Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
While Universities are creating an army of doctors and nurses trained to administer pharmaceuticals and perform invasive procedures on women, how can we hope to combat this and make an impact in our society? We believe we are a force for good, but are we relevant against the current culture? As you ponder these questions, it becomes clear that our effectiveness is determined by our resources.
Donations to BOMA are what have allowed us to continue our mission of providing the simplest and most personalized care in fertility education. BOMA supporters give generously of their time and talent, making them the lifeblood of the organization, but without financial support, we would not exist. Currently and historically, BOMA does not cover its operating costs through the services it provides. Furthermore, there are many wonderful ideas and ambitious goals that the organization simply cannot pursue due to a lack of resources. Any organization, for-profit or non-profit, must use a laser-like focus in order to succeed and grow. Therefore, it was important that we identify which goals would have the greatest impact while leveraging our strengths and experience. This self-reflection has led to the pursuit of our 2019 capital campaign with the goal of training 250 medical and nursing students on the Billings Ovulation Method®. Before explaining the campaign, I want to share a personal story that demonstrates the problem so many NFP-trained women and couples experience when seeking medical care.
I had the privilege of teaching my daughter Alexa NFP when she was 15. Years later, after being married, her charting was able to elucidate a form of PCOS that conventional methods would not have diagnosed. Her NFP-trained physician was able to read her charts and improve her irregular cycles, and within a few months of treatment, Alexa conceived. Unfortunately, my daughter relocated shortly afterwards and started seeing a non-NFP-trained Ob-Gyn for maternity care. Although Alexa was showing signs of luteal insufficiency, the conventionally trained physician wanted to wait to treat her for this until she started bleeding. Not comfortable with this “wait and see” approach, my daughter consulted her NFP physician by phone who immediately prescribed progesterone supplementation. The two physicians’ opposing views would not permit them to work together, so she continued to consult the NFP-trained physician for progesterone monitoring remotely and the other Ob-Gyn for her maternity care. She had a normal pregnancy and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. During one of her postpartum appointments, the non-NFP-trained Ob-Gyn told my daughter that NFP was not going to work for her after having the baby and recommended that she start using some other form of birth control. Alexa fortunately said, “no thank you” and went on using NFP successfully during lactation, while transitioning back to fertility, and afterwards.
This is just one example of how women must navigate through their medical care after they have made the decision to use NFP. I am sure most teachers of the Billings Ovulation Method® have similar stories. Imagine how it is for women who don’t have access to an NFP-trained physician or don’t even know that NFP is an option because their physician doesn’t offer it. The next generation of physicians, nurses, PAs, and other allied health professionals are the ones who can create change for our future. Arming them with the knowledge of the Billings Ovulation Method® while they are in school and before they start practicing will give them confidence to persevere through the current culture in reproductive medicine.
Experienced fund-raisers will tell you that donors like to know what their contribution will accomplish. Our campaign gives us a strong story to tell. Since a typical medical practice will see about 92 patients a week, one medical professional can have over 4000 appointments a year and 90,000 during their career. The health professional’s position gives them credibility, so the potential impact to women’s health is enormous! When you add the additional benefits using the Billings Ovulation Method® has on the husband and family, the result of training one healthcare provider is overwhelmingly powerful!
To achieve our goal, we need to raise $255,000 over the next 12-18 months. This budgets for 250 student trainings and will add some funds for helping established physicians implement fertility awareness-based methods into their practices. Most of this budget will be used to pay for the trainers and deliver the education to the students in remote and in-person training sessions. It also covers the administrative costs of implementing the program and the ongoing revenue development activities needed to fund it. This will cause BOMA to thrive and grow, allowing us to pursue the goals we all want our organization to achieve.
Many of you reading this are already donors, therefore I want to challenge you to consider who you know in your own network who might have the desire to help us. If you are not currently a donor, please consider making a tax-deductible donation towards our campaign. We are in the networking and prospecting stage, using small grassroots meetings and one-to-one discussion to sell the BOMA brand. Please email Craig@BOMA-USA.org if you have leads or contacts, and I will contact you to carefully consider how they can be approached. We also humbly ask for your prayers as we proceed.
Thank you for being BOMA supporters.
God’s blessings to you and your loved ones.
Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
Q. Tell us about your family.
Well, I have 3 sons and 9 grandchildren. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. We had very strong parents, and our family is very close. When my husband left, my parents and my siblings did everything they could to help me raise my boys, and I am eternally grateful to them. My sons are all married with children. They are all still in the Church, and I'm very proud of them.
Q. You’re one of the old-timers in the Billings arena. How long ago did you first get involved, and how did things evolve into you being the first NFP director for the Diocese of Memphis?
I love being an old-timer too. I learned the Billings Method in 1976. I didn't actually learn it very well, but I was so grateful for the knowledge that there really was a way to know about our fertility. I just knew I had to tell people about it. I thought, "Everyone needs to know about mucus!" I never intended to be a teacher, but God had other plans for my life. My idea of birth control was self-control while trying to use the Rhythm Method. I always knew God would give me the children He wanted me to have, and of course He did.
