Jim Graves is a Catholic writer and editor living in Newport Beach, California. He previously served as Managing Editor for the Diocese of Orange Bulletin, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Orange, California. His work has appeared in the National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, Cal Catholic Daily and Catholic World Report.
Sr. Lucy Marie, S.V. is a member of the Sisters of Life religious community in New York. She is from Harrison, New York, and joined the community on its foundation day, June 1, 1991.
For decades, she and the members of her community have been regular participants in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., a peaceful protest of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision striking down the nation’s anti-abortion laws. The sisters also have participated in similar events in other parts of the country, including the Walk for Life in San Francisco and OneLife LA in Los Angeles.
The 46th annual March will be held Friday, Jan. 18. Sr. Lucy Marie recently shared about her community, and their regular participation in the March.
Tell me about the Sisters of Life.
The Sisters of Life are a religious community of women founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor, the late Archbishop of New York. We take a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.
We commit to deep, daily prayer, lifting up the needs of every human person, especially the most vulnerable, to Jesus, the Lord of Life. We offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to women who are pregnant and in crisis. We offer weekend retreats for men and women who need a spiritual re-charging and a re-ignition of their hopes. We journey with women in finding hope, healing, and freedom after abortion, through one-on-one spiritual accompaniment, days of prayer and healing, monthly gatherings, retreats, and training in dioceses and seminaries. We spiritually accompany college students through one-on-one meetings, talks, retreats, pilgrimages, and mission trips. We also speak to people across the USA and Canada about human life, love, and God’s abundant mercy.
Why did you join the community?
The short version of why I joined the Sisters of Life is that I saw the devastation that abortion caused in the lives of women I knew, and I wanted to give my life to help women and others come to understand the truth and reality that abortion is not a good for women or men or our culture. I also wanted people to come to know that the fullness of truth, life, and reality is found in Jesus Christ. It’s found in a relationship with Him and in His unconditional love for each of us.
How many sisters do you have, and where are they located?
Since our foundation, our community has grown to over a hundred sisters from across the globe: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, and the Philippines, and we have expanded missions from our birth place in New York, to Denver, Colorado, Stamford, Connecticut, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Toronto, Canada.
How long have you been going to the March for Life?
I myself started attending the March for Life before I entered religious life. My first time was in 1989, so that would make this year my 30th year attending!
How many Sisters of Life typically come?
We normally send 40-50 sisters each year, which is about how many we expect to send this January.
Why do you want to participate in the March for Life?
It is important to come together with so many others from all over the country to support and uphold each other. We need to realize that we are not alone in this beautiful belief that life is sacred, that it needs to be upheld and protected. Prayer and sacrifice are important to restoring a culture of life. The pilgrimage aspect March for Life really makes possible the opportunity to pray and offer sacrifice, and to give example and public witness to what we value and cherish.
What have your experiences been at the March for Life in past years?
Each year, I am always deeply edified to see so many people coming from all over the country. It is exhilarating to see so many who deeply believe in the value of goodness and life. It is especially exciting to see so many young people gather, and to see their joy and vitality as they march, singing and praying – making a “joyful noise.” I have also seen such a deep dedication to prayer and a deep spirit of sacrifice, as many travel such long distances to be there.
What else would you like to share about your experiences at the March for Life?
I’ve been moved by the power of perseverance. I can recall several occasions where the weather was brutally cold or there were actually blizzards, and still many came and participated. The resolve and the determination were amazing to see, and it was all deeply rooted in faith and belief in the sacredness of each person. I also was deeply edified to see mercy poured out, even in the signs that were used — the understanding that abortion is not a good for women and that women deeply deserve respect and support, and also the reality that this support is available.