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A letter from Christopher Bell of Good Counsel...

“Father of the Orphan, defender of the widow, such is God in his Holy Place. The Lord gives the lonely a home to dwell in,” (Psalm 68) I prayed and felt the Lord asking me to help mothers and babies. You and I will be able to continue this mission now at Good Counsel Mary’s Shelter Gulf Coast.


God bless you for your generosity who started and maintained Mary’s Shelter on the Gulf Coast.


In the past year the Board of Mary’s Shelter asked Good Counsel, Inc., homes for mothers and babies, to come to Baldwin County.


You see I was born in New York City. For the past 31 years through the grace of God, with the help of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, a Catholic Franciscan priest who always worked with the poor, and many others, we began Good Counsel, homes helping pregnant and parenting mothers and babies. Good Counsel, mothers have said, “It’s not a shelter, it’s a loving home.”


Pregnant moms running from domestic violence, some abandoned by family and so-called friends found concrete help and real help at Good Counsel.


That’s what Mary’s Shelter is all about too, offering real help and hope for pregnant moms in need today.


“Just grow,” was Fr. Benedict’s last instruction to a Board member. Fr. Benedict who was Good Counsel’s co-founder and chairman of the Board from the beginning until he died Oct. 3, 2014.


While I never imagined our first venture outside of New York and New Jersey would be in Alabama, Fr. Benedict also taught me to “Just say ‘Yes’ to God.”


Now, you and I will be able to continue this mission at Good Counsel Mary’s Shelter Gulf . Obviously, the mothers and babies on the Gulf Coast are just as precious to God as every mother and every baby.


Now, today, you and I have an opportunity to save more babies’ lives. Unborn babies targeted for abortion, because young mothers are in crisis and don’t see any possible way to care for a baby.


I want to tell you so much more about this need, this opportunity, but I almost don’t know how to express my heart today. Mothers constantly call our hotline from all over the country. I actually brought one mom from Florida to our Good Counsel home in New York, because she was at such extreme risk last year.


There is a terrible shortage of homes like Good Counsel across our country. Please help me today to do something now in the Gulf Coast.


The Lord has given you and me a way to do something. Something real. Something effective. Something life-changing. Lifesaving.


Today, more than anything, I covet your prayers. Pray God blesses with such abundance that together – you and I – will help many more mothers in need . . . never should a pregnant woman be turned away.


To learn more about Good Counsel, please visit our main website.

God bless you!




Christopher Bell
Good Counsel President

About Good Counsel Mary's Shelter

  Situated on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, Mary's Shelter was founded to address the needs of homeless pregnant women who are experiencing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Our mothers come to us with no one to help them, no money, and no place to live. Before hearing of Mary's Shelter, many of them felt that their only option was to have an abortion. By providing them with a home during this difficult time in their life, we enable these women to say 'yes' to life for their unborn child.


  The women and children served by Mary's Shelter are given the opportunity to live in a clean, secure, loving, family environment staffed by caring Christian professionals. But Mary's Shelter aims to go beyond simply being a maternity home providing these homeless pregnant women with shelter and sustenance. While saving the babies' lives is of paramount importance, equally important is helping these vulnerable women to eventually achieve happy, healthy and productive lives.


  While residing at the shelter, our mothers participate in Spirituality classes (Bible study and devotional time), Prenatal and personal health classes, and parenting classes. Along with these specific classes the women also participate in several group type discussions which give them an understanding of better ways to relax, relieve stresses and a better understanding of nutritional value for themselves and their child/children. Here at Mary's Shelter we believe education plays a major role in their success upon leaving here, so we also provide Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED) tutoring, preparation and testing. It is also mandatory that they undergo counseling by qualified counselors. 

  In addition, the mothers are given the information they need to be able to make an informed decision regarding the future of their unborn child - whether to parent the child or consider adoption. Through family-style living, our moms learn how to resolve conflicts. They learn how to care for their children, for themselves and for their home. Each mother's program and progress are evaluated every three months.


  Following the birth of the baby, the mother and child may enter our Transitional Housing program, once the mother has found a job which will provide a living wage. Financial assistance and other support is provided for a period of up to six months, at which time the mother is hopefully in a position to assume complete responsibility for her family. After leaving Mary's Shelter the women will be monitored by our program manager in order to maintain a steady record of their progress and their child's. 

  Where there often existed a history for these women of barely surviving on welfare, Mary's Shelter works to see that pattern broken and helps them reach their maximum potential. Our maternity home is a sensible, pro-life,  abortion alternative.

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