I sort of got hooked into becoming a teacher because back then, if you learned the Method, you could be a teacher. I can't say I did a great job in the beginning either! Once I saw that we really needed some kind of structure, three of us tried to put together a program offering Billings classes 4 times a year. I wrote up an outline so we would have something to follow, and we did that for several years. In 1982 St. Joseph Hospital here in Memphis wanted to open a Center for Life and include and NFP Center in it. I was asked if I wanted to be in charge there. I said no. God said yes, and so I did for 6 years. When the hospital closed and the property was sold to St. Jude Hospital, St. Francis Hospital gave me a room and we had classes there. Later in 1988, the Diocese of Memphis took on me and the NFP Center, and that's how I became the director.
Q. Your program became well-known as being strongly Billings. In fact, didn’t you have the Drs. Billings speak in Memphis? Tell us about that experience.
We were so blessed to have John and Lyn Billings come to Memphis in 1985. There were some wonderful benefactors here, Paul and Joan Mahoney, who wanted to bring them to Memphis to speak to all the doctors in the city along with all the priests. Paul always told me I was doing the most important work in the Church. J. Francis Stafford was our bishop then, and he was so happy to have the Drs. Billings come here. I made sure they were booked the entire time they were here, from TV and radio interviews, talks at the Catholic high schools, a doctors' dinner, a priests' luncheon, and talks at a parish and nursing school. I wore them completely out, but I wanted everyone in the city to hear about their wonderful work. When I picked them up at the airport, I told them I had done all I knew to promote their visit, but I had no idea how many people would come. In his great humility, John Billings said to me, "Mary Pat, if only one person comes, that person is the reason we came to Memphis." That really put me at ease, and we had wonderful crowds at every event.
Dr. Hanna Klaus also had them here in Memphis during a BOMA conference in 1994. I have so many wonderful memories of being with them during that time too.
Q. What was it like being a founding member of the board for what used to be known as the Diocesan Development Program for NFP (of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Was there any particular initiative that the board took on that had lasting effects to this day?
The DDP was established earlier, but in 1986, I was asked to be on a committee to look at ways to help the dioceses improve their programs for teaching NFP. That committee became the National NFP Advisory Board, and we ended up writing the National Standards for Diocesan NFP Programs for the USCCB.
Q. As a trainer and supervisor of Billings teachers over many years, if you could sit down with each teacher both new and old, what advice would you give them?
Wow, I wish I really could do that! I guess the main thing I would say is always teach with love and make sure you are teaching the authentic Billings Ovulation Method without variations or alterations. Use the BOMA materials, the BOMA slides Parts 1 and 2 and the BOMA Review booklet. Make sure you do the proper follow-up with your clients every 2 weeks when they are learning. Know that you are doing a wonderful ministry to teach people about the marvelous way their bodies are designed by God and that their fertility is a great gift that can be understood and managed without harmful chemicals.
And of course, as Lyn Billings always taught us, KEEP IT SIMPLE! You don't have to teach everything you know. Give your clients the information that they need to learn to pay attention to their sensation at the vulva and the appearance of any discharge they might happen to see each day. Teach them how to chart their observations accurately each evening and teach them the 4 Rules. Teach the 3 requirements for Peak and the definition of Peak clearly and repeat those important things over and over. This is all new to most people, so be patient with your clients and help them gain confidence in themselves and their ability to know and love their fertility. And remember, you are doing the most important work in the Church!!
Q. Your work with our Education Committee has been tremendous! The newly designed PowerPoints and matching Review booklets have been a great help to our teachers. What inspired the creation of them?
It is my understanding that the last set of BOMA slides was needing an update so the new slides resulted from that update project. All BOMA teachers should be using the new slides Parts 1 and 2 when teaching the Billings Method now so we can know that the Billings Method™ is being taught accurately and consistently in the U.S. without variation.
Q. We also know you as the founder of the Mother/Daughter, Father/Son Program that started in Memphis but has been used in other dioceses. How did that come about, what does it entail, and is it still available for Billings teachers who might be interested in presenting it?
In 1986, our little group of NFP teachers wanted to find a way to share the knowledge we had learned, and we thought we could help mothers talk to their daughters about growing up and the changes of early adolescence with regards to their emerging fertility. We just sort of made up the program and hoped people would come. We thought if 20 people came, we would call it a success. Well, we filled up the auditorium at St. Joseph Hospital and had to schedule another one that first year. Mothers have been grateful ever since. They wanted another program for older girls and they wanted one for their sons, so I put together a very rough manual at the request of Fr. Paul Marx of Human Life International. The word spread, and NFP teachers around the country were presenting our Mother/Daughter and Father/Son Fertility Appreciation and Chastity Programs. They were such a great gift from God.
It is very important that only NFP teachers and users present the programs because they believe the truth and live it. The manual was put on the Diocese of Memphis website, but it's not there anymore. If anyone wants to look at it, just send me an email at email@example.com and I'll be happy to send the file to you. It's nothing fancy and it's really old, but the information is there to help anyone who wants to present the programs.
