National Campus Life Network > Articles by: kathleen

True Patriot Love

This reflection was originally posted July 2014 by Rebecca Richmond, NCLN’s past Executive Director

True patriot love.

We sing the words in our anthem, yet the word ‘patriot’ rarely seems to enter our vocabulary (unless we’re referring to Americans, of course). But in a society that has euthanasia knocking down the door and fully funds abortion-on-demand, true patriot love is sorely needed.

A few weeks ago, in the $1.00 book bin outside a secondhand book shop, I picked up a book bearing that title: “True Patriot Love,” written by Michael Ignatieff while he was the leader of the Liberal Party. Flipping through the pages, I realized I prefer his prose to his politics.

“People love their country despite a lot of things,” Ignatieff writes. “They love it because they haven’t given up on it. They love it because of its unrealized possibilities. We love our country not because we think it is perfect or even satisfactory, but because we think it can change for the better….We never love a country just for what it is. We love it for what it might yet become. The same is true for the love we bear ourselves. Love is always rooted in hope.” (10)

Growing up, I had a bit of a hope deficiency myself. My deep sense of civic responsibility somehow co-existed with a profound cynicism. I was strongly against abortion but it seemed an insurmountable injustice, and I was just a kid so what was I to do? I thought I loved my country, but in some respects I had given up on it. Perhaps many of us have.

True Patriot Blog memeBut to give up on Canada is to give up on the Canadian men and women, suffering in the aftermath of their abortions. To give up on Canada is to give up on the preborn children who perished from abortion. To give up on Canada is to give up on all the vulnerable who will perish if we aren’t willing to stand on guard for them. To give up on Canada is to give up on all that it could become: a society that truly values and respects each and every human being.

Canada is not a good in and of itself, but a project begun by the Fathers of Confederation in pursuit of a common good for the people under their care. But present injustices violate the common good in profound and disturbing ways, setting before us steep challenges. At every level of government, within civic society, and especially within our own families and communities, we must take up the project and strive towards the Canada that should be, the Canada that will respect and protect each and every human being.

This necessarily includes our work on campuses. Our universities not only contain the age demographic most vulnerable to undergoing abortions, but also are responsible for forming and shaping young leaders who, in turn, shape the culture and the policies of our nation. To move our nation we must first move our own wounded generation from a place of apathy to one of action. We need a generation of patriots.

For, according to Michael Ignatieff, “Patriotism is the sentiment that makes a people demand reform, change and improvement in their country; patriotism is the source of the impatience and anger that makes abuses intolerable, injustice unacceptable and complacency a delusion.”

Yet, Ignatieff was supportive of abortion as a ‘right’, having forgotten to include the need for a true patriot love, one that is rooted in the truth of human life, not merely the politically acceptable.

On July 1st, [149] years ago, the Fathers of Confederation became nation builders.  It’s time for our generation to continue the project of Canada, for our true patriot love compels us to stand on guard for our nation and for each other.

(1) Michael Ignatieff, True Patriot Love: Four Generations in Search of Canada (Toronto: Penguin Group, Viking Canada, 2009), 10.
(2) Ignatieff, 176.




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NCLN Welcomes Three New Team Members!

NCLN is excited to welcome three new staff to our NCLN Team! There is a growing need for dedicated pro-life leaders on campuses across Canada, and NCLN is here to bring these leaders the mentorship, training, and resources they need to succeed. With our new team members, we plan to serve students even more effectively so they can grow as leaders and share our life-saving, life-affirming message with their peers on campus! Join us as we welcome Josh, Michelle, and Ruth!

You can help support Josh, Michelle and Ruth by joining their support team. Your financial contributions will enable our NCLN Team to continue to build and mobilize the Pro-Life Student Movement as we invest in young pro-life leaders! Click here to donate!

