New respect life coordinator
Maggie Eisenbarth always has been pro-life because she always has loved babies and things that were small like flowers, seeds and robins’ eggs.
Her parents, Dan and Sue Lynch, taught her how to pray, be charitable and sacrifice. “My nine children remind me that I have a duty to present them in heaven to Christ and inspire me to show them the beauty, truth and goodness in our world,” she said.
Eisenbarth is the new respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington, and she hopes to help facilitate a strong Vermont Catholic identity and to see every parish in Vermont “have a clear understanding that pro-life is pro all life — the unborn, vulnerable, the single mother, the disabled, the homeless, the sick, the suffering, the addicts, the distraught, the elderly and the dying,” she said. “I see Vermont Catholics as the resource for the single mother, the woman wounded from abortion, in addition to [the parish as a] space where dialogue can begin and grow to a call to greatness, where life is revered and dignity for all life respected.”
Raised in Alburgh, she attended Mass at St. Amadeus Church there and at St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Swanton. She and her husband began their family in Montana and recently moved back to Vermont where they attend Mass at Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Morrisville.
She has been involved in business and parish work and said she has “learned that hobbies aren’t what we do in our spare time but what we enjoy doing with our time, aside from life’s obligations,” She enjoys reading, playing piano, singing, writing, tending garden, cooking for a crowd, reimagining second-hand furniture, remodeling and interior design, acting, performing in musicals and pretending to be in the company of such figures as Henry David Thoreau, G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day.
Eisenbarth’s pro-life sentiments run deep. “I was probably one of maybe five kids in high school writing papers on why abortion was wrong and was often the solo voice in college debates and late-night conversations defending life,” she said. “I knew that conceiving a life was a decision, and if conceived in force my pro-woman stance defended that that child needed a ‘warrior’ mom. I became a walking advertisement for my opinions and beliefs among secular friends when I not only had my first child at 21 but my second at 22 with seven more to follow.”
For Eisenbarth, the challenges in Vermont to the pro-life position are what she called a strong secular “religion” and the idea that those who are pro-life do not care for women. “The assumption [is] that we only care for the unborn and disregard the woman. We have a lot of myth-busting work to do. I think it is a disservice to paint a picture of pregnancy, childbirth, raising a disabled child or caring for a dying grandmother as flowery and beautiful when the reality is it is hard, it is hard for those with financial comfort and family support and much harder for those without,” she said. “Therefore, I pray that together we can create a mosaic that the struggles, challenges and hardships are worth it, that life is beautiful with all its many broken pieces.”
She plans to use social media, publications and public speaking to bring together Vermonters for life, show them how the Church cares and where they can get the love and support they need to raise their children and care for their families and those in their community.
—Eisenbarth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-658-6110 ext. 1201.