Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 11 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Laconi
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

The Bells Prepare to Celebrate 1000th Birth at Good Counsel Homes

Miriam Diez Bosch - John Burger - published on 06/10/16

A family brought together by love is at the heart of a nurturing network

Any day now, Good Counsel Homes, a network of residences in the New York City area that helps single mothers choose life, will see the birth of its 1,000th baby since opening in 1985.

And Christopher Bell, who founded Good Counsel along with the late Father Benedict Groeschel, will be wearing his characteristic smile when it happens.

GC30 332

Bell and his wife, Joan Andrews Bell, have been working for decades to protect and nurture nascent life.

You can see it in their own modest home in New Jersey, where seven children, mostly adopted from abroad and mostly with special needs, have learned how to love by being loved.

Bell plays down any uniqueness the family may enjoy.


“Well, seven children isn’t that big of a family for our family,” he said. “Joan’s sisters, one has 8, another has 12. But we think children are a gift from God. They are a great blessing.”

The Bells married late in life and were able to have one child of their own. “I tell even young couples: you never know if you will have any children,” he said. “Every couple, I think, should discern whether they should adopt other children because there are so many children who need to be adopted.”

“Our children have brought so many blessings in our life,” he said.

Not least of which is learning how to love.

“We say we love ice cream, we love animals,” Bell noted. “But real love is building relationship with other people.”

For a Catholic like Bell, though, it’s not just coming home from work, having dinner together and reading bedtime stories.

Joan Andrews Bell and her husband Chris Bell in prayer at the Good Counsel Homes 30th Anniversary Mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark NJ
Joan Andrews Bell and her husband Chris Bell in prayer at the Good Counsel Homes 30th Anniversary Mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark NJ

“I have to make time for prayer,” he insisted. “It feels very empty if there is a day where I cannot attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And beyond that, I struggle to pray the Rosary every day but even more important than that is just to keep God in mind.”

Of his children, who come from Russia, Mexico and the US, Bell said “everyone is a gift and a different story,” a family “we could have never planned…. But I think to have a family that is open to life. that is what love is. And when families are not open to life we are restricting love, and it’s so sad because God gave us so many opportunities to love and to share.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.