Marquette method now taught in archdiocese as another tool for NFP-practicing couples

Rocio Madera

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an option to help Catholic families either achieve or avoid pregnancy, including spacing children. This practice observes and tracks fertility signs to accurately determine when a woman is fertile and when she is infertile. In the same way, the NFP also helps couples who want to get pregnant achieve their goal easier.  

Married couples are called to be “procreators” and follow God’s plan, but this does not mean that couples must have a family of 10 children. If that is God’s plan, it is fine, but it is also God who provides the natural tools and resources as a means for family planning using natural methods and without permanently damaging the sacred biological functions of men and women. 

The Archdiocese of Denver offers workshops and courses for couples who want to learn more about the NFP methods and thus live in grace according to God’s plan. This year, the Archdiocese began teaching the Marquette Model so that couples would have the option of choosing a method that fits them best. 

“I have noticed over the years that not every method suits every couple. There is great value in a diocesan NFP program’s ability to offer different methods that help meet the learning or lifestyle needs of a couple.  NFP does not have a one size fits all approach,” said Carrie Keating, NFP and Marriage Specialist, to the Denver Catholic

Although the Marquette Model has been around for approximately 20 years, it has recently received more exposure through social media and through people sharing their experience using this method. 

Adding the Marquette Model filled a gap within our diocesan NFP program by providing a method that is more objective in its approach to collecting and interpreting the biomarkers of a woman’s fertility.”

Carrie Keating

The Marquette Model method uses the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor along with test strips for women to measure the hormone levels in their urine and identify the beginning and end of their fertile window during each menstrual cycle. If used correctly, this method helps couples trying to conceive identify the most fertile days to increase their chances of pregnancy. For couples who want to avoid pregnancy, this method helps them identify the days they should abstain from intercourse to avoid it.  

“This method is very flexible and has the option to incorporate monitor readings, cervical fluid observations, and temperature readings for couples who feel more comfortable with identifying multiple fertility markers or who are coming from other NFP methods and want to continue using that data,” said Theresa Sullivan, RN, BSN, a local Marquette Method-NFP Instructor. 

The Marquette Model is designed for every woman and couple. The benefits of opting for this method may vary depending on the needs of each woman. Since there are different ways to monitor the fertile phase, this method also helps women with special reproductive circumstances, such as irregular cycles, breastfeeding, pre-menopause, and postpartum. The monitor is very accurate and easy to use at home and this model is “reversible” as couples may change their family planning goals at any time. 

“It is highly recommended to be used only with the guidance of an instructor as this increases efficacy, knowledge, and autonomy,” Sullivan said. “The Marquette Method teachers are all trained medical professionals, including nurses and doctors. We are trained to help women and couples learn more about their bodies and identify any issues that might be preventing cycle regularity or causing infertility.” 

For a couple’s life, the benefits of NFP as a whole are enormous: The wife preserves herself from chemicals or devices and remains with her natural cycle. The husband becomes more involved and is responsible for family planning. They both learn a higher degree of self-control and a deeper respect for each other, which results in better intimacy for the couple. And finally, the couple becomes more aware of their extraordinary and generous contributions and responsibilities as procreators with God. 

“Adding the Marquette Model filled a gap within our diocesan NFP program by providing a method that is more objective in its approach to collecting and interpreting the biomarkers of a woman’s fertility,” Keating concluded. 

For resources on NFP in the Archdiocese of Denver, visit archden.org/eflm/nfp

To find a local instructor for virtual or in-person sessions for the Marquette Method, visit coloradomarquette.wixsite.com/instructors . 

COMING UP: For Love of Country: A Catholic Patriotism

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Our country has been through a lot this last year, as we all know. As many people have reacted against the founding and history of the United States, I have found myself drawn towards greater patriotism. By this, I simply mean a deeper appreciation of what I’ve been given by my country and also a growing realization of the duty I have to work for the common good, here and now. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of this duty under the fourth commandment that enjoins honor not only to parents but also to anyone in authority.   

It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one’s country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community (2239). 

Catholics, and all people of good will, are called to a love and service of country in order to work for the common good.  