Josh MacMillan

Josh MacMillan

Central Campus Coordinator

My name is Josh MacMillan and I've studied history at the University of Waterloo. Throughout my academic career I was involved in my local pro-life club, and was able to see and experience firsthand not only the many challenges that pro-life students have to face on a regular basis, but also the positive effects that these students can have on their peers and campus culture. As a student, my team and I were supported immensely by NCLN, and now, as a graduating student, I want to return that favour as an NCLN staff member. I look forward to the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences as a member of a team dedicated to empowering students to enact positive change in schools and communities across Canada.

Michelle Caluag

Michelle Caluag

Central Campus Coordinator

I’m Michelle, a graduating student at UofT with Bachelors of Science degree. Yes, I’m a Science nerd! I was also the president of U of T Students for Life for the past two years. My experience with the club is one of the highlights of my undergrad years. Other than Science, I also love hanging out with my five siblings, eating seafood and playing with babies! I would love to share my story to inspire and help other students not only to become pro-life, but more importantly to become active pro-lifers.

Ruth Shaw

Ruth Shaw

Communications Director

My name is Ruth Shaw. I am 28 years old and a mother of three (one born, one pre-born, one in heaven)! I’m excited to be joining the NCLN team as the new Communications Director. I have been involved in pro-life work since 2006, most recently as the Director and Founder of Ottawa Against Abortion. Since passing the torch on, I am so excited to be part of a growing organization that is dedicated to promoting and assisting students in having a dedicated and effective pro-life presence on campus. NCLN was a support to me during my time as a Carleton student, and as such, I’m honoured to be part of a movement that gives so much to students, and wants to change the world campus by campus.

We are so excited to have these three leaders join our team to support our students! Please consider joining their support team by clicking here!

NCLN is hiring!

University campuses are in dire need of the pro-life message. Pro-Life students on these campuses need support and mentorship as they seek to bring this message to a hostile culture.

Are you willing to serve alongside these students as they seek to change hearts and minds?

NCLN is accepting applications for our Summer Internship Program, based out of our Langley and Toronto offices! If you’re a post-secondary student who is passionate about bringing the pro-life message to your campus and eager to grow as a leader, this opportunity is for you!

NCLN Internship details and application.

We are also hiring a new Campus Coordinator to join us in our Toronto office. If you’re interested in an exciting, challenging and fulfilling career that is dedicated to ending abortion and upholding the value of all human life, from conception to natural death, please consider the difference you could make through a position with NCLN!

Campus Coordinator details and application.

Application deadlines: March 15th.

For more information, contact Anastasia Pearse.

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Ontario Campus Tour!

Our Executive Director and Central Campus Coordinator, Anastasia & Clarissa, are in the midst of an exciting month of visiting pro-life campus clubs as well as right to life groups across Ontario! Below is their schedule for the remaining two weeks. Contact them if you’re interested in joining them in activism on campus or for their presentations!

Processed with Moldiv
Visits with UTM, Durham, York and McMaster!

15 – Walkerton Right to Life, Hanover: Reaching Campuses, Changing Canada: Mobilizing a Generation of Pro-Life Leaders who are Transforming our Culture. 7:30 p.m. Hanover Public Library (451 10th Ave).
18 – University of Windsor
21 – Cornwall: St. Joseph’s High School presentation
22 – University of Ottawa
25 – Brock University/Niagara College
25 – St. Catharines Right to Life Pro-Life Coffee House. Reaching Campuses, Changing Canada: Mobilizing a Generation of Pro-Life Leaders who are Transforming our Culture. 7:00 p.m. at The Heritage Christian Bookstore Cafe (400 Scott Street, Grantham Plaza, St. Catharines)

Hope to see you there!

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Dialogue Series, Part 1

Over the next couple weeks, we will be sharing a series of posts that address many of the tough questions we encounter during our pro-life outreach. We hope to provide you with practical responses that help you not only understand how to respond, but also why we are addressing these concerns and questions in the first place.

