Logan Weir, left, an alumnus of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College, joins Katherine Duteau and Sr. Courtney Cullen, another alumnus of the Ontario college, at the American National March for Life in Washington, D.C., Jan. 24. Gabriela Pariseau

Canadian students join pro-life march in U.S.

By  Gabriela Pariseau, Youth Speak News Special
  • January 29, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C -- For 12 students of an Ontario Catholic college, a pre-dawn wakeup call and 10-hour drive were small inconveniences in the large cause to support the inherent dignity of human life.

The students left the parking lot of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay, Ont., at 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 24 to attend the American National March for Life in Washington, D.C. This has become an annual outing and, to the students, it is not at all strange for a Canadian school with primarily Canadian students to join a protest against American policies.

The students and alumni said they believe that being pro-life means supporting the efforts of all countries.

“We defend innocent lives simply because we are humans, not because we are citizens of the same country,” said Logan Weir, a Seat of Wisdom alumnus currently enrolled as a graduate student at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

The 12 students were met by Weir and they joined tens of thousands of students, priests, religious, workers, young families and seniors on a peaceful march up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court.

The crowds were so large that when the Seat of Wisdom students began to march, they could not see the front rows of people ahead of them nor the final rows of the masses because the streets were overflowing with people. 

“I loved seeing all the people,” said third-year student Elizabeth Jordan, 21. “Even though it was really slow going at times, I really loved how packed it was.”

Several students pointed out that, in Canada, it is difficult to effectively unite as a national movement because pro-life groups are spread out across the country. However, travelling to the U.S. March for Life offered Seat of Wisdom’s small pro-life club an opportunity to witness the unity and immensity of a pro-life movement gathered together in a single place.

Katherine Duteau, 19, a third-year student at Seat of Wisdom, described what she gained from her experience.

“As Canadians we are separated,” she said. “There is no law on abortion. We just elected a pro-abortion prime minister for the second term and the hope to end abortion is looking very bleak.

“I came to the March for Life to show that there are people who care so much about ending abortion and to see that there are thousands of us who all have that common goal.” 

The crowd was energized at a pre-March rally that was addressed by several prominent pro-life speakers, including U.S. President Donald Trump, the first sitting president ever to speak in the 47-year history of the National March for Life.

Although Trump’s presence upset several people who said his “anti-life” policies on migrants, refugees and the poor should have disqualified him from speaking at a pro-life event, several students were impressed to hear the nation’s top political official make staunch pro-life statements. The leaders of Canada’s political parties avoid Canada’s National March for Life held each May in Ottawa.

“Together we are the voice for the voiceless,” said Trump. “All of us here understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish and defend the dignity and the sanctity of every human life.”

Trump’s presence and address was a highlight for Duteau.

“It was really inspiring to see a head of state actually speak out about his desire to be pro-life and accepting pro-lifers in his party and government,” she said. “It was a breath of fresh air.”

 Duteau said the March has empowered her and her peers to stay involved in their club.

“I hope to get more involved in the Canadian political realm to help elect and support pro-life politicians after I graduate so that we can help make Canada pro-life,” she said. 

(Pariseau, 22, is a fourth-year history student at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia) 

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