Eric Metaxas argues that the future of our country depends precisely upon the active role of Christians in his book, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (Penguin, 2017). He describes something called the Golden Triangle, an idea he borrowed from Os Guinness, but which ultimately comes from the Founding Fathers. “The Golden Triangle of Freedom is, when reduced to its most basic form, that freedom requires virtue; virtue requires faith; and faith requires freedom. The three go round and round, supporting one another ad infinitum. If any one of the three legs of the triangle is removed, the whole structure ceases to exist” (54). John Adams, for example, related very clearly, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (quoted on 61). Metaxas comments, looking to specific examples around the world, “if you take God and faith and morality out of the equation, everything inevitably falls apart. It cannot be otherwise” (48). It cannot be otherwise. That may sound extreme, but we have many examples from Communist and Fascist countries and now even from movements within our country that aggressive secularism parallels a collapse of real freedom.  

The Constitution established an ordered liberty that requires responsibility and a determined effort of preservation. Hence the title of the book, taken from Benjamin Franklin, a republic “if you can keep it.” We are called to actively preserve our country: entering into a deeper understanding of the “idea” of America that undergirds the Republic as well as showing a loving determination to overcome challenges and threats to its continuance. This is not to whitewash the past, as we all know the injustices of our history. Metaxas argues that we can be grateful for the good and unique blessings of our heritage while also working to overcome failures. “To truly love America, one must somehow see both sides simultaneously” (226). Furthermore, by loving our country we are willing her good, drawing our own selves into the work for her good and helping her to be true to herself. “So that in loving America we are embodying her original intentions — we are indeed being America at her best — and in doing so we are calling her to her best, to be focused on doing all she can to fulfill the great promise which God has called her in bringing her into existence and shepherding her through trials and tribulations all these and centuries — and now” (235).  

As Catholics, we have a lot to offer our country by drawing from our rich intellectual and spiritual heritage. Michael Krom, a philosopher at St. Vincent College, provides us with a great resource in his new book, Justice and Charity: An Introduction to Aquinas’s Moral, Economic, and Political Thought (Baker, 2020). In an age of confusion, Catholics can bring greater clarity in our national discourse on the nature of human life, virtue, and politics. “We live in a time of ideological conflicts, in which the citizens of the nations of the modern world seem incapable of agreeing upon even the most basic of moral, economic, or political principles. Civil discourse has been replaced with violent protest, and reasoned dialogue with character assassination” (2). As Catholics, we should be able to look above all of this, literally: “While the Church does not force us to reject political citizenship, she demands that we direct it to the heavenly, and we can do that by heeding her call to engage the world rather than conform to it. I wrote this book out of the conviction that those who want to heed the Church’s call to engage our culture need to look to the past” (ibid.).  

Dr. Krom shows us that St. Thomas Aquinas has much to teach us about living the good life, in pursuit of a genuine freedom and happiness, and that this should inform a Catholic approach to economics and politics. It is hard to work for virtue if you don’t know what virtue really is, and difficult to act justly toward others if you don’t understand the nature of duty. Aquinas can help us to judge the direction of our country, as “a government cannot be called ‘good’ unless it promotes just moral and economic relationships between its citizens” (121). This is precisely the purpose of government — to promote right order and peace. We can’t just dispense with politics because, “the fact that humans find their fulfillment in political community means that situating their own good with the good of the community as a whole is central to happiness” (125). We are not isolated individuals and can’t attain a good and complete life on our own.  

Our ultimate good, however, is God, not the political life. Everything — all of our choices, including economic and political ones — must be directed to our ultimate goal. There are not “two ends to human existence, the earthly and the heavenly … [T]here is only one end, the beatific vision” (162). In this way the Church informs our citizenship. Krom explains “how inadequate this human law is as a teacher in the virtues, for it is limited in scope to the prevention of those vices from which even the wicked can refrain, and thus leaves those who seek after perfect virtue to their own devices … [H]uman law is in need of a higher law to truly bring about a just community” (155). Unfortunately, we’re seeing that our society is no longer even trying to prevent serious vice. Catholics and all believers have an important role to play, because “the lack of religion in the citizenry leads it down the path of totalitarianism. It Is absolutely critical that a people maintain a strong commitment to a transcendent measure of the common good in order to protect the true flourishing of its members” (171). Krom’s important work on justice and charity can teach us how a Catholic can exercise a proper patriotism, a true love of country.