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Ave Maria University: a leader in the pro-life movement

Doug Mainwaring Doug Mainwaring Follow Doug
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AVE MARIA, Florida, June 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Ave Maria University is a bright, beautiful beacon of hope and joy on the Florida landscape, where a vibrant pro-life culture is cultivated, lived and channeled into heroic activism. One recent graduate proclaims, “Ave Maria students are the pro-life future, the generation that will bring an end to abortion!”

Situated on a beautiful new campus, this Catholic liberal arts institution of higher learning is “devoted to Mary the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.”

Brietta Haynes, a newly minted Ave Maria University graduate, told LifesiteNews, “There is something special about the Ave Maria pro-life community; I have not been to another place where the movement is not only so alive and enthusiastic, but is organizing pragmatically to defend life.” Brietta is now working for Students for Life of America.  She was also a recipient of Ave Maria’s Jon Sharfenberger Pro-Life Scholarship.

Brietta continues, “Clearly, among Catholic institutions of higher learning, Ave Maria is a leader in the pro-life movement, an unabashed and unapologetic leader whose networks in the movement and day-to-day leadership are impressive and influential, certainly more so than those of larger, more prominently known Catholic universities.”

Earlier this year, Ave Maria University sent an enormous contingent200 students, faculty, staff, and administrators — to the March for Life in Washington, D.C.  

Corinne Zay, a rising senior at Ave Maria, is president of the University’s Students for Life club and is interning this summer at the March for Life organization in D.C. She describes how she and her fellow students are determined not just to end abortion but to protect and honor human dignity at every stage of life. Their dedication has led to amazing creative efforts to reach out to those who face imminent, weighty life issues.

“In cultivating a culture of life on campus, we work to defend life from conception to natural death. Our club is not just focused on the issue of abortion but all life issues. We currently have an initiative where students can write to a death row inmate. About 50 students have pen-pals on death row and communicate with them regularly to support them in prayer.”

“One of the most exciting things we have just launched . . . was our Pregnant on Campus initiative. It was in this initiative that we were able to open the discussion and dialogue regarding pregnant and parenting students, something many people ignored as a possibility. By recognizing and opening the room to discuss pregnant and parenting students, we have created a culture that supports and loves mothers and their children. Ave Maria is a place where life is valued and never a mistake.”

Nora Anderson describes how her commitment to pro-life issues arose from personal tragedy:  “I am pro-life because I have experienced the destruction and anguish that the culture of death inflicts on a family when it marginalizes and disregards human life.

When my great-aunt was euthanized by the denial of food and water, I made her a promise that I will keep until I die: I will never allow the injustice of euthanasia and abortion to continue without fighting them with all the energy I have. As long as they are happening, I cannot pretend that they are not. The United States is drowning in the blood of our brother and sisters and we cannot continue to ignore the pain and destruction that the disregard for human life brings.”  

In a wonderful Facebook video, Nora tells viewers “Any way you choose to do it, we’re called to live pro-life every day.”

She didn’t stop there. Nora was just getting started: “To be pro-life means to love life, to embrace life, to encourage life and to encourage the joy of life and the joy that it is to live in Christ, in His mercy and His love.”

Brietta sums up the high-energy pro-life campus environment, “The pro-life movement is deeply rooted at Ave Maria University. Positive, ever-present, and energetic, the pro-life movement, which is an integral part of the campus, is very much alive. The majority of the student body are members of the Students for Life club, for example, which host activities that range from praying outside of abortion clinics, helping out local crisis pregnancy centers, and traveling to and participating in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. Ave Maria’s internship program offers opportunities to work in the pro-life movement as crisis pregnancy center counselors and development/fundraising interns or even interning in New York City for the Sisters of Life for a summer! I myself was blessed to participate in both those internships which, without a doubt, set me up for my own pro-life advocacy as well as many other students’. And, of course, Ave Maria’s law school is well known for its dedication to defending life.”

A culture of life thrives on the Ave Maria University campus. It not only thrives, it dominates. And as if that were not enough, the campus is located less than 30 miles from Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches.

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