Former Champions for Life winner urges ‘yes’ to defending life

| October 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

Speaking at the St. John Paul II Champions for Life award banquet Oct. 27, Maddie Schulte compared the decision to embrace a calling made by two contrasting women: Wonder Woman and Mary.

Presenting as the keynote speaker, Schulte, 21, explained that both women, though different, responded to their missions with an emphatic “yes.”

Maddie Schulte speaks on defending life at the St. John Paul II Champions for Life banquet Oct. 27. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Wonder Woman, in the 2017 film, worked with determination to end a war. Mary, who didn’t know what the future held, accepted God’s will through the Archangel Gabriel to bear Jesus, despite not being married.

Schulte, who works with Students for Life of America, mused on the alternative course of events if these women didn’t say “yes.” She proposed those dire scenarios are similar to the outcome of the pro-life movement if people don’t act.

Fifty-nine million babies, she said, have died from abortion in the 44 years since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states.

“We are in a war on women. There’s a war on families, a war on dignity and a war on innocent lives,” Schulte told her audience at St. Peter in Mendota. “Each and every single day that war continues whether we do something about it or we don’t.”

Sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Marriage, Family and Life, the annual award banquet celebrates men and women who have dedicated their lives to defending life at all stages.

Schulte thanked the winners and other attending pro-life leaders for their work, but she also exhorted everyone to continue to say “yes” to defending life.

“Not to just admit you’re pro-life, not to just pray for an end of abortion — although I hope you’re doing both — but to actively and passionately say ‘yes’ to saving babies and their mothers,” said Schulte, a parishioner of St. Jude of the Lake in Mahtomedi.

She acknowledged that sustaining that “yes” took effort in her own life as a student at Mahtomedi High School. Schulte said she came back excited after attending her first National March for Life in Washington, D.C., ready to defend life, but her enthusiasm quickly faded.

Schulte said it changed on her second March for Life trip. Schulte began working tirelessly to protect life, starting with forming a pro-life club at Mahtomedi despite opposition. She has continued the cause by working with Students for Life of America as a regional coordinator while completing her degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The archdiocese recognized her pro-life work with a 2014 Champions for Life Award.

The 2017 Champions for Life winners included Jack Dorcey of St. Pius X in White Bear Lake; Sharon King of St. Agnes in St. Paul; Jo Tolck of St. Raphael in Crystal; and Brad and Sarah Hackenmueller and Dana and Shelly Zahler of St. Michael in St. Michael.

Dorcey, the youth and young adult winner, serves as a sidewalk counselor at several abortion centers around the metro and chaperones annually for the archdiocese’s trip to the National March for Life. King, the pro-life volunteer winner, serves as a full-time housemother with Philomena House in St. Paul, which cares for pregnant women at risk for homelessness and abortion.

Tolck, the pro-life professional winner, serves as executive director for the Human Life Alliance in Minneapolis. The Hackenmuellers and Zahlers — who won the couples, family or Catholic-affiliated group award — are longtime volunteers of the St. Michael Foundation in St. Michael, which serves children and adults with special needs.

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