One of our favorite of our many favorite events at the Walk for Life West Coast is our annual presentation of the St. Gianna Molla Award for pro-life heroism. The award, named after St. Gianna Molla, the Italian doctor who chose to forego a potentially life-saving medical operation that would have risked the life of her unborn child, has been presented to many worthy recipients over the years: Fr. John Malloy, SDB, founding chaplain of the Walk; Mr. Jim Holman, California pro-life activist; the Reverend Walter Hoye, whose ‘civil disobedience’ in exercising his First Amendment rights in front of an abortion clinic landed him a 30-day jail sentence (since overturned) and a number of others.
This year, we are honored to present the award to an amazing woman: Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life. Her biographical page gives only a hint of the amazing affect she has had on the pro-life movement–still, it is worthwhile to note her abilities:
Serving as Superior General of the community since 1993, Mother Agnes has been richly prepared by God for her consecrated mission. She received a PhD in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 and was a faculty member and professor of psychology at Columbia University in New York City and The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. In her professional career, as an academic and clinical psychologist, she focused on family intervention, mother/child relationships, and children with special needs.
The Sisters of Life, under Mother Agnes’s leadership, seem to be everywhere! Their unmistakable habits with their long flowing veils kindle courage and love in the hearts of pro-lifers, and curiosity and respect even among the secular:
Founded in 1991, the Sisters of Life are a contemplative/apostolic community whose primary work is prayer on behalf of vulnerable human life. Their apostolic works include a “Holy Respite,” where pregnant guests are welcomed to live in the spiritual environment of a religious house, and a “Visitation Mission,” offering hope and providing practical resources to women for whom pregnancy creates a crisis. The Sisters also host a variety of retreats to uphold the Culture of Life and to invite those who have suffered from abortion back to the Lord’s merciful love. The apostolate of the community’s newest foundation in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado, is one of evangelization specifically to university and college students attending area Universities.
The Sisters of Life were founded 25 years ago in New York, under then-Cardinal O’Connor. This one sentence from their webpage seems to us to sum up the Sisters’ charism:
Inspired by the love of Christ our Spouse, the author of Life, we desire to pour out all our gifts of nature and grace in the apostolate, that nothing of the gift of life, and no one to whom it has been given, should be lost.
On this, the 25th Anniversary of their founding, the Walk for Life West Coast is deeply honored to award the St. Gianna Molla award on Mother Agnes Donovan and the Sisters of Life!