Gathering in Solidarity: Remaining optimistic

Marquette for Life community bonds during Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

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.

Students pose for a photo after listening to the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life in January.

By Katherine Walsh

I like to consider myself a naturally optimistic person, but in our era of political polarization, 24-hour news cycle and constant life-threatening issues, it is easy to slip into cynicism.

The March for Life has always served as a checkpoint for me to reflect on how my consistent life ethic should be a source of hope and the foundation on which I approach all other issues.

This year was no exception.

Our organization was able to meet safely on campus to watch the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life, streamed from Georgetown University. The moment of the conference that had the greatest impact on me was watching Bishop Robert Baron’s keynote address.

He dove deep into the philosophical underpinnings that have brought us to this moment as a society, and it was easy to apply his logic to all the issues that are impacting human life — not just protecting the unborn. His message to young people was to remain optimistic, think critically and lead with compassion. Following the conference, our group discussed in depth what stood out to us in his address and how we can bring this message back to campus. It was uplifting to connect with other students in honest and personal dialogue about what in our lives has led us to be pro-life. Overall, one conclusion stands out to me: reflecting extensively on not only what you stand for, but why is an empowering exercise that can broaden your understanding of what your life means and how you can live it in service of others.