Catholic Prayer Breakfast in DC Celebrates Motherhood on Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

The speakers highlighted the upcoming Dobbs decision and predicted a historic ‘culminating moment’ for the pro-life movement.

The speakers at Friday’s “Mothers for Mary” Prayer Breakfast in Washington included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, pictured here speaking at a May 22, 2018, event.
The speakers at Friday’s “Mothers for Mary” Prayer Breakfast in Washington included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, pictured here speaking at a May 22, 2018, event. (photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

The Republican National Committee hosted a “Mothers for Mary” Prayer Breakfast May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Several speakers, including Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser and former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, celebrated mothers and emphasized the importance of vocal pro-life Catholics in society at this moment in time.  

The event opened with an invocation from Father Charles Trullols, director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, in which he reminded those gathered that in Fatima in 1917, the three children were imprisoned by civil authorities who wanted them to retract their story of having seen Our Lady. The children believed they would die without seeing their parents again and he quoted Jacinta Marto’s words as told by her cousin Lucia: “I would like to at least see my mother.”

“Help us share the beauty of motherhood so that no unborn child may fail to see his or her mother through the scourge of abortion,” he prayed. 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, a Catholic mom who has headed the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List for decades, told those gathered that the feast day of Fatima “comes at an especially propitious moment” for the pro-life movement as the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the leaked draft of the opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Health case. “I believe we all know we possibly are at a precipice, at a culminating moment,” she said. 

She asked that in remembering the children at Fatima who delivered a message to the world, we remember also “the children who we have lost to abortion, the 62 million since 1973; each one of them also had something to teach.” But “their lessons were lost to us” and that means “the world is less good, has less light because of the loss of those individual lessons.” 

Dannenfelser referenced her own daughter with cognitive disabilities and said children with disabilities “are perceived as the ones who are the least productive,” but actually they “have taught us what it means to be more human. What it means to have a preferential option for the poorest among us, to serve the weak, who are actually the strongest among us, which makes us stronger.”

She closed with a quote from Joseph’s words to his brothers in Genesis, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people,” saying that Catholics and pro-lifers “may be around the corner from seeing exactly the truth of that, saving so many people.”

In her remarks Kellyanne Conway, who was raised by a single mother,  praised her mother’s decision to put her in Catholic school from kindergarten through high school and described it as “totally transformative” for her life. She said that being raised and grounded in the faith has guided her life and politics came second to that, describing pictures of the Last Supper and the pope in her childhood home rather than pictures of Reagan or Kennedy.

She praised pro-lifers she’s observed over the years ‘literally standing in the sleet, in the snow, in the cold and being derided” and said she believes there “has been a convergence of people understanding and being more cognizant of the value and the sanctity” of life.

She also asked those gathered to pray for the Supreme Court justices, saying they are “being threatened outside the doors of their homes” where some “have school-aged children inside.” She said the protest tactic “of course violates federal law, but it also just violates everything we know about being a good citizen, about being a good Catholic and being a merciful and loving open-minded person.” 

Conway said she believes people will increasingly see “the extremists on the other side” — Democrats in both the House and the Senate who voted to advance the Women’s Health Protection Act, a measure that ultimately failed in the Senate but sought to bar states from placing any restrictions on abortion. She pointed out that in that vote that the Democrats reflect only “about 22% of the population that believes in abortion (for) anyone, anytime, anywhere, no regulations, no restrictions.” A recent Pew poll found that only 19% of Americans think abortion should be legal in all cases with no exceptions.

She said that these lawmakers should answer the “very simple question” of “when does life begin?” and be asked to “name any abortion, just one, that you think is not a good idea.” She argued that in their refusal to tackle these questions the Democrats are “science deniers” who “know all about science when it comes to masking up a 7-year-old, but show them a seven-month sonogram and they know not what they see. They deny science right in front of them.”

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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