Praying, working for life

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Over 100 turn out for CFL’s seventh 100s Day

Jim O’Toole, Contributing Writer

Over 110 University of Dallas students participated in this past Saturday’s “100s Day,” an event organized by Crusaders for Life to raise pro-life awareness.

Students gathered outside an abortion center in Dallas to pray for all those seeking abortions, those who have had them, and those involved in or affected by abortion.

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Photo by Rebecca Rosen
University of Dallas students and faculty pray for life at an abortion clinic in Dallas on Saturday.

Since the advent of 100s Day in the spring semester of 2010 under the leadership of Martha McAdams and Trishey Nelson, UD students and faculty have never failed to reach the century mark outside the clinic each semester, and have often broke the 200 mark, according to Crusaders for Life secretary senior Michaela Sobrak-Seaton.

“Crusaders for Life started 100s Day in an effort to raise the pro-life awareness around campus,” Sobrak-Seaton said. “UD has a strong, faith-based community, and the idea behind 100s Day was to publicly put together an event that united UD’s student body in its commitment to life, demonstrating how pro-life this campus is. Before the spring of 2010, we had regularly prayed outside the abortion center as a group on Saturday mornings and wanted to extend that practice to a campus-wide event.”

Many students were motivated to participate this past Saturday by the recent horrific practices of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who has been accused of murdering live-born babies at his abortion center.

“The Gosnell case convinced me of the necessity to attend these events and spread the pro-life message,” freshman Alex Ziolkowski said.

A fellow freshman and friend of Ziolkowski’s, Andrew Ringel, added that it was an opportunity “to help those who can’t help themselves.”

Students arrived outside the clinic in two shifts, the first coming at 7:30 a.m. and the second at 9 a.m. Each group spent about an hour and a half praying all four mysteries of the rosary outside the clinic in addition to singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz of the history department attended the event with his wife and was extremely impressed by the “students’ courage and devotion.” “[It was] wonderful to see so many students willing to spend a Saturday morning in prayer for the unborn,” the well-known history professor said.

Jodziewicz was most impressed by the sidewalk counselors who approached the women coming to the clinic that day, attempting to offer those women an alternative to abortion and to encourage them to choose life.

This work, according to Madeleine Respeliers, can be both humbling and gratifying.

“I began counseling two years ago when Crusaders for Life needed someone to speak Spanish to a woman considering an abortion. I did not receive formal training as a counselor until this past year due to my semester in Rome, but after that initial experience I always hoped to do it,” Respeliers said. “It can be a difficult at times, and it requires a complete trust in the Holy Spirit, because only he can truly inspire you with words that may affect a mother [considering an abortion].”

Photo by Rebecca RosenFr. Joseph Van House, O.Cist., leads a group of students in prayer at Saturday’s 100s Day.
Photo by Rebecca Rosen
Fr. Joseph Van House, O.Cist., leads a group of students in prayer at Saturday’s 100s Day.

According to senior Teresa Shumay, director of sidewalk counseling for Crusaders for Life, three women who had come to the abortion clinic this semester considering an abortion have chosen instead to keep their babies.

“We probably do not see most of the effects of the work we do,” Shumay said in an interview after the event. “It’s always a shot in the arm to see someone turn around and say that she wants to keep her baby, that she wants help.”

Freshman Nick van Shaijik, who also aspires to be a sidewalk counselor, encouraged other students to sacrifice their Saturday mornings not just for the once-in-a-semester 100s Day but on the other Saturday mornings throughout the year.

“UD’s prayerful presence [at the abortion clinic] is utterly the most rewarding thing to be part of.”

 

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