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As anticipation builds for the Supreme Court’s ruling that could reverse Roe v. Wade and state legislatures across the country are adding pro-life verbiage to their constitutions, the 2022 National March for Life has become more important than ever as a statement by the Pro-Life movement. Always strong supporters of life, Benedictine College and its Ravens Respect Life (RRL) student group sent more than 300 students to Washington, D.C., to participate in the event this year. Six buses departed the college campus on January 19 for the 1,100-mile, 24-hour trip that will mark the 35th year of attendance by RRL and the 41st year Benedictine College students have participated.
“I remember going to the March when I was in high school and seeing Benedictine’s banner in the crowd and looking forward to one day being a part of the group,” said Brianna Ball (right), a sophomore Nursing student at Benedictine who was in charge of the March for Life efforts of Ravens Respect Life this year. “I wanted to be the March for Life Coordinator because I know how special and really life-changing this trip can be.”
Ball had been involved with the Pro-Life cause as a youth, working with her mother promoting the Life Chain in her hometown area in rural Miami County, Kan. Once she got to high school at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kan., she joined Teens for Life and eventually led their trip to Washington, D.C., for the national march. Those high school trips averaged about 80 students, so Ball was surprised to see how many signed up at Benedictine. (Last year’s March was cancelled, so this was her first trip, although Benedictine held its own march last year through Atchison, Kan.)
“I knew that COVID would most likely deter the crowd,” she said. “With COVID on the rise in D.C. and the vaccine mandate put in place by the city’s mayor, it really did feel like the devil’s hand was trying to control how this trip would play out. I’m proud of the group and all those who turned out in force this year. I feel it was more important than ever to fight against this evil and be on the steps of the Supreme Court so they could hear our voices. It is truly a matter of life and death.”
The College was proud to lead the March in 2014 and each year, Benedictine College usually brings the largest group traveling the greatest distance for the annual March. Benedictine students have attended the March for Life since 1980, but the founding of Ravens Respect Life in 1989 made the annual trip more formal and elevated the participation. Many of the students who led Ravens Respect Life in its early days are now leaders in the Church today, including Bishop Andrew Cozzens ’91 of the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., Abbot James Albers ’94 of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Father Joseph Taphorn ’93 from the Archdiocese of Omaha, Father Brendan Rolling ’99, former chaplain of Benedictine College, and Father Jeremy Hepler ’00, pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish.
Read more about the thriving faith life on the Benedictine College campus.
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.