Gathering in Solidarity: New perspective

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life allows community to see new perspective in power behind group gatherings

The Marquette for Life student group, Campus Ministry and others across campus participated in the virtual Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life on Jan. 22 to hear discussions on the pro-life movement.

Attendees listened to presentations from speakers including Bishop Robert Barron, Monsignor James Shea — president of the University of Mary — and Helen M. Alvaré, among others.

Three Marquette students took time to reflect on their experiences with the conference and how it impacted each of them individually. This is the first installment of a three-part series featuring their reflections.

Madeline Simmons

By Madeline Simmons

This year’s March for Life presented a new perspective on how powerful it is to gather as a group, especially for something as important as the fight against abortion. Since we livestreamed the conference due to current health care concerns, I was greatly impacted by the determination of Marquette University students in fighting for the unborn, despite the challenges.

I participated in the gathering this year for several reasons, one of which being the ability to connect with group members and faculty to gain new insights into how my peers view the issue. Many of these thoughts were shared during our discussion following the panel portion of the conference. It gave us the opportunity to share our key takeaways from each of the four panelists as well as the keynote speaker Bishop Robert Barron.

Part of the discussion was centered on how our persistence in the fight against abortion is leading to undeniable change and that we must plan for how we will proceed after the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Ashley Fernandes, a pediatric doctor and one of the panelists, described this persistence as that of water dripping on a rock, which forms a hole in the rock not through power, but through persistence. I have no doubt the determination of the members of the Marquette for Life club together with the pro-life generation as a whole are very near to reaching the other side of that rock. The event concluded with my favorite part of the gathering, which was the Mass for Life. It gave me the opportunity to meditate on the discussion of the day and shift my focus from that of a fight to that of a changing culture so we can all see the light on the other side of the rock.