CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI, October 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A 38-year veteran of the pro-life movement in Canada was recognized with LifeCanada's annual Mother Teresa Award at this year's National Pro-Life Conference held in the province of Prince Edward Island.
Marilyn Bergeron, who became involved in pro-life work in 1975 after someone challenged her on the abortion issue, told LifeSiteNews that she she was honored and humbled by the award.
“The pro-life movement is filled with dedicated, hard-working, passionate and sacrificial people, many of whom work behind the scenes and will never be recognized for their efforts,” Mrs Bergeron said.
Mrs. Bergeron was the first president of Pro-Life Cornwall Pro-vie organization, and president of Alliance for Life Canada from 1988-91, where she networked with Campaign Life Coalition and various other pro-life groups, and met with parliamentary committees addressing issues such as new reproductive technologies.
She also started a local branch of Birthright, after which she began speaking on pro-life issues regionally and then nationally.
Mrs. Bergeron has worked to promote chastity, especially among teens, as a way of helping reduce the rate of abortions.
“I organized the Canadian Alliance for Chastity in 1991 as a resource centre for information and programs to help youth, and travelled the country with that message, working also with a group of teens called the Teens And Chastity Force (TAC Force), organizing local conferences on the topic,” Bergeron said.
As well as continuing to support and encourage the local pro-life efforts, Bergeron said she has a strong focus on Christian evangelization “because I truly believe that if people come to really know Jesus, they will be pro-life.”
In this context, Bergeron organized the Journey to the Father Catholic youth conferences for 13 consecutive years. The conferences draw between 300 and 500 teens from across the country every year and involve some 400 volunteers.
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The National Pro-Life Conference is organized by LifeCanada in partnership with a pro-life group in a different city in Canada every year. It is a three-day national gathering of experts and pro-life professionals from across the country and abroad.
This year's conference, hosted by PEI Right to Life, with the theme “Lighting the Way: Securing the future for all human life,” was attended by over 200 pro-lifers.
Keynote speaker at the conference was Dana Rosemary Scallon, known as “Dana.” She is an Irish singer and a former member of the European Parliament. She became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious St. Benedict Award for her outstanding work in defending family and life.
Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada, told LifeSiteNews that Dana was “a huge inspiration for many of us. She was articulate, intelligent, funny and though she comes across as very soft spoken, she absolutely sparkles in front of a crowd.”
Sonnen pointed out that the participants all noted the cohesiveness felt amongst the conference attendees. “We really did feel like we were surrounded by family,” she said.
A large youth contingent attended the conference, both as presenters and attendees.
Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition and Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director of the National Campus Life Network (NCLN), addressed the plenary meeting and shared information about their work, then hosted a training session for youth in another part of the hotel.
“I was deeply struck by the number of younger adults present and presenting, articulate, professional, caring and passionate about the pro-life effort,” Bergeron told LifeSiteNews, “and the message that rather than passing on the torch, we need to continue to work inter-generationally to fight for life.”