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Young pro-lifers learn they are not alone

High school students and other participants in the 34th annual Rosemary Maher Saints Walk for Life walk from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park to the Olathe Pregnancy Clinic. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings

OVERLAND PARK — Passersby near St. Thomas Aquinas High School here on April 28 witnessed more than 250 people of all ages walking for life.

“We hope that they will wonder why we walk,” said Barb Loughman. “As they read our shirts, we hope they will consider their thoughts and beliefs about abortion and maybe search for the truth.

“Some honk in support, and others yell at us not nice things, but we can stand strong together and say a prayer for them to find the truth.”

It was the 34th annual Rosemary Maher Saints Walk for Life.

This year, Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park and St. James Academy in Lenexa joined Aquinas for the pro-life event.

It was created by Maher, a former Aquinas parent, social studies teacher and tennis coach.

She established the school’s Teens for Life club in 1989, and the next year organized the first Saints Walk for Life, which was renamed after her in 2013.

Rosemary Maher speaks to the group of more than 350 participates in the annual Walk for Life hosted by St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park. Maher created the walk in 1990. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Its purpose is threefold, said Loughman, a theology teacher at Aquinas who organized the walk with math teacher Jennifer Jones.

First, proceeds go to multiple pro-life groups, including Advice & Aid, Birthright, Kansans for Life, Kansas City Pregnancy Clinic, Nativity House, the Olathe and Wyandotte Pregnancy clinics and more.

“Second, we want to bring awareness to our students and the community of abortion in our midst,” said Loughman.

“Third, we have the students walk to a pregnancy help facility,” she continued, “so they know where they or a friend can get help if the need ever arises in their lives.”

The day began with a rally at the Aquinas gym, which included talks by students and leaders of the Olathe and Wyandotte Pregnancy clinics.

Participants walk from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park to the Olathe Pregnancy Clinic in support of the pro-life cause. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

This year, Cathryn Hund Radiel, Aquinas math teacher, was honored for 36 years of educating students and her leadership in Teens for Life.

“Rosemary Maher was able to share with us how Teens for Life club has blossomed under Cathryn’s leadership,” said Loughman.

Participants then walked to the Olathe Pregnancy Clinic, where they received a tour, had a picnic and were taken back to Aquinas by bus.

Some 70 volunteers made the event possible.

Organizers hope students learned there is help if they ever need it, that they are not alone in their support for life and that they are not afraid to stand up for their beliefs.

“This was the brainchild of Rosemary Maher, the founder of this walk, 34 years ago,” said Loughman. “What a champion for life!”

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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