I had buried my 4th baby in 2006. This was after burying an aborted baby and babies who were full term and then were thrown away in the trash alive. Even though I felt called to bury the dead, I thought how totally horrible this all was and I did not want to do it any more. I was absolutely disgusted and it made me angry. So one spring morning, my friend called me, “Hey¬†Lise, did you see in the news today that a baby was found thrown away in a trash can on Young Street in Metairie. It was Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras. Are you going to bury this baby?” Instead of saying no, like I wanted to, I said, “If God wants me to bury this baby, than someone will call me.” And I slammed the phone down, thinking that is it. No one will call because no one knew I did this. I marched out of my house to get into my car to go to my hair appointment. I stopped and looked at my oak tree on my front lawn. It was beautiful and I paused and I tried to compose myself. I sighed and said this prayer, “Ok God, you know I will do it if you want me to, but this is so horrible. Please let me know for sure that you want me to do this.” As soon as I got to the hairdresser’s I got a call on my cell phone, from a woman who said, “Hi, I am a police officer. I heard what you do. ( I was shocked at her words. How did she know? ) She continued, “I was on duty when they found a baby on Young Street. It was a baby girl. She was 28 weeks in gestation, naked, wrapped in newspaper with the umbilical cord still attached. She had straight black hair (the officer also had straight black hair) She proceeded,” When I was 16 years old I found out that I was pregnant. I was scared, but I told my parents, of coarse, it was hard, but later, as time went on, we all started getting excited about the birth of this little child. But tragically I lost my baby at 28 weeks. The baby that was found on Young Street was also 28 weeks in gestation, I don’t think it was an accident.” She further said,” I would like to help you bury this baby.” I could tell she needed closure. I could see the hand of God in what I was doing. I said, “I would love for you to name the baby, but don’t do it now, I want you to pray about it.”

The mother and the Father of this baby that was thrown away, was never found and this story never made it in the newspapers. So therefore, the parents never knew I buried their baby.

While I was preparing for the burial of this baby, I was invited to speak to The Pro-Life Club at Jesuit High School in New Orleans by Fr. Hermes. I brought the baby’s outfit to show the boys what the baby girl was going to wear. By clothing her, we wanted to give her dignity, instead of being wrapped up in newspaper. One of the young men in the classroom gallantly raised his hand high up in the air and like a solider stood up straight and tall. He proudly proclaimed, “I would like to offer to you my father’s services.” I questioned, “Oh, what kind of service?” He explained, ” My Father is a carpenter and he could make the casket for you.” I was impressed with this young man.

Oh what a beautiful casket it was! Then I received a phone call from his mother who asked me, what was the sex of this child? She told me that her husband made the casket and she lined the inside with a red satin. She explained, “By making this casket, this was the most spiritual 3 days of my life.”

The day of the Funeral, it was beautiful, the Jesuit boys from the Pro-Life Club was there, the police officer was there, and the Priest, Fr. Hermes did the services. We honored a special baby, who would not be forgotten by us, not an indigent baby, but she became family to us and we claimed her as our own. We gave meaning to her short life, she was not alone. We showed love, respect and gave dignity by her hand made gown and a casket made in the labor of love. She was not trash but a treasure. The police officer stepped forward and placed a flower on the tiny casket and gave this baby girl her name, Hope. That day, I believe our actions echoed into eternity while the angels sang and God smiled.