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2019 grad puts her faith into action

Alex Henderson ’19, far left, and Bryce Hutchins ’20, on her right, pose with a group of college students after the Walk for Life Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.

Alex Henderson ’19 is driven to promote a respect for life from conception to natural death. As a sophomore biology major on a pre-med track at Bellarmine University, she started a chapter of Students for Life of America on campus this past August in order to pool the resources of other students who also had the same mission.

“I saw a need for an outlet for pro-life voices on campus and wanted to create a space where like-minded students could meet,” Henderson said. “I knew I could help mothers and their babies, but I needed to gather the support and resources to do so. SFLA offers a number of free resources for students on both high school and college campuses and has done wonderful work across the country fighting for life.”

Working with other members of the newly founded chapter, which include Bryce Hutchins ’20 and Nolan Banet ’20, Henderson organized their participation in several events. Late last month, they helped a March for Life Watch Party, joined virtually with thousands of people from across the country on the 48th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. After COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the group plans to attend the March for Life in Washington, D.C., annually. 

Locally, the Bellarmine SFLA chapter also attended the annual Walk for Life with the Archdiocese of Louisville at the Cathedral of the Assumption. The event included a 1.5 mile prayer walk in downtown Louisville followed by Mass with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz along with other pro-life students from the University of Louisville, including Maria Popson ’20 and Abbi Hamm ’16.

One struggle for the new chapter is finding funding for its events. Classified as an outreach organization, the SFLA chapter’s request for funding from the Bellarmine Student Government Association was denied when the chapter formed in August 2020. Thus, the chapter relies on outside funding to support its outreach and events. Henderson said she was not surprised to have been denied funding by the SGA but has confidence in God’s providence.

“Despite this obstacle, I am confident that financial support (along with prayers) from the local pro-life communities and parishes will help us get to where we need to be to maximize our potential as a pro-life organization,” she wrote in an email. “We are working hard to promote a culture of life on campus and have also partnered with local pregnancy resource centers to expand our outreach throughout the Louisville community.”

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Students attend March for Life with Deanery youth

Earlier this month, several of our students were part of a group from the New Albany Deanery who traveled to Washington, D.C., to take part in the March for Life. Junior Elyse Kristiansen and senior Tyler Upton are two who attended, and both said they were impacted by the experience, from the march itself to the rallies they attended. It was Elyse’s first trip, and Tyler’s second.

The group began by attending the Life is Very Good conference at George Mason University, hosted by the Diocese of Arlington, Va., on Thursday night. Activities included performances by multiple musicians plus adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Elyse said she really liked starting the trip at the conference and sharing her joy for life with so many people.

“It was amazing to see all the youth of the country there,” Elyse said. “This was the perfect time to just take some time with God (in adoration), and reflect on why we were there. Our mission is to save and protect God’s most sacred, perfect creation – human life.”

On Friday, they started the day with Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located on the campus of Catholic University of America. Then they joined tens of thousands of people in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., walking through the National Mall to Capitol Hill.

Elyse said she found the rally before the March very moving.

“The amount of people, all from different backgrounds, who came to stand up and fight against the horrors of abortion was moving,” Elyse said. “It was the same way with the actual March for Life. We marched side by side for hours. We marched for those who couldn’t. We spoke for those who never got the chance. We were there for the lives that we lost, the babies who could’ve grown up and accomplished amazing things. It made me realize one very important thing: We have to stand up for what we believe in. Human beings have to give their ideas a voice. You have to fight for change.”

On Saturday, the group attended the Students For Life Conference in Maryland. Tyler said this conference had the greatest impact on him. Even though it was his second time attending the March, it was his first for this conference.

“I felt more connected to the speakers and keynotes because it was geared towards high school and college students,” Tyler said. “They gave us the tools we need as students to back up our understanding of what it exactly means to be pro-life. They also gave us some ideas to be more active in the pro-life movement. Overall, I felt that this second time attending March for Life gave me a better understanding of what it means to be pro-life.”

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