In the days leading up to this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C., senior Stephanie Schmitt, a politics and English double major, was busy putting the final touches on a special “Pep Rally for Life” that was held in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center on Jan. 24. The event, which featured speakers from pro-life organizations, was a student-organized labor of love designed to excite and unite the University’s pro-life community.
As president of Cardinals for Life, Schmitt has long been passionate about protecting the dignity of life. She attended her first March for Life when she was in seventh grade and was so inspired that she started her own pro-life newsletter to distribute at her church and her school.
“I’ve always wondered to myself why more young people weren’t involved in this,” she said. “It seemed to me that this issue was more realistic to us, the pressure of realizing that children’s lives were being thrown away.”
Since coming to Catholic University, Schmitt’s passion for defending life has continued to grow. As a politics major, she learned ways in which she could be an advocate for life in the community. Following her sophomore year, she took an internship working on the magazine for the pro-life human rights organization Live Action. After the internship ended, she continued to work there part time.
“That threw me into the pro-life realm and I met a lot of people from different organizations,” Schmitt said.
She also said her time at the University has helped her be proud of her Catholic faith. “It’s amazing the opportunities we have here to enrich ourselves spiritually,” she said. “Catholic University has given me a confidence in being Catholic and being able to show that in the world.”
“Catholic University has given me a confidence in being Catholic and being able to show that in the world.”
As she nears graduation, Schmitt said she is looking for ways in which she can continue supporting life through nonprofit or advocacy work. For her, the dignity of life at all ages — from unborn infants to the elderly — is nothing less than a human rights issue.
“Stephanie’s work is to support the message of valuing life from the beginning to the end,” said Rev. Eric de la Pena, O.F.M. Conv., associate chaplain for faith development in Campus Ministry and advisor for Cardinals for Life. “Oftentimes we see life is taken advantage of and sometimes trampled on. Cardinals for Life is trying to bring that sense of dignity back for every person.”
“There’s a common misconception that pro-lifers are all angry, conservative, and that we don’t understand the modern world,” Schmitt said. “If people talked to us, they would realize this movement is all about love, gaining love and respect for the people who don’t have it.”