In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical letter “To All Men of Good
Will” which proclaimed the Catholic Church’s position on contraception
and abortion. It was met with an extraordinary and well-orchestrated
dissent. This dissent has rocked the Church for much of the last 50
But at that time, a 4th year medical student at the University of
Minnesota, Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, found a copy of the encyclical letter
and actually read it. He was profoundly moved by the basic foundations
upon which the decisions were made because they reflected the 2,000
year-old teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and family. At the
same time, Pope Paul VI asked in the third part of the encyclical
letter for various groups to become involved in resolving these issues.
He thought that he could perhaps do something and respond to the call
that Pope Paul VI made to “men of science” and “physicians and
healthcare professionals.” After being trained in obstetrics and
gynecology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine he took a faculty
position at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1976 and started a
research and education program in the natural methods of family
planning. In 1977, he moved to Creighton University School of Medicine
in Omaha, Nebraska and eventually became a tenured Associate Professor
in that department and school. In 1985, the Pope Paul VI Institute for
the Study of Human Reproduction was established in Omaha, Nebraska,
U.S.A. Now, 42 years later this Institute can claim the following
- Developed the CREIGHTON MODEL FertilityCare™ System
which is the first Allied Health Education Program whose certificates
are issued jointly by the Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton
University School of Medicine.
- Because of the CREIGHTON MODEL System’s unique
features and universal language (one of the most significant discoveries
in the history of natural methods), a new women’s health science called
NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology) was developed. A
1,244-page medical textbook on The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaProTECHNOLOGY was published in 2004. This approach is ethically and morally acceptable to all.
- Over 3,000 teachers of the CREIGHTON MODEL System have been trained throughout the United States and in other countries Through the Institute’s Education programs.
- 800 Physicians have also been trained in Medical NaProTECHNOLOGY.
- Twenty-two (22) accredited education programs have added to the
training of a large number of additional teachers and are now active on
- Greater than 3,000 cycles of spontaneous human ovulation have been
studied by ultrasound at the Pope Paul VI Institute (more than any other
ultrasound program in the world) and from that, a classification of
ovulation defects has been developed. The Reproductive Ultrasound Center
of the Pope Paul VI Institute was the first such center in the State of
Nebraska to be nationally accredited.
- Patients – women seeking help with various reproductive issues have
come to the Pope Paul VI Institute from every state in the United
States since its founding in 1985. These patients have also come from
- Hundreds of thousands of advanced hormone studies have been accomplished in the Institute’s National Women’s Hormone Laboratory.
- Successful treatments given cooperatively with a woman’s cycle have
been developed and used in patients with infertility, recurrent
miscarriage, PMS, postpartum depression and other hormonal disorders.
- Twenty-five (25) young obstetrician-gynecologists have been trained
in the unique surgical accomplishments of the Institute and have
completed the Institute’s postgraduate fellowship program beginning in
- Three (3) – this is the number of the fellows who are currently in the program this year.
- Surgical procedures – The Institute has developed a new surgical
procedure called Pelvioplasty which allows surgical procedures to be
performed on the reproductive organs without the development of major
postoperative surgical adhesions.
- Three Hundred Fifty (350) pages — A book for the lay person called “The NaProTECHNOLOGY Revolution: Unleashing the Power in a Woman’s Cycle” was published in 2010 (Amazon.com).
- Thousands of a book entitled “Women Healed” have been published with stories provided by patients who have been helped through the work of the Pope Paul VI Institute.
- “Blinders” — A new book, just published
in 2018 reveals a statistically-significant connection between the
development of expanded sexually-explicit material, contraception and
abortion and its impact on the social and economic structure of American
The Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction has
set out to settle the question as to whether or not a natural method of
family planning within the context of Catholic teaching is capable of
being delivered to the population as a whole. There are now over 300 FertilityCare™
Centers that teach this system and have shown that it is a highly
effective system which is also making a unique contribution to women’s
This Institute was established in September 1985 and is now 33 years
old. It has operated quietly in its research and education programs, but
is proud to say that it chose to look at the teaching that Pope Paul VI
provided while at the same time recognizing that dissent was swirling
around it. This was 40 years ago in 1978 at a time when the last thing
anybody would have thought of was that Pope Paul VI would be canonized
and considered a saint in the Catholic Church.
On October 14, 2018, Blessed Pope Paul VI will become St. Pope Paul
VI and the name of the Institute will be changed to St. Pope Paul VI
Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction.
According to Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, the Co-Founder and Director of
the Pope Paul VI Institute, along with his wife, Susan, said, “This is a
great day in the life of the Church and also in the life of the Pope
Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction. What began as a
work we thought might last two or three years has become a lifetime of
work and we are now beginning to plan for the next generation of doctors
who we are currently training and other professionals to take this work
to even further heights.”
I pray that God will continue to be with you in a very special way.