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The Pro-Life Leaders’ Book List – Part 3

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Time for part 3 of our series, featuring the top book recommendations from Canada’s Pro-Life Leaders!

We’ve already heard from: Jonathon Van Maren (CCBR), Anastasia Pearse (NCLN), Alex Scadenberg (EPC), Andrea Mrozek (IMFC), and André Schutten (ARPA) (Part 1), as well as Mike Schouten (WNAL), Stephanie Gray (International Speaker), Clarissa Canaria (NCLN), and Maaike Rosendal (CCBR) (Part 2).

Stay tuned next week for the ‘honourable mentions’ – books that were in second place in the minds of these Canadian leaders, but are definitely still worth reading!

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beckwithJojo Ruba, Executive Director of Faith Beyond Belief

Politically Correct Death by Francis Beckwith

“Pro-life philosopher Francis Beckwith insightfully lays out the arguments around the abortion debate. By organizing sections into definitions, quotes and stats etc., Beckwith provides an easy to flip- through book that will help you find quick references for the pro-life position.”

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Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada

unprotectedUnprotected by Miriam Grossman, MD

“It is an excellent read in terms of understanding the terribly self-destructive climate on our college campuses that has led to a brutal and unforgiving hook-up culture in which young women are most often the victims. Abortion is discussed, but also the reality that our beautiful gift of fertility that we take so much for granted is in fact very fragile and will not withstand this totally abnormal culture. Sexually transmitted diseases (many undetected for lack of symptoms), abortion, hormonal contraceptives and the putting off of childbirth are contributing to an epidemic of infertility, a devastating condition. This condition, and its modern remedies of IVF, have life-long implications that are rarely considered until it is too late. A must read for university students AND their parents.”

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Rebecca Richmond, outgoing Executive Director of National Campus Life Network

viritus leadershipVirtuous Leadership, by Alexandre Havard

“This was one of the first books I read when I started working for NCLN and it has shaped my view of leadership – and subsequently shaped our organizational culture as well (because I’ve made everyone else read it too). Havard challenges the idea that leadership is temperament, experience, or something we’re born with. His vision of leadership is that leadership is character, and the content of character is virtue. As such, leadership is not an exclusive or exclusionary position – all of us are called to be leaders. Havard’s vision of leadership is about more than building a successful company or achieving a social goal; it’s about making the world a better place by exercising true, virtuous leadership.”

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Kathleen Dunn, Director of Digital Media & Promotions of National Campus Life Network

case for lifeA Case for Life, by Scott Klusendorf

“This book needs to be on the shelf of every pro-lifer, both new and experienced! Covering the foundational arguments and etiquette for pro-life dialogue, Klusendorf’s words are both powerful and practical. After reading “A Case for Life,” I felt I had a well-rounded grasp on the facts of the discussion, and much more confident in taking the message to real people on the street.”

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for part 4!

Photo by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon, CC 2.0

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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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Turning Busy Into Beautiful: Practical Steps to Take as Students and Pro-Lifers

By Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director

Sleepy head

I noticed a disturbing trend in my language this fall. A four-letter word was figuring prominently in my vocabulary: busy.

Busy, busy, busy. My answer to questions about how I was doing, my running monologue in my head: busy, busy, busy. 

The more I heard myself use it, the more I realized that I was using it as a crutch in so many ways.  The more I heard others use it, the more I realized it was an exhausting to listen to and not terribly attractive to witness. And I don’t know about you but, no matter what my schedule or responsibilities consist of, I want to lead a beautiful life, and not a ‘busy’ one.

And so I welcomed the insights within a blog article entitled “Busy Isn’t Respectable Anymore”  that circulated on social networks recently. In it, Tyler Ward outlines how ‘busyness’ is no longer respectable but actually can indicate, among other things, that we’re not managing our time well, that we lack self-confidence, and it can even negatively impact our work as well as our lives. He goes onto describe an experiment a friend undertook in which he eliminated the word ‘busy’ from his vocabularly for an entire year.  If you haven’t yet read the article (too busy? hmm?) then do so now.

 Done reading? Welcome back.

What does this mean for us as students, as pro-life student leaders and activists? How can we turn ‘busy’ into beautiful?

I suspect I’ll be figuring out the answer to that question for the rest of my life but in the meantime, I’d like to propose two ways we can turn busy into beautiful – and improve our effectiveness as pro-life campus leaders in the process.

1) Adjust our attitudes.

Attitude is contagious. How we decide to approach our to-do list, our balancing of school, courses, athletics, AND pro-life activism will rub off on others. Do we talk about it as a complaint, a burdensome thing that is sucking the very life out of us? Well, good luck recruiting new members if that’s the sales pitch! Is it a privilege, a sacrifice worth making, an amazing group of people to collaborate with? Now that is the kind of group I would want to join.

