alterations that go unreported. Those mood disorders lead to difficulties in relationships, family life, and work. How do you begin to measure that cost on society?
Once again, I would like to emphasize that the Billings Ovulation Method® is as effective as hormonal contraception when used according to the rules, and it has absolutely no harmful side effects.
Scovlund et al., (2018) Association of Hormonal Contraception with Suicide Attempts and Suicides. Am J Psychiatry. Vol 175, 4.
Skovlund et al., (2016) Association of Hormonal Contraception with Depression. JAMA Psychiatry. Vol 73, 11.
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.