As a registered nurse and Certified FertilityCare Educator, Diane Daly has been working in reproductive and fertility care for years, but she is particularly excited about the new program coming out of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, called Wonder of Eve.
This fresh, engaging, and health-centered digital presentation for young women of high school age, generally sophomore year and older, can be offered in a school or youth group setting. The focus of the program is to help young women understand not only their inherent beauty as women created by God, but also how their bodies work, and how their health and fertility fits into God’s plan for their lives. This includes introducing them to the concept of tracking their cycles throughout the various stages of their lives; the types of reproductive health issues they might encounter; and the treatments, like NaProTechnology, that are available to them. “Artificial hormonal treatment – birth control pills – are often prescribed for everything from menstrual cramps and unusual bleeding to Premenstrual Tension Syndrome, all of which may affect women of every age, and they do not cure the cause of the symptoms,” says Diane. “We want [young women] to know of an alternative for their consideration and discussion with their doctors that focuses on diagnosing the underlying cause of a woman’s condition and treating it, rather than treating only the symptoms.”
But it was actually Diane’s niece who inspired the NFP team in St. Louis to create a health-focused presentation on female reproductive issues:
One morning, my niece and I met for breakfast. I brought up the subject to her, asking for her perspective, as a young millennial familiar with tracking her cycles, on how to be more effective in reaching young women. She suggested we focus on the topic as a part of women’s health in high school, instead of only presenting NFP in religion classes from a theological perspective. She encouraged us to present in a health class or environment with a focus on health, identifying the different stages of a women’s reproductive life and how a woman can actually track these changes and understand them. She felt this different approach might get their attention more completely and be more interesting to them. So we decided to try it.”
This new, health-focused approach worked. After Diane gathered a team together that included a pediatrician, another nurse besides herself, fertility care providers and a marketer to develop the presentation, the Wonder of Eve program was created, and since then, it has been met with an overwhelming positive response. “Faculty, youth groups, and students appreciate the presentation, and the information and knowledge they now possess that they never had before,” says Diane. Requests for the program have increased, and there are plans underway to copyright the program. In the future there are hopes to translate it into a variety of languages to meet the new demand from other countries. While the restrictions in place due to COVID-19 meant that the program had to be presented in an entirely virtual manner, this new challenge has broadened the scope of the program’s reach beyond the local schools and youth groups; the program is now offered on a national and international level and available to any interested community. “It has grown much bigger than we ever expected, and it is heartwarming to see the result of presenting this information with the hope that it will be life-changing for young women as they make decisions about their reproductive health.”
In her work in Natural Family Planning and fertility care, the response to the information presented by Wonder of Eve that Diane hears again and again is this: “Why didn’t I know this before?” Says Diane, “Women often regret poor choices they have made in the past because they did not understand that there were other options.” The goal of Wonder of Eve is to make certain that today’s young women are made aware of the effective reproductive health options that respect their health, their bodies, and their fertility, and recognize them as gifts.
As a Catholic wife and mother of four, Diane had a personal desire to offer an alternative to the present culture’s contraceptive mentality, and to help build a culture of life for her children, which would include a healthy understanding of their bodies, their sexuality, and her and her husband’s pro-life vision. So when, years ago, she was approached by a physician, inviting her to participate as a member of an NFP research team (which later became identified as Creighton Model FertilityCare Services), she jumped at the chance, beginning a lifelong career in NFP and reproductive care. Her work has taken her all over the United States and around the world; for Diane, the need for programs that help young women grow in respect and knowledge of their bodies and their fertility is universal. Currently, she is a faculty member of the St. Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction Education Programs, Manager of the Department of Fertility Care Services at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, and Director of Natural Family Planning for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. These positions, which are continuously informed and inspired by the teachings of St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II, and guided by the Holy Spirit, give Diane the opportunity to reach out to women and couples and to develop new programs to assist with this vision of a culture of life, and to help empower others to do the same.
Diane became a member of Regnum Christi a few years after her son, Father David Daly, was ordained a Legionary priest in 2001 (Father David is currently serving as Territorial Vicar for the Legionaries of Christ in the North American Territory), and it is her vocation to Regnum Christi and the graces she receives from prayer and team life that helps to sustain her in her professional and apostolic work in NFP and fertility care. “I think the main thing that Regnum Christi has cemented in my mind is the call to bring others to heaven; it is not enough to take care of ourselves and our families, we must reach out to as many as we can influence to become closer to Christ,” says Diane. “And I realize that apostolate without a strong prayer life will be not effective.” And she credits her St. Louis Regnum Christi team for supporting and encouraging her in her work. “I appreciate so much the insights that my team members share during our reflections, and am amazed and humbled at the breadth of service they provide to the Church.” Diane is grateful, too, to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, for its constant support; it was the Annual Catholic Appeal of the diocese that provided the funding that allowed Diane and her team to create Wonder of Eve.
For Diane, the enormous amount of time, patience, and resources that it took to launch the Wonder of Eve program has already paid off, and the fruits only continue to multiply. The archdiocese has already released another program, called Beauty of Eve, which is a companion program to Wonder of Eve directed towards women of college age and beyond, and presents the Church’s teachings on love and life in a direct, informative, and authentic manner. This program, too, has already received positive feedback and borne fruit: “The presentation has resulted in some women wanting to learn more about their cycles and how to live in harmony with their fertility.” In the future, Diane and her team hope to be able to produce a program specifically tailored for young men. “There is a huge need worldwide for programs that help young men and women grow in respect for their bodies and their fertility,” says Diane. “We pray to ask God to work through us.”
For more information about the Wonder of Eve program, check out their trailers here and here, or visit the Wonder of Eve link on the archdiocese of St. Louis website. For more information, or to inquire about presenting the Wonder of Eve program in your parish or school community, email Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.