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National Campus Life Network > Blog > alumni interview

Alumni Interview: Elizabeth Espadero!

Elizabeth Espadero is a woman of grace, gentleness and a generous heart! She is truly a pro-life hero as she cares for her two beautiful daughters. Through her involvement in the club at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Elizabeth helped the group thrive and encouraged members to grow – including NCLN’s own, Kathleen! We are so thankful for Elizabeth’s continued witness in the pro-life movement as a volunteer and as a loving mother. We asked her a few questions to gain some insight into her campus experience and how she continues to create a culture of life with her growing family.

Campus:
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Barry’s Bay, ON
Graduating year: 2010
Area of study: Humanities
ProLife Club name: 
Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu ProLife Club
Years involved: 2
Current vocation: Married

How were you involved in pro-life work on campus? What did your role look like?

I was a member for one year, and assistant to the president of the club for the next.

What did you find was the biggest struggle of doing campus pro-life work?

Finding a balance between schoolwork and all of the demands of student life, and really trying to give as much as possible to the pro-life movement on campus.

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Elizabeth with her husband, John, and two daughters. (Espadero Photography)

What helped you through it?

A good, lively relationship with other members of the club. Keeping up the momentum, especially between the president and I, helped me to keep the goals of the club in the forefront of my mind, motivating me to keep working toward them. However, it is hard to remain motivated, and particularly, to set reasonable goals that will really serve your school well.

How does your past involvement in campus pro-life work affect your activities today?

During the course of my involvement in campus pro-life work, I became friends with several very dedicated individuals who now work full-time in the movement here in Canada. Through social media and the odd chance to catch up with them in person, I am able to keep abreast of what is happening in the Canadian pro-life world, and am able to help as much as I’m able, through attending Life Chains and the March in Victoria, helping with fundraisers for the local crisis pregnancy center, and mainly trying to build the culture of life through my own little family.

Has being a mother affected/deepened your view of what it means to be pro-life? If so, how?

It’s funny, I don’t think motherhood has deepened my view of the sanctity of life, so to speak, but I now feel more than ever for those women who have been traumatized by abortion. The connection I have with my daughters is different than any other human relationship I’ve known, and for that to be cut short in such a violent way would be unthinkable. More than ever, I hope and pray that each woman contemplating abortion will somehow have a conversation, or see a picture, or in some other way be confronted with the reality of the life within her, and so have a real connection with her little one – that her heart will be gently changed.

As a mother yourself, do you have any words of encouragement or advice for other young moms, who may be struggling with an unexpected pregnancy?

It’s a cliche, but I think that in a crisis like an unexpected pregnancy (just like all very hard times in life), it’s crucial to live one day – even one moment – at a time. There will always be someone willing and able to help: a place to stay, to connect her with resources, help her through the difficult and painful changes that will come. There are SO many families desperately wanting a child to love. If she could somehow live one day at a time through the pregnancy, and persevere, the heartache of that time will be so worth it to give life to a new little person.

 

Thank you so much for your continued witness in the pro-life movement, Elizabeth! It is a blessing to know you and to see your beautiful family grow!

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Alumni Interview: Cassie Farrell!

Transferring from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy into Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, Cassie Farrell has had a double dose of campus pro-life activism! Through her years at both schools, Cassie remained actively involved in the student pro-life movement, and continues to remain an active witness for the unborn as an alumni. 
 

Cassie

Campus(es): Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy, Holy Cross College at Notre Dame
Graduating year: 2012
Area of study: History, Philosophy
ProLife Club name: The Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro-Life Club, Saints for Life
Years involved: 2007-2012
 
 
 
You were involved in pro-life work on more than one campus — what did your involvement on each look like? How were they different?
 
Leading a pro-life group on the OLSWA campus was an interesting experience given that the entire student body was either part of the club, or was at least supportive of the cause. The club was also in its inaugural stages given that it was started in the fall of 2007, and underwent several leadership changes following the tragic loss of founding members Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu, for whom the club is named. Local activism and supporting neighboring university pro-life groups was the emphasis, along with informing the student body on the broader pro-life issue and apologetics.  Being a pro-lifer is good, but being an informed pro-lifer who can articulate and argue for the cause of life is better. Leading Saints for Life was an entirely different experience, since the campus was much more of a mixed bag of many dissenting opinions, was much larger, and has an abortion facility within walking distance of the campus. This led me to employ entirely new methods while growing the club – including postering campaigns, holding regular vigil at the local abortion facility, sidewalk counseling, holding apologetics training for club members, debating students and professors, organizing attendance at the March for Life in DC, as well as holding special events including movie nights, and hosting guest speakers. My time at OLSWA definitely prepared me for what was to come at Holy Cross College, and I was always very busy!
 
