Mother of 8 always has more room
This was the title of a “Mother’s Day Story” printed in the May 1993 issue of The Interim. In that article Grace Petrasek tells Rosemary’s story.
Clayton and Rosemary Connell are a typical prolife couple. They love children. Their house is full of them. Tuan and Lien—who were among the boat people—and the two South American boys, are adopted. And four of their own makes eight.
Their home in Port Perry, Ont. (they have since moved) is also a haven for pregnant mothers in difficult circumstances. Rosemary simply takes them home after she finishes a shift of sidewalk counseling at an abortuary in Toronto.
First came Anna with little Joseph from Dominica, who stayed for six months. Than came 16 year old Angelica. Since September Cindy and her 2 little daughters have found a home at the Connell’s. Rosemary truly lives her pro-life convictions: beside her direct pro-life work: offering help and hope to mothers and her active involvement in Liberals for Life. (She was recognized as “the most valuable volunteer in the Liberal party.”) She does respite care for parents with handicapped children, takes in foster children, leads a youth group in the church, works for the concern society, etc., a Canadian version of “Mother Theresa.”
On September 2, two days after Justice Adams court order came into effect (no counselling within 60 feet of named abortuaries), Rosemary, Linda Gibbons and Bill Whatcott continued with their daily activities, offering help and hope to women in crisis situations. All three were arrested, charged and found guilty of “obstructing a peace officer.”
On May3, at the sentence hearing, Rosemary was fined $500.00. The crown-attorney
(the same one who assured a 6 month jail sentence for Linda Gibbons and Bill Whatcott) was adamant to put Rosemary behind bars for 6 months as well.
The presiding Judge Porter agreed with Blaise McLean—Rosemary’s lawyer— that no purpose would be served to incarcerate such a vibrant and valuable member of our society. On May 15, (a day late for—but meant to be–Mother’s Day surprise) the Connell’s had a visitor. One of metro’s finest drove in from Toronto to present her with a notice that the sentence she received a week earlier had been appealed.
Some of the reasons stated:
The fine being too lenient for the seriousness of the offence (standing on a side walk in front of an abortuary); that at the sentence hearing—too much emphasis was placed on Rosemary’s background; that Maria Corsilla had not been allowed to testify at the sentencing hearing; that a $500.00 fine was not consistent with earlier convictions (6 months in jail).
It is interesting to note, that while we were waiting in the court room that day, a 3 month jail sentence was given to a woman convicted of robbing a store. Her record revealed many serous offenses.