Friday, December 01, 2006

Help Sophia Institute

God knocked St. Paul off his horse
but He chose to convert me with a gruff man,a severed foot, and the face of a little child.
It was 1962. I was fifteen, an atheist, and a first-time Red Cross volunteer. With bag lunch in hand, I stepped into the hospital's tiny pathology lab and introduced myself to the stern-faced man who ran it.He could have been the twin brother of Sonny Liston,the soon-to-be heavyweight champion of the world.

"I'm Tyler," he said. "Put your lunch in that refrigerator." I opened the refrigerator, leaned forward, and gasped. There, just where I was about to place my lunch, lay a severed human foot!Tyler guffawed.
Most days Tyler joked around as we prepared polyps, cysts, appendices, tumors, and other surgically-removed bits and pieces for examination by the staff pathologist. One morning, however, he cracked no jokes. Just before the pathologist arrived, he said "John, I don't want you here this morning. The doctor's got to do an autopsy."
"Tyler, it's part of my job, too. Please let me stay."
A few minutes later, he brought into the lab a small gauze-wrapped bundle which he placed carefully on the examining table. With hands nearly as large as the package, Tyler carefully removed the gauze until I gazed on the immobile but beautiful face of a tiny baby boy, four months premature.
Tyler stood silent, looking at the child.
Then he leaned down, placing his face close to the baby's face and said softly, as if trying not to wake the child, "Little one, your face is dirty. Your hair's mussed up. We can't let the doctor see you this way. Let's make you pretty."
With a damp cloth, Tyler gently wiped clean the baby's face. Then he reached into his back pocket, pulled out his own comb, and, very carefully, combed and parted the baby's thick, dark hair.
"There," he said. "Now you look better."
* * *
With a gesture,Tyler showed me the truth of Psalm 139:
"You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother's womb.Wonderfully You made me; wonderful are Your works!"
* * *
That Psalm continues:
"When I was being made in secret,fashioned as in the depths of the earth,Your eyes foresaw my actions;my days were shaped before even one of them came to be."
Before I was made, God foresaw that I would devote my life to publishing. He sent Tyler and that baby to me "to shape my days" so that when finally I published, I would be a Catholic publisher -- a pro-life Catholic publisher.
As I was rendered instantly pro-life by Tyler and that baby, God has permitted me to render instantly pro-life tens of thousands of others by means of a tiny, unborn baby.

You can meet that child online at
* * *
Now we may have to close our doors.
Slow sales and weak responses to my recent fundraising letters have left us with an empty checkbook and more debt than we can manage. Our overdue bills are still more than $50,000.
If I don't pay this soon, we'll have to cease publishing. Catholics will no longer have access to Angel in the Waters and the hundreds of other books we have published by St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Fulton Sheen, St. Robert Bellarmine, Fr. Lawrence Lovasik, and many other good Catholics.(See them all at
That's why I've just borrowed enough money to pay for e-mailing this appeal to 250,000 Catholics. I'm confident that had He wanted our non-profit apostolate to fail, God would not have placed me there in the lab that day with Tyler and the baby; He wouldn't have inspired me to tell you of this incident that remains so fresh in my mind; and He wouldn't have inspired you to read this far.
Can you help? I don't ask much.
Could you buy a copy of Angel in the Waters, and perhaps a second to give to a child this Christmas? If you can't afford that, could you contribute just one dollar?
With just $1, you can keep us in existence.
If you buy a copy of Angel in the Waters or give a dollar, and everyone else who receives this does the same, our doors will stay open; Angel in the Waters will stay in print; and we'll have enough to publish many more Catholic books!
* * *
Remember how, in less than half-a-minute in a small hospital lab four decades ago, God used Tyler's kind gesture to make me pro-life forever?
Today, Angel in the Waters is having that same effect on thousands of people. If we can survive this financial crisis, it will continue to do so year after year.
With just one dollar, you can help us to ensure that happens.
So please use Paypal or your credit card to contribute one dollar at our website ( or print the form there and send your dollar by snail mail.
Thank you. And please pray for us.
Sincerely yours,

John L. Barger, PublisherSophia Institute Press
Box 5284,Manchester, NH 03108 USA 1-603-641-9344