Q. You’re a relatively new retiree. When did you retire from the Memphis diocese, and what are you doing with all of your time?
I wish I could tell you I have a lot of free time, but I really don't. I retired almost 2 years ago, but I am still very involved with BOMA as a trainer and supervisor and member of the Education Committee. I totally love to train new teachers, and I am a stickler for teaching it right. But once they learn, they will have it forever, and that makes me very happy. I also love to go on a cruise any time I can afford it, and I love spending time with my family and my grandchildren. I am also a huge Elvis fan, so I have to have some Elvis fun at least twice a year doing Elvis Week and the Tupelo Elvis Festival.
I try to go to noon Mass every day, and that is always my strength.
By Ann Marschel
I want you to think about this for a little bit. Do you think of teaching the Billings Ovulation Method® (BOM) as a ministry or a business? I think most of us think of it as a ministry.
Ministry, by definition from Webster, is the spiritual work or service of any Christian. Teaching BOM is a ministry, but it also can be a business. It can be a business that allows you to help others while also making a profit and not burning out because you have lots of other jobs you are doing.
For the April webinar, BOMA-USA hosted Anna Saucier, who spoke on the promotion of the Billings Ovulation Method®. She was a dynamite speaker and gave some helpful tips on how to make teaching BOM a business and not to underplay what we, as teachers, have to offer our clients.
As I was listening to Anna speak, her words hit home for me. I can recall many times when I have spoken with clients and gone through the process of how they will learn the method with me. Then, at the end, the question comes: “How much will this cost?”
First off, I am not a salesperson. I don’t really care for that line of work at all. In fact, I steer away from it. Instead, I am someone who thinks that ALL people should learn BOM, and I believe in the message of NFP.
After this question is asked, I find myself stumbling over my words. I want to help all people learn the method, yet will they put as much effort into learning the method if they don’t have some money invested in it? Maybe or maybe not?
Overall, we want clients to feel like they are of value, and we don’t want to make it seem like a huge amount of money is needed to learn the Billings Ovulation Method®. Yet, do we charge them a huge amount of money? No. Most teachers charge $150 to $250. Plus, when they learn the method, they have it in their toolbox for the rest of their lives!
Anna said, “Those who pay, pay attention. And the more they pay, the more attention they pay.”
She goes onto say that you can approach your clients by stating, “These are my rates. I provide excellent service, and if you take these classes, they will change your life.”
This is another truth. We all know and love what the Billings Ovulation Method® provides. We value it so much that we want everyone to learn it. That is why we teach it. We can and should charge clients a professional rate and not feel bad about it. After all, we have over 850,000 hormonal studies to back up the science of the method.
Common Objections to Charging Professional Rates
Even with this, there may still be hesitation to charge a professional rate. You may think people won’t pay that much. I would like to encourage you to reframe your thinking. Is learning BOM valuable? If someone says to you, “That is too expensive,” you could ask. “Compared to what?”
This is a lifetime method.
Maybe you think people in your city can’t and won’t be able to pay that much. Anna said this, “The people who can’t afford it may not be your purpose right now (depending if you’re trying to grow a business). Do not undervalue this professional service.” In the future, these people may benefit if you can have scholarship funds for them.
By viewing the Billings Ovulation Method® as a medical tool for fertility awareness and instilling this knowledge in our clients, we will change their lives and the world.
If you have ever wondered what you should do with your vast array of NFP-related materials when you retire, fear not! The answer is a simple as packing everything up and sending your box (or boxes, no doubt) to the National NFP Archives located at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, FL.
Hand chosen years ago by a small committee begun by, now deceased, Larry Kane of the Human Life and Natural Family Planning Foundation, Ave Maria was picked because of the care they promised to take in preserving the historic pieces.
Jennifer Nodes, director of library services for Canizaro Library at Ave Maria University, said the NFP archives are stored in a climate-controlled room and files are kept in archival boxes that are pH neutral.
To date, Nodes reports that they have 178.5 linear feet of NFP materials, totaling 2,364 volumes. She added, “The archives have been used more frequently by researchers both within the institution and outside. We have had several researchers this year come to view files within the archives for publications. As the archives are made more visible and more researchers become aware of them, we will see an increase in use. It is our hope that someday much of the archives will be digitized and made available online for researchers.”
Since they host the only NFP archive in the country, Nodes said it would be helpful for recording the history of the movement if they continue to update the collection, particularly regarding new developments in NFP.
Retired OB/Gyn and Medical Missionary Sister Hanna Klaus, MD, said of the archives, “It’s very valuable having a place to send materials.” Over the years, Klaus sent boxes of her treasured correspondence and other documents to Ave Maria University. As the founder of TeenSTAR, she is considering the library as a place that may make the most sense to house the historical background of TeenSTAR.
While shipping is at your expense, it will be well worth the time and effort to preserve a piece of history. They welcome everything from educational and promotional materials (books, brochures, CDs, etc.) to personal correspondence with leaders in the field as well as news articles and just about anything that would be of interest to researchers both now and in the future.
5251 Donahue Street
Ave Maria, FL 34142
To find aids for the collection CLICK HERE
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.