When Life Takes Us By Surprise

Tuesday, 12 May 2015
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 Most Rev. Bertrand Blanchet : "The dignity and humanity of the embryo"

Bertrand Blanchet was born into a family of seven children in Saint-Thomas-de-Montmagny, Québec, on September 19, 1932. He studied at the Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière and at the Grand Séminaire of Québec   (Licence in theology), and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. He was a professor at the Collège de Sainte-Anne and at the CEGEP in La Pocatière. After studying biology at Université Laval (1959–1964), he earned a Master of Science degree (1965) and a doctorate in Forestry Sciences (1975).

He was ordained bishop of Gaspé in 1973, then archbishop of Rimouski in 1992, and retired in 2008. Archbishop Blanchet was a member of various commissions and committees at the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Assemblée des évêques du Québec. In 1983, he was a delegate to the Synod of Bishops and, for several years, was a member of the Secretariat for Non-Believers in Rome. As chair of the Bioethics Committee for the Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec, he made a number of public interventions on bioethical issues, in particular to the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity. He continues to speak out verbally and in writing on bioethical issues.   

Powerpoint Presentation (FRENCH ONLY) Click Here




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 Dr. Angela Franks : "Contraception and abortion: an indisputable connection"

Angela Franks has a doctorate in theology and an M.A. in philosophy. She is a full-time professor at the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization at St. John’s Seminary. Angela is in demand as a speaker, author and teacher. She is the author of Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility (2005), and contributed a chapter to Women, Sex, and the Church (2010). Her latest book is Contraception and Catholicism (2013). She writes and speaks on abortion, eugenics, the theology of the body, marriage, contraception, and feminism, among other topics. She blogs at http://angelafranks.com. She lives with her family in Boston.







 Ms. Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy : "Assisted procreation and abortion: the psychological impacts"

Ms. Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy, a developmental psychologist, is an expert in the assessment and diagnosis of children and adolescents with developmental/learning disorders. As a researcher for the deVeber Institute, Elizabeth has contributed to publications on child sexual abuse, single parenting in Canada, the elderly, and euthanasia, and has published on a variety of topics relating to the aftermath of abortion. She is co-author of the deVeber Institute’s book Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women. Elizabeth has served as Secretary of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists and has spoken widely on her research. She and her husband, Dr. Keith Cassidy, have seven children and eleven grandchildren. 


Powerpoint Presentation Click Here




Anne helene FRUSTIE

 Ms. Anne-Hélène Frustié: witnessing








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 Dr. Theresa Burke, Ph.D: "The aftermath of abortion: finding a path to healing"

Dr. Theresa Burke, M.A., Ph.D., NCP, LPC, BCCP, is the Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard – the largest post-abortion ministry in the world. Her healing programs offer a unique sensory-based treatment which integrates emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions. Since 1993, the Rachel’s Vineyard model has spread to four American states and to over 70 countries. The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is currently offered in 22 languages. Other programs that Theresa has developed include Grief to Grace – Reclaiming the Gift of Sexual Dignity (a five-day program for healing sexual abuse).

Theresa has lectured and trained professionals internationally on the subject of post-abortion trauma and healing. Her books include Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, with David C. Reardon (Acorn Books) and The Contraception of Grief: The Genesis of Anguish Conceived by Abortifacients and Sterilization and Sharing the Heart of Christ, with Kevin Burke. 

Theresa serves as a Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life. She presented as an expert for the 2011 Pontifical Academy of Life’s General Assembly on the “The Aftermath of Abortion: Data from Scientific Literature”. Theresa holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. She is a Nationally Certified Psychologist, a Certified Diplomat of the American Psychotherapy Association, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Board-Certified Clinical Psychotherapist and a Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Counselors. She holds membership in the Society for Catholic Social Scientists and the American Association of Christian Counselors. Theresa is the proud mother of five children.  




Angelina Steenstra PictureMs. Angelina Steenstra:  Witnessing

Angelina Steenstra is the National Coordinator of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. The first Campaign event held outside the United States took place in Ottawa, Ontario, on Parliament Hill on May 13, 2004, in conjunction with the National March for Life. Women and men told their stories of regret, raising awareness about the physical, spiritual and emotional harm caused by abortion. Working with Regional Coordinators, Angelina promotes the spread of the Campaign across the country, letting those who are hurting from abortion know that help is available.

Angelina had an abortion at the age of 15 after becoming pregnant through date rape. Her journey of healing, forgiveness and reconciliation, along with her background in social services, led her to co-found Second Chance Post Abortion Healing in 1991. Second Chance, an outreach ministry in the Greater Toronto Area, serves the spiritual needs of women and men suffering the aftermath of abortion through a weekly support group and personal one-on-one ministry.