However, even with the “right” answers tucked into your belt, pro-life outreach often includes being personally attacked. Regardless of the accusations made against us personally, there is one way in which we must always respond: with a heart full of love, reaching out to the other’s heart that is in need of healing and of hearing the truth. This initial blog post addresses this core foundation of our pro-life outreach and how you can live this out, even when faced with hostility.

Let Love Win:

Bringing our Hearts to our Pro-Life Outreach

Written by Joanna Krawczynski, Western Campus Coordinator

Sometimes, Life Chain can seem like a discouraging form of outreach. The only feedback we tend to receive at a Life Chain are honks, yells, and a variety of hand gestures. The high school students I was with during my most recent Life Chain event were the recipients of all the above – one student was even the victim of a drive-by drink throwing.

Luckily, the fellow who threw his unfinished iced coffee from his car window did not aim right, and his drink crashed between the curb and the highway, rather than on the bright purple shirt of the student. The other high school students on the sidewalk were understandably shaken and surrounded their friend with concern, “Are you okay?”

One girl asked, “Aren’t you mad?”

The student responded, “No… why should I be?” She laughed, “I mean, maybe he just thought I was thirsty!”

Grace abounds from the heart that is full of love.

That’s the only way I can understand this student’s gracious response to adversity.

One might be tempted to think that we have every right to be frustrated with the censorship and opposition we so often encounter. But how can a heart that is held captive by bitterness or anger be free to extend love?

After all, what kind of Canada do we want to grow old in?

Are we seeking to build a culture of hostility or of hospitality?

Reaching out to students at UBC-O
Students reaching out with the QA Project

And I’m not talking compromise – to be a voice of hope and healing requires that we recognize that something has been broken, that something has gone seriously awry and is in need of rescue.

And yes. Even when we approach each conversation with the kindest heart and the most sincere compassion, we will still face adversity. Many of the people to whom we are reaching out are standing on shaky foundations built on lies about their value and the value of human life. When we try to dismantle this, it is no wonder that we encounter reactions such as anger and are personally attacked with iced coffee or hurtful comments.

One afternoon, a fellow who identified as pro-choice told me, “I honestly hope you do not succeed. You will be hurting a lot of women in the process.”

As I mentioned then, dear student, and I repeat now, I honestly hope we do succeed in sharing this message of hope and healing. I personally know too many women who have been hurt by abortion. For their sake and for the lives of their little ones, we cannot keep silent.

In the words of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, in his letter from the Birmingham jail,

“If I have said anything that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.”

Next time you engage in a conversation, ask yourself: What is motivating you to have this conversation? Are you speaking out of a true desire to heal the broken, or out of a need to win a debate? Further, when we encounter situations of hostility or adversity, how do we respond: with grace, or with grumbling? When we bring our hearts to pro-life outreach, even in situations of hostility, we really only have one option:



Martin Luther King meme

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Overcoming Excuses

We hope you’ll continue running on your Symposium high (and for those who weren’t there you can read this recap!) But we know that reality hits once you get back to school and other commitments. Read this to get some practical pointers and motivation on how you can overcome excuses!

Written by Rebecca Richmond

Excuses, excuses…we hear them, we accept them, we’re irritated by them, we’re even guilty of making excuses ourselves. When it comes to the excuses to avoid pro-life involvement and campus outreach, we’ve heard them all.

In fact, this post was written in response to a suggestion from a student leader to address the topic of excuses in a blog post!

And whether you’ve heard these from yourselves or your friends or club members, the good news is that they’re normal AND they can be overcome. Here are our answers to the top excuses we’ve heard (or made…):

I need to put the priority on school. I just don’t have enough time.

Yes, yes do. We want you to pass your courses with flying colours and go into the world armed with your brains, your degree, and the heart of a nation-changer.

But even if that is your top priority, hopefully you have other priorities in your life still: your health, family, friends, etc. Students across Canada are also putting a priority on the lives of pre-born children and you can too – without flunking out.