A positive attitude, even amongst a very full schedule, actually goes a long way to contribute to your wellbeing. And a busy attitude? Well, as Ward’s article states,

“Busy, it would seem, is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The more we said it – the more we felt it.  The more we felt – the more we acted like it.  The more we acted like it – (well, you know the rest).  Guess what?  When we quit saying it, we reversed SOME (not all) of the craziness.” 

It’s not that you ignore the fact that there’s a lot going on; you simply don’t allow it to make you miserable and frantic. And believe me, operating at a frantic pace really just manages to exhaust you and everyone else.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off, occupied and ‘busy’. What matters is, ultimately, what I did and if what I did really mattered. Did I take care of what really mattered so that the staff and students’ needs are being served? Was my team served or did they suffer because of my leadership?  

It’s a work in progress, but trust me, even a bit of progress can go a long way to help you and those around you – including your club.

2) Focus on the beautiful, not the busy.

In attempting to remove ‘busy’ from my vocabulary, I struggled to figure out what to say instead. I decided to try to share a bit of beauty instead of just the busy. It helped me adjust my attitude, as I discussed above, because I began noticing how much beauty is in my life. 

I also began to realize I was missing out on a lot. It’s much easier to answer ‘How are you?’ with ‘busy’ and leave it at that. It’s easier to talk about the to-do list circulating in my brain instead of the amazing things I get to be a part of. 

So instead of pulling out a laundry list to impress people with how little you sleep and how much you work, speak instead of something that has blessed you or interested you. Even simple questions like “How are you?”, “How was work?”, “How was school?”, “How is the pro-life club?” are opportunities to value those we come into contact with, to truly engage with them in a conversation, and to invest in the relationships.

Take it a step farther: use these as opportunities to share the amazing things you are doing on campus. If you have an event coming up, share your excitement about it. Now you have the opening to invite your friend to be a part of it, either by helping with the organizing or even just attending. Imagine the impact this could have on the membership of your club is even a few members of your leadership team started doing this!

 Easier said than done? Absolutely. But make a start:

  • Try eliminating ‘busy’ from your vocabulary – even just for a month;
  • Share the beautiful instead of the busy when people ask you how you are or how school/work/pro-life activism is going;
  • Use opportunities of sharing the beautiful to invite people to be a part of it by joining the club and coming out to the events. 

We, as pro-life students, are the voices of life on our campuses. In most cases, we are the only opportunity that our peers will have to hear the pro-life message on campus. We owe it to our peers and, most importantly, to all those babies whose lives are on the line to speak up and stand up. There are many things we will need to be in order to serve the cause and merely ‘busy’ is not one of them. Let us, instead, be beautiful, bold, courageous, and attentive to what matters and the opportunities that surround us. Let us, together, make 2014 a year of beauty.

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uOttawa Students For Life: Thriving On Joy

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

There’s a great story today in the Ottawa Citizen about a local man who didn’t let a life-altering accident keep him down. He accepted the cards he had been dealt and turned them into a winning hand. It seems he’s writing a book, which sounds like it would be quite the inspiration, no matter your particular circumstances.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.

Youth Protecting Youth: Who inspires you?

This post was written for Youth Protecting Youth by ypyvicepresident. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

I was recently given a wonderful opportunity: I got to meet Nick Vujicic, a 27-year-old motivational speaker from Australia. To date, he has traveled to 32 countries and spoken to millions of people about his story and his faith.

What makes this man so inspirational? He was born without arms or legs. His parents didn’t expect this while his mother was pregnant – they found out when he was born. I encourage you to learn more about his story. This man has overcome so many obstacles and has dedicated his life to helping others.

But what is this doing on the pro-life club’s blog? The unfortunate reality of our society is that when a woman is pregnant and prenatal testing reveals that the baby may have some sort of disability, there is significant pressure for her to choose abortion. After meeting Nick Vujicic we met a woman whose young daughter was born without arms. Doctors encouraged her to have an abortion, but she chose not to. Her daughter is two years old now, and she’s a wonderful little girl.

Many times in discussions of abortion people have said to me “What about babies that are going to be born with disabilities? Isn’t it better to spare them from such a difficult life?” I ask you: Would someone be justified in killing Nick Vujicic because he has no arms or legs and faces many challenges in his life because of this? Of course not! Would someone be justified in killing a toddler born without arms because she will face many obstacles as she grows up? Of course not! Would someone be justified in killing a newborn baby because of his or her differences or disabilities? Of course not! So why would we kill an unborn human being for these reasons?

This brings us back to the fundamental question in the abortion debate: what are the unborn? As American apologist Gregory Koukl says, “If the unborn are not human, no justification for elective abortion is necessary. But if the unborn are human, no justification for elective abortion is adequate.” Biologically, from the moment of fertilization, there exists a unique individual of the human species – a human being.

Our value is determined by what we are (human beings), not by what our capabilities are. We don’t have to look too hard to find examples of people who inspire us precisely because they have overcome significant challenges in their life. Who inspires you?


Read the comments at the Youth Protecting Youth website.