On Thursday January 20, 2022, Magdalen College Students gathered in a van before the break of dawn to begin their pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. for the 49th annual March for Life. For many, this was the first trip to the March for Life, and they were thrilled for the opportunity to go.
They arrived in D.C. that evening and then rose early again on Friday morning to go to Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The experience of being able to worship in one of the nation’s most beautiful shrines, explore the crypt, and contemplate the different titles of our Blessed Mother was incomparable. One student remarked that the visit reminded her of what C. S. Lewis says: there is no limit or end to our knowledge and faith; there is always more and more beauty to discover. “Seeing all the priests and servers coming out at Mass, I thought to myself, ‘When is it going to stop?’ They just kept coming. It was an earthly Jerusalem—a very inspiring thing right before going out to the March for life.”
Immediately before the March started on Friday afternoon, the students attended a rally on the Mall near the Washington Monument and heard international speakers like Father Michael Schmitz and Matthew West.
The March for Life is a pivotal experience for anyone who has participated in the pro-life movement. As one student said, “By going to the March you are educating your mind and soul about what is happening right now on the life issue. It is the education of the whole person, and it is communion because we are joined with many other people from different ages and groups, united in this one purpose to save lives. We don’t just bond with people who are exactly like us but with people from all different areas. I think the March for Life is very much in union with the mission of Magdalen College.”
It was significant that the national March for Life ends at the steps of the Supreme Court. One student remarked, “It’s sobering to think that many people who have worked in the Supreme Court Building and Capitol Building had the power to defend life but didn’t. Nevertheless, we have the chance to do so and to look on these places with pride again.”
In short, Magdalen students had a transformative experience at the March for Life, and though we hope that next year the March will be a celebration of changing tides, they are eager to march again in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Christ, in witness to life.