Black & White Gala helped fund ‘life-changing’ experience

Contributed
Elodie Bouwens attended the 2019 March for Life in Washington, D.C., through a scholarship from the annual Black & White gala.

Elodie Bouwens, a senior at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., attended March for Life this year through a sponsorship of the Black & White pro-life gala. She shared her impressions in a reflection, excerpted here:

“If I had to choose one word to describe my experience at the March for Life 2019 in Washington, D.C., that word would be positivity,” she said. “Throughout this amazing trip, I witnessed just how powerful the spirit of faith, hope and love can be.”

Elodie had wanted to attend the march for many years and was excited when the opportunity presented itself. “I knew how important and powerful the March for Life is, and I expected to be significantly moved by this experience. However, I did not know in what way I would be impacted.”

Standing among tens of thousands of people, she said she looked to see all those gathered around her — young and old, singing and marching. “It was astounding how many people were there. We all came from different backgrounds and walks of life, but we all had the same dream. We dream of a day when every child has a chance to live.”

She was inspired to see “so many college-age and high school students participating in such an important cause” and appreciated the smiles on people’s faces. “Everyone that I encountered at the march was joyful and friendly. Later that evening, when our group was reflecting on the march, we discussed how inspiring it was that so many people could find so much joy despite the tragedy of so many lives lost as a result of abortion. The March for Life is a profound example of hope in the face of devastation and compassion in the midst of so much pain.”

The positive atmosphere and inspiration continued after the march ended. “On our return journey, we were caught in the middle of a massive winter storm. We had to take the longer route back to Iowa, and we ended up stuck on the bus for over 24 hours. But the entire time we stayed positive, singing karaoke, watching movies and praying.”

During the worst part of the storm, late at night in Indiana, “all 200 of us in the Iowans for LIFE group stopped for Mass at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Sitting there in that simple yet beautiful church, with the storm raging outside, surrounded by some of the kindest and most courageous people I know, I understood what real joy is. Real joy is the deep, unending conviction within the human soul that hope and happiness are possible despite hardships and trials.”

Elodie concluded her reflection with deep appreciation to “Iowans for LIFE and all the amazing people who made this trip happen and prayed for us. This was truly a life-changing experience.”

(For information about this year’s Black & White Gala, go here.)

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