Beaverlodge celebrating annual walk for life for over 40 years

On May 9th, the 27th annual national March for Life in Canada was held.

Thousands gathered and marched through downtown Ottawa in honour of the sanctity of life and to speak out against practices like abortion and euthanasia which denigrate the value of life and its protection.

Following this same mission, a much humbler affair has been occurring in our archdiocese over the past 40 years. The St. Mary’s parish community of Beaverlodge held its annual walk for life on Sunday, May 26th. While their march went ahead with just 20 members, it carried that same passion for the pro-life cause.

St. Mary’s annual Walk for Life is done each year as a public proclamation of the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. Equipped with rosaries and various signs, the group marches from the church doors to Beaverlodge’s Main Street, placed along the stretch of Highway 43 that goes through town.

One parishioner who has been a key organizer from the very beginnings of this four-decade effort is Ginny Letendre. In its early years, Ginny co-organized the walk with the Alliance Church in Beaverlodge.

Organizers say feedback from passing vehicles is usually positive, though there are also times when they are cursed and shouted at.

What keeps Ginny motivated to remain involved with this effort through all these decades, no matter its size or format, is simply her dedication to the cause of supporting life.

“It’s just something that I am very passionate about – the message of choosing life,” she said. “I’ve had children who had pregnancies outside of wedlock and they chose life instead of abortion; they choose life for their babies. I think in part because my husband and I believed in this so strongly there was no other option.”

Another one of Beaverlodge’s passionate pro-life parishioners, Jeannine Wood, has been a part of the walk since she moved to Beaverlodge 12 years ago. She too believes in the importance of openly witnessing to the protection of life.

“We have to be a public witness to what we believe and the values of our Christian faith,” said Jeannine. “You can’t say one thing and live differently. And though people say they are pro-life, I find there is not a lot of witnesses today.”

Whatever backlash may come, the group believes that the pro-life message has never been more prescient. With the legalization and expansions to euthanasia in Canada over the past several years, and attempts by the federal government to expand euthanasia access even to those suffering solely from mental illnesses, the sanctity of life has seemingly never been under greater threat than it is now.

This is only an excerpt. Read the full story in the June 2024 edition of Northern Light