BARRYS BAY, ON, May 5, 2011 ( – Delivering the Commencement Address at the graduation ceremony of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy (OLSWA) in Barry’s Bay, Ontario on Saturday, Sr. John Mary, S.V., a member of the Sisters of Life religious community, called on graduating students to fulfill their calling to spread the Gospel of Life. 


“Let me speak directly about a mission I believe each of you has by virtue of being a young Catholic today – a mission to proclaim the truth of the sacredness of human life,” she said.

To the graduating students and their families of the 11th graduating class of OLSWA, Sr. John Mary recalled the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae where she said he called on “every Catholic today to build the culture of life.” 

Sr. John Mary related a story of how one mother whose child was diagnosed in utero with an abnormality was pressured to abort by her doctors: her financial situation was strained and her husband had left her out of fear of not being able to raise a child with special needs.  That young mother opted for life despite all the pressures, Sr. John Mary recounted. And why? Because as a high school student she attended the March for Life in Ottawa.

“How will you preach the gospel of life to a culture so much in need of Jesus’ love and mercy?” she asked.  “How will you strive to live the beauty of the church’s demanding and liberating teaching on life and love?  And will you have the courage to stand up for life when it is denigrated, diminished or no longer attractive to the world?”

“Every action of yours in building the culture of life will resound for all eternity,” she said.

After the address, OLSWA President Dr. Keith Cassidy presented the Sisters of Life with OLSWA’s Culture of Life Award for their profound dedication to the task of creating and sustaining respect for the dignity of human life by means of prayer, the support of individuals in need, and evangelization.  Sister Mary Rose, local superior at the Toronto house, received the award on behalf of the sisters.


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