The following speech was given at the 147th Anniversary Lincoln Dinner, Queens Village Republican Club, on March 20, 2022 .
I want to thank the Queens Village Republican Club for making me a recipient of the Sanctity of Life Award. Sanctity means to make holy, to consecrate, to make free from sin, to purify. With this in mind we must teach, preach and pray in a loud voice that life is sacred and good for all -- from womb to tomb.
When the infamous Roe v. Wade decision was first imposed on the American people in 1973 abortion seemed irreversible! The abortion movement was dancing with the so-called Sexual Revolution of the Sixties which flipped morality upside down. The media helped spread the idea that everyone supported abortion on demand. Abortion became an industry with tens of millions of dollars. Modern biology, genetics, sonograms, common sense and decency all tell us that a baby in the womb has just as much right to live as the rest of us; and is just as much a ‘person.’ The Democratic Party is very pro-choice. They didn’t support the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. They don’t acknowledge the fact that since Roe v. Wade there have been 60 million abortions.
I was born and raised in Brooklyn and I obtained all my three degrees at night while working. Since 1966 my teaching experience spanned all levels of education: Catholic elementary schools, Catholic high school, Long Island University, C. W. Post, and St. John’s University outreach programs. Although I was an educator for 44 years I have been inspired, motivated and invigorated by being a member for 25 years of the Joint Parish Respect Life Committee, founded by Dr. Florence Maloney who did outstanding work responding to current legislative, political and cultural battles.
In the past Dr. Maloney received awards from the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Queens Village Republican Club. She implemented the Catholic Speaker Series held throughout Queens. Many letters, petitions and visits were presented to NY elected officials and candidates and the media. She established the publication, Respect Life News, which has been succeeded by the Joint Parish Respect Life Committee website.
Florence’s memory is not perfect right now; but our memory of her strong leadership will live on for years and is carried on today by the president, Thomas Murawski, and by myself as vice-president, and all the pro-life members.
In 1986 I began teaching at Bishop Kearney High School. For years I had traveled by bus to the annual March for Life in Washington, DC and now I wanted to take some of the students to represent Brooklyn. I was granted permission to establish a Celebrate Life Club. Being an Art and English teacher, I co-moderated with a wonderful Catholic Studies and History teacher, Patricia Gregoric. Each year we attended the March with more than 40 active club members. I attended the 49th annual march this year with Cathy Donohoe, the president of Bridge to Life, and Patricia – and we hope it will be the last!
Our Celebrate Life Club engaged in many projects, fund raisings and petitions. We took action to stop the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act and educated the community about the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Our club was selected to partake in the Youth and the Future of the Pro-Life Movement Conference held at Nassau Community College. We entered the Culture of Life speech contest sponsored by the Brooklyn Diocese and the New York State Right to Life Committee. I am proud to say our students won monetary prizes and one of them received a full scholarship to Yale; and in the first year started a Celebrate Life club of her own!
As an active member of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, founded in 1987 by Msgr. Philip Reilly, I was able to invite him to speak at the school where he gave an inspirational speech on the “culture of life.” Some of our students visited Monsignor at the Monastery of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn and were given a grand tour. Msgr. Reilly’s niece Susan Moore and her husband, Kevin, are carrying on his great work.
Another guest speaker was Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney and author who was conceived in rape. She is the face of the “rape exception.” Our students experienced meaningful time focusing on vital pro-life issues so that in the future they will take a political candidate’s position on life issues into account when they vote.
Early on Saturday mornings for years I stand with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants outside the All Women’s Medical Pavilion on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. We pray, display posters, and try in a friendly, peaceful manner to counsel women approaching the abortion facility; and even the men who may be escorting them. The HGPI is a movement to save babies by saving their mothers.
Over the course of years unexpected “miracles” have happened. Our star sidewalk counselor, Donald Magnotta, has been fortunate to actually dialogue with an abortion doctor and some staff, which resulted in four of them quitting their jobs. More miracle turnarounds have happened: two beautiful high school teenagers, at different times, were reluctant to enter the facility but, after viewing our booklets, seeing our posters, hearing our prayers and speaking to Donald, we learned that they both had very difficult situations.
On those two different Saturdays I drove the young woman and her mother to the Life Center in Brooklyn and made arrangements to get baby supplies and temporary financial aid; and then we traveled to Manhattan and met with the Sisters of Life. Over the years, eight to be exact, these two young women were helped with jobs, apartments, baby supplies, furniture, etc.
With financial help and support from Donald we held a baby shower and visited them both in the hospital where they gave birth. Father Robert Czok baptized one of the babies. Both women are now married and have helped other young women to keep their babies.
I am a board member, representing Queens, on the New York State Respect Life Committee which is an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. It keeps New Yorkers informed on the life issues and educates them on who the pro-life candidates are and the vital importance of their vote. It also conducts Public Policy Days in Albany, conferences and many other activities.
For years I have been one of the facilitators for a program called Rachel’s Helpers – Forgiven and Set Free. It helps support post-abortion women through Bible study, prayer, reflections, and supported discussions. It has helped many women to be free from the bondage of guilt and grief that follows an abortion. These are courageous women who have chosen to face the hurts of their past. Confidentiality and trust enables these women to begin their journey toward healing of mind and spirit.
I have been a campaign volunteer for the honorable New York City councilwoman, Vickie Paladino. She is a strong dynamic voice for us. God bless her!
I will be attending the International Gift of Life Walk, held in Lower Manhattan, on March 25 and sponsored by Personhood Education NY whose leader is Dawn Eskew. Many supporters are present today, including Phil McManus, vice president.
As an artist my artwork is a microcosm of my life as a teacher, mother, wife, and grandmother, which has helped me in my pro-life testimony and social concerns.
Republicans must continue to be Good – and support Supreme Court justices who will interpret the Constitution strictly and overrule Roe v Wade. The Culture of Life is the positive way to see the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Let us all help the Republican Party make America Good again!