National Campus Life Network > Blog > Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy

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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The Experience of the Washington March for Life

By Kathleen Dunn

Kathleen is the President of the Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (Barry’s Bay, ON). This post originally appeared on the blog of Catholic Chapter House on February 1st.  It appears here with permission.

This past Monday, January, 24th, the streets of Washington were flooded with 400,000 devoted Pro Life activists  for the National March for Life. Among this multitude of young people, I had the privilege of standing with twenty of my classmates and three staff members from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy. It was a rousing experience, as many of us have never attended such a large Pro Life rally before. With generous donations from the local Knights of Columbus, and St. Hedwig’s parishioners, we were fortunate to be able to afford the adequate rental vans to commute the group of us down to the States from Barry’s Bay, Ontario.

As an initiative of our school’s Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club, we felt there were a number of reasons why we should make the pilgrimage to Washington’s March. First of all, as the Academy educates a number of American students, we felt it important to give them the opportunity to attend their nation’s march with strong support from their peers. Secondly, the United States is a country that is influential both culturally and politically. As Canadians, we have a government who doesn’t seem to have the backbone to make these important decisions. If the American government changes its laws on abortion, we can have hope that Canada would emulate this movement towards the sanctity of life. Finally, and most importantly, as Pro Lifers, Catholics, and simply as human beings, we have the duty to protect the innocent, no matter what country they are from. If we have any opportunity to pray for, support, and stand up for the voiceless, we have the responsibility to do so.

With that being said, so began our 12 hour trek, beginning in Barry’s Bay, early on the previous Saturday morning. Everyone gathered in the school parking lot, with excited spirits, ready to get started on our pilgrimage. With blessings from Fr. Brian Christie, we set off in 4 vehicles towards our destination. Thanks be to God, we arrived safely and we were welcomed by the Thomason family, who so generously put all of us up for the next three nights in their beautiful, Virginia home.

After spending Sunday afternoon exploring the sights of Washington, we attended the National Prayer Vigil for Life Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This is where our March for Life experience truly began. We joined 10,000 Catholics, packing the pews and filling the aisles, for the celebration of this Holy Mass. I don’t know how this great number of us fit in this Basilica, large though it was. I had never seen this many Catholics – mainly youth! – under one roof before. Hundreds of bishops, cardinals, priests, seminarians, and other religious attended as well. This in itself was an uplifting sight to see. The Mass was beautiful, traditional and reverent, complete with booming organ and a spectacular choir. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, was the principle celebrant of the Mass, and gave a motivating homily to the multitude of Catholics who attentively listened from any and every spare floor space in the Basilica. This Mass, I felt, was the most beautiful part of our pilgrimage, as the spiritual battle is the most necessary victory for the Pro Life Movement.

The following day brought the March itself. We stood together at the National Mall and watched as thousands upon thousands poured onto the open grass. As I sat on my friends shoulders, and looked out across the sea of people, I could not even see to the end of the crowd. It was such an incredible, exciting and empowering group to be a part of. Again I must mention what a testament to our future it was to see that the majority of people attending the March were young people – from universities and high schools all over the country.

We listened as a number of senators and prominent leaders gave motivating speeches to the crowd. Their booming and extremely passionate voices gave encouragement to us to have hope for and to fight for respect for life. Soon enough, the March began. Although it wasn’t a particularly long walk distance wise, it took a few hours to complete as we slowly filled the streets to march towards Supreme Court. Various clusters of people began praying rosaries, Divine Mercy chaplets, novenas, singing hymns and belting out Pro Life chants. The catchy, “Obama, Obama! You had a pro life mama!” was my personal favorite. Despite sore feet, legs and voices, everyone valiantly completed the March at around 4 in the afternoon. Some continued on to pray in front of the Supreme Court building, others left to catch their busses back to their home state. A beautiful and important day had been experienced, full of prayer, sacrifice, and devotion. The passion and zeal of Pro Life Americans was uplifting and inspiring to all of us, and encouraged us to bring that enthusiasm back to Canada.                                     .

Some might find it strange that we would attend another country’s rally against their government. For us, though, it was a missionary trip to help those who cannot help themselves. Just like any university may make a trip to a third world country to build homes for those in poverty, we, too, can make a pilgrimage to another country, to help save those lives that are being murdered on mass every day. Through prayer, support, example and in standing up for truth, it is our duty as human beings to protect God’s children no matter where they are.

The Paul Sanders and Janine Lieu Pro Life Club of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy would like to thank the Barry’s Bay Knights of Columbus, as well as the parish of St. Hedwig’s in Barry’s Bay for their enormous support of prayers and donations to this pilgrimage to Washington. Also, a great thank-you to the Thomason family, and the local Mom’s group for cooking for us, and giving us a place to sleep during our pilgrimage.


N.B.  The views expressed by guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

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