 
What impacted you the most about campus pro-life activism?
 
I was pulled into pro-life activism by Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu, and they influenced me to persevere in this cause for life. I would have remained very ignorant if it wasn’t for them, and I would not have cared to do anything about abortion if they hadn’t brought it to my attention. My time spent outside of abortion mills was also formative, and being on the front-lines solidified my beliefs and ideas about the horror of abortion and the injustice it is to women and femininity. Dialogue with those who disagreed with me, and witnessing changes of heart as well as stubborn refusal to conform to reality also spoke volumes about human nature in general, and was a valuable lesson moving forward.  
 
 
How does your past involvement in campus pro-life work affect your activities today?
 
I am always ready and willing to defend life – no  matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing. I am always prepared to speak up. 
 
 
Would you encourage current pro-life students to get involved in campus activism? What is the main reason why?
 
Of course I would! If abortion is what we say it is, then the only response is to act. If you don’t act, then I would re-evaluate what you’re thinking and what you’re doing. Not to mention that abortion is too common in the undergrad demographic, and there could be babies in your immediate midst who need you! Have courage,  because you have something to offer and you are needed!
 
We admire you for your dedication and leadership, Cassie! Thank you for your willingness to be a bold advocate for the unborn in every environment you’ve found yourself in!
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Alumni Interview: Alana Beddoe!

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Alana with Rebecca Richmond at NCLN Life & Justice Student Dinner
This alumni interview is Part 1 of a series of interviews of pro-life club alumni who have graduated from the university scene, yet remain dedicated pro-life activists in their various careers. We are so thankful for their efforts on campus and are inspired by their testimony of how campus activism continues to influence their lives today. 
 
Alana Beddoe is one of uOttawa Students for Life‘s original members. Graduating with a Bachelors of Nursing Science in 2009, she has since worked as a nurse in Ottawa as well as volunteering in various capacities in the community. 
 
As well as serving as the Pro-Life Parish Rep for her church, you’ll also find Alana volunteering for NCLN’s Student Pro-Life Dinner following the March for Life, supporting various pro-life organizations (like NCLN!), and regularly hosting NCLN staff members in her home when they’re in Ottawa. 
 
How did you get involved in the pro-life club?
 
Two students had shown up at another event needing signatures to start a pro-life club. I signed up because I supported pro-life issues and thought it was important. I was raised with a mentality that life was important and had been to a couple of March for Lifes, although I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had a passion for it when I signed up.
 
What did your involvement look like?
 
I became involved in my 3rd year at the University of Ottawa as the club was just starting. In my final year of university, I was the Formation Coordinator with a particular interest in trying to make the club more encompassing of other religious and backgrounds, with some success.
 
I felt the club was a really good opportunity to continue to learn what it means to be pro-life and the stance that we have, and because I was in a leadership opportunity, I needed to ensure that I was formed myself. So I was able to attend formation sessions by NCLN’s former Executive Director Theresa Gilbert. 
 
As a nursing student, I took a particular interest in fetal development and presented about development so that current members understood the issues.  I also postered the nursing buildings at the medical campus.
 
Following university, I became the Pro-Life Parish Rep at my church in Ottawa. My goal there is to promote pro-life events within the Ottawa area like the March for Life and 40 Days for Life, as well as fundraising events for various organizations. I also help provide education to the parish on the issues as well as on specific campaigns like DefendGirls, which NCLN had put together. I’ll also collect signatures from parishioners for various petitions, like the petition to support Motion 408 last year.
 
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Alana with uOttawa Students for Life Club 2008 during Baby Shower event
Was your involvement in the club formative for your activities now? If so, how?
 
Being involved as a student helped to form me to think critically about the issues surrounding life and to be able to respond to people’s arguments. I was also formed as a leader, in a general sense and on pro-life issues.
 
In my current job as a nurse, I find life issues come up quite often in the lunchroom, in particular about euthanasia. Having conversations with co-workers is sometimes very challenging but also important so that people understand what the issue really is. There are real options to help people that are suffering, like effective pain management, but that is not the same as euthanasia!
 
What would you say to other university students considering getting involved in pro-life activities? Particularly those who are pursuing medical careers?
 
I would encourage them to get involved because it helps you be formed and understand the issues that are coming forward. The education you’re receiving as a student in your courses is based on current societal expectations, and so if you’re not being formed yourself on these issues like abortion or euthanasia, it’s easy to fall into a relativistic perception. Or to feel hopeless.
 
Being surrounded by people who follow the same values can help you recognize that you’re not alone and stand for those issues. 
 
Thank you, Alana, for your continued efforts to change our culture into a culture of life!
 
Are you a pro-life campus activist alumni? Share your story with us!
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