October 4, 2013

Respect Life Month

Celebrate Life dinner announces ‘banner year,’ honors award winners

Right to Life of Indianapolis’ 2013 Respect for Life Award is presented to Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo at the organization’s Celebrate Life dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Sept. 17. Making the presentation is Marc Tuttle, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis. Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, is also pictured. Sister Diane has devoted her life to the pro-life cause since 1971. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Right to Life of Indianapolis’ 2013 Respect for Life Award is presented to Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo at the organization’s Celebrate Life dinner at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Sept. 17. Making the presentation is Marc Tuttle, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis. Msgr. Joseph Schaedel, pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, is also pictured. Sister Diane has devoted her life to the pro-life cause since 1971. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

Abby Johnson, a former facility director for Planned Parenthood who turned pro-life four years ago, travels throughout the U.S. promoting the pro-life cause.

So she would know which states excel in the movement. According to Johnson, Indiana is one of them.

“What a great state you have. Some of the largest pro-life events I’ve been to have been in the state of Indiana,” said Johnson, the keynote speaker to more than 1,000 attendees at the Right to Life of Indianapolis’ 31st Celebrate Life dinner at the Indiana Convention Center on Sept. 17. (See related article for highlights of Johnson’s address.)

‘A banner year’

Marc Tuttle, president of Right to Life of Indianapolis, affirmed Johnson’s positive remarks.

“This has been a banner year” both nationally and for Right to Life of Indianapolis, he said. He outlined the organization’s—and the movement’s—many accomplishments in the last year:

44 abortion facilities in the U.S. have closed since Jan. 1, far surpassing the prior record of facilities closed by this point in prior years.

A drop of 4-5 percent in the number of abortions in Marion County each of the last 10 years.

One of Indianapolis’ four abortion centers went up for sale in 2013.

Record attendance at the Right to Life booth at the Indiana State Fair.

Tuttle was “most excited” to announce that a Women’s Care Center facility would be constructed on the empty lot next to the Planned Parenthood abortion center at 86th Street and Georgetown Road on the northwest side of Indianapolis—the state’s largest abortion center. This announcement drew thunderous applause and an enthusiastic “Yay!” from Johnson.

The Catholic-based Women’s Care Center, which currently has 22 facilities in seven states, will provide “pre-natal counseling, material support, parenting classes—they’re able to take a woman who’s pregnant and in dire straits, and see her through all nine months of pregnancy,” said Tuttle. (See related story.)

Pro-life award winners

Tuttle noted that most progress in the pro-life movement is made by all those individuals who work at the “grass roots level.”

In recognition of their outstanding service, two individuals were honored by Right to Life of Indianapolis during the banquet. Therese Langsenkamp received The Charles E. Stimming Sr. Pro-Life Award, and Servants of the Gospel of Life Sister Diane Carollo received the 2013 Respect Life Award.

The Charles E. Stimming Sr. Pro-Life Award is presented to a Right to Life of Indianapolis volunteer who has excelled in meeting the challenges of the pro-life movement, and taken leadership in the cause.

Langsenkamp, a member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese, was humbled upon learning she would receive the award.

“I asked them, ‘Are you sure you didn’t make a mistake?’ It’s quite an honor,” she said.

Langsenkamp became involved in Right to Life of Indianapolis in the early 1980s.

“[My husband Al and I] came to the dinner years ago, as many people do, because we’re pro-life. From there, I got onto the fundraising committee.”

Her involvement continued through the years, including serving as chair of the Celebrate Life dinner from 2007-09.

Langsenkamp’s separate battles with breast and lymphoma cancer did not stop her volunteer efforts, including her involvement outside of the pro-life movement. For nearly 20 years, she has been active in Legatus, an organization for Catholic corporate executives and their spouses. She is also a member of the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, whose mission is to maintain a Christian presence in the Holy Land.

“I truly hope that one day Indianapolis will be a pro-life city where we won’t have any Planned Parenthoods, any clinics that perform abortions,” the mother of three said.

Joining her in that desire and mission is Sister Diane.

“It all came about when I was maybe 15 or 16 when I heard a homily from a priest in Brooklyn,” she said of the beginning of her interest in the pro-life movement. “The priest started talking about the legalization of abortion in New York—that was about 1971. My radar immediately got turned on. I knew the concept of abortion, and I knew what it meant to be legal—and it just didn’t make sense to me.”

Sister Diane professed vows with the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity and remained with them for nearly 20 years. In 1998, she left the community. In 2000, she came to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to become director of pro-life ministries. She brought to the archdiocese such pro-life organizations as Rachel’s Vineyard and Rachel’s Network, and she helped to reconstruct the Birthline ministry.

Now working as director of religious education at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, Sister Diane stays active with pro-life activities through catechesis and evangelization. †

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