GILBERT — Clint Leonard faced challenges as he embarked upon his pursuit of a medical career. He made a choice that set him apart from many other students, got him shunned by some medical schools and treated differently by many doctors.
Clint Leonard was strong in his Catholic faith and chose to follow his conscience. He would not, he told them all, refer women for abortion, provide sterilizations or prescribe contraceptives.
Morning Star OB/GYN
3499 S. Mercy Road
Gilbert, AZ 85297
When the now Dr. Clint Leonard opened Morning Star OB/GYN, he kept true to the tenets of the Catholic faith in his practice. He did not, and would not, he said, provide those services that went against the culture of life he embraces.
He was unsure if his practice would last even a year. Now, eight years later, in 2013, Morning Star has relocated to a brand new, expanded facility, increasing its space and staff to accommodate the growing business.
“To be able to have a practice that is faithful to the magisterium, that really respects fertility and women and makes it easier for them to make good choices and live healthy, holy lives is an honor,” Dr. Leonard said.
Dr. Leonard and the providers who work with him offer their patients an all-natural alternative to contraceptives: classes in Natural Family Planning. NFP, which the Catholic Church approves, teaches a couple how to chart the woman’s naturally occurring signs of fertility each month to know her particular days of potential conception.
NFP has been scientifically proven to be 98 to 99 percent effective in postponing pregnancy and can also be used to help couples who struggle with infertility achieve pregnancy.
The increased space has also allowed Morning Star to add a special NFP office and expand its NFP services from a few blocks of time, to having NFP available all day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“NFP teachers have privacy with patients and can sit with couples and counsel them and work with them,” said NFP coordinator Coleen Austin.
Dr. Leonard’s humility and gentleness readily shines through in his personality and professional persona. “He respects me as an entire human being who is made in the image and likeness of God,” said Christine Accurso, who has been treated by Dr. Leonard since 2007.
“He recognizes the dignity of every person who walks through the door,” Austin said. “To work in an environment where your faith is not compromised, but rather ennobled and enriched is a great privilege in this culture.”
The new facility is consecrated to the Blessed Mother, and visitors entering the waiting room are welcomed by two commissioned art pieces. One is a painted icon of Our Lady, Morning Star by artist Suzanne Kent Debold.
The other is “Behold,” a steel and aluminum wall-mounted sculpture featuring the Morning Star logo by artist Adam Adcock.
“We honor Mary in these images,” Dr. Leonard said. “They let patients know that they are not alone. She is with child herself, and she is with them and offering Christ to the people who come.”
Dr. Leonard dedicated the facility waiting room to his parents, Gerald and Judith Leonard, who are celebrating 50 years of marriage, for promoting the culture of life.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted was on hand Dec. 8 to bless the new facility. “One of the things that became evident to me long before I was a bishop, was that we badly needed the witness of the medical profession if we are really going to form a culture of life and a civilization of love,” Bishop Olmsted said.
“A day like this is a sign of the major contribution that is made to the whole mission of the Church by the work of those in the medical profession,” the bishop said. Health care providers can be “witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Leonard’s faith-centered approach appealed to Sarah Adamo, a physician assistant recently brought on staff.
“It is a stark contrast to other OB/GYN practices,” Adamo said. “Just the fact that we don’t prescribe contraceptives, we are always open to life and help women through every stage of that process —- that may help women with their faith in Christ,” she said. ✴