With the support of her husband, Walter, Angelina has brought a message of hope and healing to many around the world through her personal testimony. 




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 Ms. Anastasia Bowles: "Preventing the drama of abortion"

Anastasia Bowles has been a pro-life activist for over 25 years. During the time she was raising and homeschooling her family, she served on local and national pro-life boards and worked or volunteered with local and national pro-life organizations including Action Life Ottawa, REAL Women of Canada, Campaign Life Coalition, and Human Life International - Canada. She has also worked as a freelance writer for Alberta/BC Report and St. Joseph’s Workers for Life and Family and has contributed to the National Post. She is currently employed as Director of Operations and Project Director for the Adoption in Canada project with LifeCanada, a national association of educational pro-life groups. She has a BA with Honours in English Literature from theUniversity of Ottawa and is married with five children now aged teen to young adult. 

Powerpoint Presentation Click Here

Darby's Story Video  Click Here




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 Ms. Isabelle O'Connor: "Preventing the human drama of abortion"

Isabelle O’Connor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Concordia University in Montreal and a Bachelor’s degree in Translation from the University of Ottawa. In 2008, she founded Adoption Vivere Canada, an adoption support service for Canadian newborns, with her husband, Ward O’Connor. This free, voluntary and confidential service assists biological parents dealing with a pregnancy in difficult circumstances who wish to explore the possibility of placing their newborn baby through an open, semi-open or closed adoption, with the help of a decision-making guide for the biological parent. A toll-free phone line, available from anywhere in Canada, 24 hours a day, in English and French, is available: 1-866-445-9695.

Vivere Canada assists biological parents as they journey toward the kind of adoption they have chosen. It offers both practical and psychological assistance. This service also helps the adoptive parents as they journey to the adoption of their baby. Finally, Vivere Canada informs the public as well as health and political authorities about the three types of adoption for Canadian newborns. To promote this message, in 2009, Isabelle published a French version of the book Affirming the Birthmother’s Journey, entitled L’adoption ouverte, semi-ouverte ou fermée de nouveau-nés canadiens – le guide pour tous. She promotes open, semi-open and closed adoption to Canadian schools of social work at the college and university level, and to various school infirmaries.

Powerpoint Presentation (FRENCH ONLY) Click Here




Jakki Jeffs PhotoMs. Jakki Jeffs: "Hope in turmoil: facing a difficult prenatal diagnosis"

Jakki was born in Bedford, England, into an Irish Roman Catholic home, the second of five children. She received all her education in England and met her husband, Paul, when she was 17; they married two years later. They have two wonderful children, Lisa and Robin and will celebrate their 46th wedding anniversary this year. The Jeffs family lived in Bahrain, Tehran, Iran and Japan before coming to Canada in 1983. Professionally, Jakki was involved in education for twelve years, and on arrival in Canada worked as a supply teacher for five years, before becoming the executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario. She has written and presented briefs to all levels of government on abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, new reproductive technology, embryonic stem cell research, parental rights, health care consent, sexuality and advocacy; she has also spoken to thousands of students and addressed many pro-life and church and community groups. She has a passion for the weakest of the weak and for defending their cause in the public square.

Video 1: 99 Balloons - Dear Eliot

Video 2: Dear Future Mom




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Mr. Tugdual Derville: "Towards a human ecology"

Born in France, Tugdual Derville is a graduate of the Institut d'études politiques (Paris) and of the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC). He also holds a license in Civil Law. In 1986, at 24, he founded A Bras Ouverts, an organization which cares for children and young people living with disabilities; he then worked with Les Petits Frères des Pauvres (who care for the elderly), and subsequently joined a firm specializing in providing council to socio-medical establishments.

Since 1994, he has served as the General Delegate of Alliance VITA, an association with 37,000 members, 1100 of whom are people committed to receiving formation in order to act as interveners for the respect of human life and dignity. As a spokesman for the Manif Pour Tous (which organized huge demonstrations against gay marriage and abortion), he is one of the leaders of the major pro-life social movement which has developed inFrancesince 2012. In 2013, he co-founded the Courant pour une Ecologie Humaine. www.ecologiehumaine.eu. A corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, he is also a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur.

As a trainer and speaker, Mr. Derville regularly intervenes in political and media debates. He interprets current affairs, informs and reacts on his personal blog (www.tugdualderville.fr), on the website of Alliance VITA (www.alliancevita.org) and on Twitter (@TDerville). Books: La Bataille de l'euthanasie, éditions Salvator, 2012, and Le bonheur blessé - avortement, eugénisme et euthanasie en question, CLD édition, 2005.