Ana Rivera (left) alongside other 40 Days for Life pro-life activists in Hamilton, Ont. Photo courtesy Ana Rivera

Ana Rivera drives Hamilton’s 40 Days for Life

By  John Wilson, Register Correspondent
  • March 3, 2024

40 Days for Life in Hamilton, Ont., is completing its fifth campaign under the leadership of Ana Rivera. 

It’s a continuation of the pro-life sensibilities Rivera has been developing since her earliest years. In an interview with The Catholic Register, she traced her vocation to defend the unborn back to hearing the testimonies of pro-life workers on a Catholic radio station, Radio Maria Colombia. 

“I was just very inspired by the things that they were doing and hearing that people would take the time to go out and pray for the end of abortion,” said Rivera, who launched the annual 40 Days for Life campaign in the Steel City in 2019, 

Rivera’s desire to work for the pro-life cause only deepened as the years went on. 

“I think my years in high school definitely pushed me to a point where I was aware that abortion is an injustice that needs attention,” she said.

After joining her school’s pro-life club, Culture of Life, Rivera recalls the first time she was challenged by a fellow student. 

“I thought everybody was Catholic in high school, and I also thought everybody was pro-life. This encounter showed me that those two things were not true.” 

Her conviction to defend life was cemented during her final year of high school when she took part in the National March for Life in Ottawa. 

“Near the end of the march, there were images showing the reality of abortion,” said Rivera. “I couldn’t look at them. I wanted to cry, and I had a very emotional response. I didn’t think anyone in their right mind could think to do this to an innocent being.”

The following year, Rivera began her studies at McMaster University in Hamilton. She said she was initially hesitant to get involved with the pro-life movement in university. 

“I knew there was going to be backlash, and I also knew that if I committed to the movement, it was going to be part of my identity.” 

Nevertheless, in her second year at McMaster, Rivera joined the pro-life club, McMaster Lifeline. The next year, she attended the March for Life in Washington. Shortly after, Rivera was invited to become the president of McMaster Lifeline. 

“The whole experience (of the March for Life) pushed me to say yes to being the president of McMaster Lifeline.” 

Her experience encouraged her to begin the Hamilton campaign of 40 Days for Life after graduation, and with the aid of Campaign Life Coalition, Rivera launched the city’s first campaign. 

“It is so powerful to see how the Lord can really work through the campaign,” said Rivera. “I’ve seen Him be present there, and I think He has also wanted a lot of people to be present.” 

One participant of Hamilton 40 Days for Life, who wished to remain anonymous, praised Rivera’s leadership. 

“Ana Rivera is young and enthusiastic. She is always texting whomever she can to motivate them to come out. I am very grateful to Ana for organizing this campaign in Hamilton.”

 Rivera emphasized the importance of humility and prayer. 

“I am just a little instrument,” she said. “At the end of the day, God is the one that is doing everything.” 

The 40 Days for Life Hamilton campaign continues throughout Lent.

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