There are sacrifices, to be sure, and the sacrifice of time is a steep one. But often, at least in our experience, the issue is not so much the time, but our time-management.

If we start to evaluate our schedules and consider where we put time and into what, we will likely find that, at least on occasion, what we’re spending time on doesn’t match our convictions. The reality is that we always have time for the things we make time for. If our hours with Netflix outweigh our hours of community service, then maybe we need to consider if our priorities match our convictions.

But you don’t have to manage this all alone. NCLN’s staff want to make your work on campus easier. Our resources, training, and mentoring are designed to do just that. Busy students work with our staff each semester in order to impact their campus – without dropping their GPA. (And we have helpful hints for time management too!)

There aren’t enough club members and I can’t do it all alone, so I just can’t do it this year.

Fact #1: There will probably never be enough club members to do all that needs to be done.

Fact #2: The little you do with a few people accomplishes much more than doing nothing would accomplish.

Fact #3: You’ll never attract members unless you actually do something in the first place.

The general principle is: start where you are with what you have.

And there’s so much that can be accomplished when you do! Contact your NCLN Campus Coordinator to help you find little things that you can do that can still have a big impact. There are projects that require practically no prep or cost, no booking, and as many or as few club members as you have – and yet still has an impact AND can help you recruit new members. We’d love to help you get started on them!

I support the cause but I’m focused on sharing the gospel on campus.

There are many good and important groups and causes that people should give time to. But involvement in one doesn’t mean you can’t support another (most if not all students we work with are in that situation!).

If our opposition to abortion – an act that is daily claiming the lives of Canadian children and is funded by our own tax dollars – does not manifest itself in anything except for an ‘I-support-pro-life-but’ statement, then how much does our conviction mean? This is not a charity, this is an emergency.

Maybe you can’t take on a leadership position within the pro-life club, and maybe the club’s weekly meeting is in conflict with another commitment you already made, but there’s other ways you can be an enormous support to the cause on campus:

-Volunteer at a weekly Outreach Table;
-Participate in clipboarding a couple times a month;
-Use your networks to bring friends out to club events.

Just a few hours here and there can be incredibly helpful to the club leadership and to your campus!

I’ll support the cause after graduation.

Unfortunately, abortions are still happening now and therefore our action is needed on our campuses now. Campuses contain the demographic most vulnerable to abortion as well as Canada’s future leaders. We need to be active on campus now in order to make sure these future leaders are well educated, that their hearts and minds are changed so that they can build a brighter future for Canada now and after graduation. We need to be active on campus now in order to reach out to those who may be faced with an untimely pregnancy, for their own sake and the sake of their pre-born children.

The problem with ‘tomorrow logic’ is that tomorrow ‘is always a day away’. If you train yourself now to put off urgent causes until tomorrow, then how will you have the character later to act and speak up?

Our character, our virtue, is formed by our habitual actions, the choices that we make. Our time at university is an ideal time to become pro-life leaders. Now, and not after graduation, is the time to learn the time management skills we need to complete our studies and give time to other priorities in our lives. Now, and not after graduation, is the time to choose to make small sacrifices, to practice courage within a controversial issue, to seek justice and mercy in our nation.

(After graduation is a great time to start supporting the work of NCLN as a monthly donor! Just thought we’d point that out. 😉 )

To reiterate the main points here, this cause is not a charity, it’s an emergency, and we need to match our convictions with action. But you’re not alone in trying to address this emergency: NCLN exists specifically to support you, to help you overcome the excuses you might hear from others (or occasionally feel tempted to make), and to make sure that you can be successful in your club and your classroom.

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Inside Scoop: NCLN Internship

short description

This is Meagan’s second summer as an NCLN Intern! We are so thankful for her involvement in our mission. Here’s a little inside scoop to the work she’s been doing with us and how she’s been impacted as a pro-life student leader:

1) This is your second summer as an NCLN intern – and you’ve been fundraising your salary in order to do this work with our team. What motivates you to come back on staff this summer with the NCLN team?

