WRAP-UP: Benedictine’s Epic March for Life Journey
Millions of people around the country learned of Benedictine College’s strong support for the March for Life. News that the school sent seven busloads of students over 1,000 miles to Washington, D.C., was covered by USA Today and the Associated Press, which sent the story to newspapers across the country. In addition to the secular media, Zenit, Catholic News Service, Catholic News Agency, the Cardinal Newman Society and other Catholic media outlets carried the story.
Benedictine College bused 381 marchers (including 294 students), the largest group ever from the college in its 28 years of attending the event. Other alumni, students and administrators joined the group upon its arrival.
“I was stunned by the sheer numbers,” said Benedictine freshman Hailey Pellegrene of the 650,000-strong March for Life. “But that’s great. That’s how we are making the point.”
Natalie DiBlasio, a reporter for USA Today wrote about Benedictine College’s epic journey in the paper on Jan. 25, the morning of the March. She reported on the March via Twitter throughout the day, mentioning Benedictine College once again.
In addition to the rare attention from the secular media, the March for Life Rally, a collection of speakers who addressed the group at the start of the March, was also a cause for excitement among the Benedictine students.
“The rally before the March was very different this year, it was oriented to youth more so than in years past,” said Michael Green, the March coordinator for Ravens Respect Life, a Benedictine student organization. “They did a great job with their videos and technology. We will see what the future holds, but I think this year is a turning point in the pro-life movement.”
Pellegrene has been to the March before, with her high school group, but had not been moved as strongly as she was this year. The focus on a new “pro-life generation” connected with her.
“I guess I hadn’t really dwelt on abortion before,” she said. “This time, I learned a lot more about it and how it affects everyone, including me. This time I wasn’t just marching for the babies. I was marching for myself and my family. I am definitely going to call my parents and just say ‘thank you.’”
“The Rally for me was the most important,” said Adams Burns, a sophomore at Benedictine College. “To hear our leaders who are with us. That was great. I think we’re really going to be the generation that fixes this.”
“The size of the March and the group from Benedictine College really taught me two things: trust and hope,” said Green. “Even when things look the bleakest, we must have trust in the Lord.”
Makena Clawson, a sophomore at Benedictine and a Gregorian Fellow, wrote about pro-life hope in reports for Zenit, an international, independent Catholic news agency, during the March. Clawson’s last article, titled Marching for Life: Holding Out Hope, appeared on January 28, the Monday after the March.
“We march to do something about our children who are not safe from harm,” she writes in the article. “We march because we do hold out hope that things will change. We march because we believe God can do the impossible.”
Now that the students are back in class, the challenge for Ravens Respect Life and other prolife groups is to maintain the momentum, Green said.
“The March has a great rejuvenating effect on everybody,” he said. “It encourages us to give more of ourselves to serve the prolife movement in the particular ways God has called us. I am really hopeful and excited for the things to come this year.”
Here are links to some of the stories:
Catholic News Agency/EWTN
Gregorian Fellow Makena Clawson on Zenit:
Coverage by Benedictine College’s Gregorian Institue, promoting Catholic identity in public life:
- Unheard Voices in the Abortion Debate A Benedictine College event
- Will You March On? By Kathryn Brown, Benedictine College student and Gregorian Fellow
- Frozen for Life By Sara Stacey, Benedictine College student
- We Are the Civil Rights Movement Now By Tom Hoopes, Gregorian Institute editor
- SLIDESHOW: 7 Buses Depart Atchison for Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.