October 11, 2019

High school award winners started pro-life club in midst of peer ‘backlash’

The recipients of this year’s archdiocesan Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award smile with their plaques of recognition: Margaret “Meggie” McPherson of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis, left, and Sally Jones of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. They received the plaques from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity coordinator Brie Anne Varick, and Deacon Michael Braun, archdiocesan Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries director, during the Respect Life Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 6. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

The recipients of this year’s archdiocesan Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award smile with their plaques of recognition: Margaret “Meggie” McPherson of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis, left, and Sally Jones of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis. They received the plaques from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity coordinator Brie Anne Varick, and Deacon Michael Braun, archdiocesan Secretariat for Pastoral Ministries director, during the Respect Life Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on Oct. 6. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

On Sept. 25, 2018, high school juniors Sally Jones and Margaret “Meggie” McPherson walked away from Right to Life of Indianapolis’ Celebrate Life Dinner inspired—they felt in their hearts the need to start a pro-life club at their public high school, North Central in Indianapolis.

On Oct. 6, the two young Catholic women walked away from SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral grateful—they felt in their hands the 2019 Our Lady of Guadalupe Pro-Life Youth Award each received for following through on their idea.

“It’s amazing to receive this award” from the archdiocesan Office of Human Life and Dignity, said Meggie, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis. “It’s awesome to see that our hard work has paid off, even with the hard times we went through.”

Sally echoed her friend’s sentiments. The member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Indianapolis called the recognition “a great honor,” noting that “all the backlash we got was worth it.”

The young women, now seniors, described the pushback they experienced when they publicized the pro-life club’s first meeting last fall.

Three times they printed out and hung 300 flyers around the school announcing their first meeting. Three times the flyers were all ripped down by students, until the administration called for the vandalism to stop.

“People would tear down our posters right in front of me and throw them away,” said Meggie. “People I thought were my friends stopped talking to me. … But then there were also people who were appreciative and who were grateful.”

For instance, she spoke of a message she received from a freshman, saying it was “really awesome to be able to have [the club] at North Central.”

It is comments such as the freshman’s that “really make us keep doing this” club, said Sally. “We did this not only for ourselves and to fight against the culture of death, but also to help the people who don’t have a voice and feel powerless, and feel like they can’t speak up, to let others know there are more [pro-life students] out there.”

The group, which meets about once a month during the school year, is “small for now, but we hope to grow,” Sally added.

Right to Life of Indianapolis program director Mary Dougherty nominated the young women for the award.

“I just think it was so brave of them to create the club in the face of so much challenge,” said the member of Immaculate Heart Parish. “I’m just so excited to see them receive this award—they definitely earned it.” †

 

Related: ‘Hearts fixed on Jesus’: Archbishop Thompson urges Catholics to defend life with trust in ‘Christ Our Hope’

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