The work NCLN does is crucial for the Pro-Life Movement. The demographic on the university campuses has not known a time without abortion on demand. Many are directly affected by abortion and many are also abortion vulnerable. We need to show them the love of the culture of life. We need to tell them what abortion is before they have to say, “No one told me that it would be like this.” We also need to reach the next doctors and the next lawmakers. The reach of NCLN’s work is huge! Across Canada, the students we work with are able to reach so many more students on their own campuses using the resources that NCLN creates.

2) Speaking of fundraising, how can people financially support the work you’re doing this summer?

The pay that I receive comes solely from donations. I’ve received an outpouring of generosity from so many people in my life already! I’m so grateful for this and excited to see so many people joining me in this pro-life mission. I’m already over halfway to my goal of $2000! If people would like to support me so that I can reach my goal, they can do so by donating here and then emailing info@ncln.ca to specify that their donation is for my internship. They can also choose to mail a cheque addressed to NCLN to 2300 Yonge St. PO Box 67004 Toronto, ON M4P 3C8. A third option is if I have the pleasure of seeing them in person, they can pass their donation (cash or cheque) to me personally.

3) You’ve been working on a number of projects with us this summer. Which project are you most excited about and why?

I love working on the website content because I’m so excited for this resource to be accessible for students. To explain, the outreach pages that we’ve been putting together are how-tos on many of the different types of outreach (ex. clipboarding, tabling, resource drive for moms). With a 12-week semester, students are crazy busy. To tackle a new style of outreach can be extremely intimidating and time consuming. To have this resource means less time figuring out how and more time actually doing. And that means reaching mores students and changing more hearts and minds.

4) As the president of your pro-life club, what are you most looking forward to as you return to campus this coming September?

I’m super excited to work alongside the rest of the club, to watch them grow as pro-life leaders and to see what we can accomplish together. We’re aiming to do weekly outreach for the first time and I’m excited to see the benefits of having our club actively present on campus.

5) And…now for something a bit more lighthearted, pick the NCLN team member you would want to have alongside you in each of the following situations:

-Stuck in an elevator for hours: Clarissa. As Central Campus Coordinator, she’s my campus coordinator at Guelph too! We could get through all kinds of planning for the fall semester! And maybe sing our hearts out with a few Disney songs while we’re at it.
-Fighting off a bear: Rebecca. Her fierce determination alone would have him gone in a flash. I’m also confident that back home in Deep River, they trained her good and proper on the essentials of bear fighting.
-Cooking a 6 course meal for 100 people: Anastasia. With that many siblings, I’m sure she knows what she’s doing! Also, she exudes love and kindness which are extremely important when working in a high stress situation.
-On a rocket ship to Mars: Kathleen. Full of excitement and energy, it would be a literal blast to experience the adrenaline leading up to take-off, the thrill of no gravity and the awe of the stars streaming past with her.
-Riding a canoe through some crazy rapids: Joanna. Living close to the Fraser River, I have a hunch that she knows how to take a canoe through almost anything.
Navigating public transit in Beijing: Ashley. Even if we got lost, I know it would be an incredible adventure. The one time Ashley and I met in person, we hit it off instantly!
Finding a band of Yetis on a trek through the Andes Mountains: Christine. She has a natural heart for mission: sharing love and kindness with all. She would effectively resolve the controversy and soon we’d all be laughing and singing songs together like it was history.

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BC Pro-Life Leaders Workshop

Today's BC Student Workshop was a success! Complete with activism at the end of the day. We are so thankful for our students and the local pro-life organizations that support us! Join us for more activism tomorrow night in Abbotsford!
Saturday’s BC Student Workshop was a success! Complete with activism at the end of the day. We are so thankful for our students and the local pro-life organizations that support us! Join us for more activism tonight in Abbotsford!
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