By Dave Andrusko
A quick shout out to a kind reader who forwarded me a story that appeared on the website of Our Sunday Visitor (OSV). The headline reads, “Bella’ actor opens L.A. pro-life medical center: Eduardo Verástegui wants Guadalupe Medical Center to be ‘an oasis of life.’”
Bella, winner of the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival’s “People’s Choice Award,” was a labor of love for everyone involved in its production, and that love is spreading to every audience. It is the story of a Mexican soccer star, José (played by Eduardo Verástegui), who endures tragedy and later works quietly as a chef in a New York restaurant. There he meets Nina (Emmy Award-winning actress Tammy Blanchard), a waitress who is fired just as she learns she is pregnant and is considering abortion.
“In one irreversible moment, a simple act of kindness brings them together and turns an ordinary day into an unforgettable experience,” according to the film’s production notes. “Before the day is through, José must confront his own haunting past to show Nina how the healing power of love can help her embrace the future. Inspired by true events, Bella is a heartwarming story about friendship, family and our capacity for love in the face of the unexpected.”
We learn from the OSV article written by Jim Graves that Verástegui rehearsed for “Bella” by going to an abortion clinic. “[A]fter arriving,” Graves wrote, “he soon forgot his movie and was distressed to see many young women enter the clinic in tears.”
And then the incredible next few sentences:
“Sidewalk counselors asked him to translate for a Mexican immigrant couple about to enter the clinic,” Graves wrote. “The couple recognized Verastegui from his work on Mexican telenovelas, or soap operas, and talked with him for 45 minutes. They left without entering. Months later, the couple called him to share that the child they had intended to abort had just been born and they wanted to name him Eduardo in his honor.
“Verástegui went to the hospital and held the baby. ‘It was beautiful,’ he said. ‘By the grace of God, I was able to help save this baby.’”
I don’t want to spoil the story for you, so suffice it to say that last September the non-profit he runs opened the Guadalupe Medical Center in Los Angeles. One of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, the community the Center serves is comprised of predominantly Latino residents.
Read this heart-warming story.
Not only will you learn how his Mantle of Guadalupe organization is saving unborn babies and their mothers, you will also be uplifted by the power of Verástegui’s own spiritual and moral redemption.