The extraordinary life of John Paul II — one of the most beloved popes in history and among the greatest leaders of the 20th Century — inspired us to create The John Paul II Life Center. Our founder, Tim Von Dohlen, recalls the concept came to mind in 2005 when Blessed John Paul II completed his journey on Earth and four million people descended on the Vatican to say goodbye.
“As I contemplated the life of this great man,” Von Dohlen said, “a quote of his kept going over and over in my mind:
America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless.
“I felt challenged,” Von Dohlen said. “I had to do something.”
Building a Culture of Life
Within days of the pope’s burial, Von Dohlen and a group of pro-life Austin leaders rose to that challenge. After about a year, Von Dohlen and his wife Pat partnered with friends Chris and Sheri Danze to create the framework for The John Paul II Life Center. Their vision was unique to Central Texas: create a respected, pro-life medical clinic, provide assistance and state-of-the-art sonograms for women facing unexpected pregnancies, conduct widespread outreach on chaste living for young people, and education in the science of Natural Family Planning for married couples.
It would take five years of hard work, and the prayers and support of many, to realize their vision. The John Paul II Life Center opened on October 12, 2010, with full tax-exempt status and a passion for building a Culture of Life in Texas.
Chris & Sheri Danze (left) and Pat & Tim Von Dohlen (right) welcome the Medical Director of the Vitae Clinic and his wife, Dr. Jeremy and Heather Kalamarides, (center) to Austin during a reception at St. John Neumann Catholic Church on August 3, 2010.
In God’s Time
Despite many hardships and disappointments along the way, Von Dohlen says a growing community of supporters persevered to make The John Paul II Life Center a reality.
“Each of our challenges took many hours to understand and solve,” Von Dohlen said. “Most of all it took perseverance and faith that God would see us through if we but trusted in Him.”
“When God gives us a vision . . .He doesn’t show us the whole picture up front,” Von Dohlen said. “He does it in stages so we won’t get overwhelmed. And He does it on His time, not ours.”
The mission of the John Paul II Life Center is to help build a Culture of Life structured on the Catholic faith through pro-life medical care and educational programs.
The vision of the John Paul II Life Center is to:
- Successfully operate a pro-life medical clinic that provides wellness, prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care for women, expectant mothers and babies.
- Foster the establishment of other pro-life entities.
- Help build a Culture of Life. “America, your very future as a nation depends on your willingness to protect the Right to Life of the most defenseless in your society.” Blessed Pope John Paul II
- Encourage prayer for those threatened or hurt by abortion.
To operate and manage a medical clinic directed by a physician Ob/Gyn, trained in NaPro Technology, as the medical director which offers medical care in conformity with Catholic teachings.
- To offer crisis pregnancy assistance for women in need.
- To operate a sonogram center which serves both the patients of the medical clinic and women in crisis pregnancies.
- To facilitate or offer education for married couples on Natural Family Planning including the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, Sympto-Thermal Method, and the Ovulation Method.
- To create a loving and respectful environment that supports and enhances the dignity of the woman and her child(ren) including a chapel or meditation room available for patients, employees and visitors.
- To assure that all employees and volunteers understand the center’s vision, mission and goals. (Each said person will be asked to sign a statement expressing that understanding and agreement to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services.)
- To arrange for prominent speakers as a means of educating and enlightening men and women.