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Steps for Those Who Can’t

June 13, 2018

“That’s a big vehicle…” Yup, your girl became an official RV driver! It’s amazing how quickly your mindset changes from being hesitant of passing cars to “watch out, I’m bigger than you”. Walking into the desert was nothing short of incredible. With each step, the Oasis of West California slowly fades away, the greenery ever so gradually turning into a sea of dust and brown. Yet, it carried its own kind of beauty. It’s quiet for sure, but there’s something more to it as well. For being so dry and deserted, it wasn’t all brutle and unmerciful, but actually gentle in a way. Maybe it was the heat getting to me, but the desert seems to speak to you, reminding you that while you might feel distant and dry in spirit, it’s an opportunity to embrace.  He wants us to attain our greatest happiness that comes from resting in Him, but often we are led away by the complacency of our comfortable living that leaves room for us to believe we are satisfied and we don’t need God. So arriving in the desert, God has gracefully removed the distractions and bustling of your every day routines and comforts to provide you with a quiet and dry place to come back to Him, who alone can quench the thirst of our souls. The desert seems to encourage and push you forward in this journey to the well, especially when encountering different sacrifices of discomfort like heat, exhaustion, and even discouragement. These sacrifices lead us to greater dependence on God and his love. Like those hills… The desert sure surprised me with those hills. There was a day when myself and my teammate, Nick, walked a five-mile stretch and as we neared that looming hill at the end, we hoped the van was waiting at one of the three parking lots left before the hill. I can tell you that it wasn’t before the hill… Yes it was exhausting, but it was worth the extra steps for the precious feet who can’t take them. Maybe your feet hurt, but they are hurting for the men and women who are experiencing the pain of post-abortion trauma. These steps of sacrifice are what Jesus took for us too as he carried his cross up Calvary. And He is asking us to carry our crosses as well out of love for him and others. I was reminded of the importance of bearing these crosses when I was given a pin of precious feet from a woman at a parish that represented the footprints of a 10 week old baby in the womb. I wear it every day now to remind me that each step up the hill will be another step for those who can’t.

– Dee 2018 Southern Walk

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Micah & the Sand Angels

June 9, 2018

So last Thursday, May 31st, the morning shift stopped walking right by a small attraction on Highway 50 called Sand Mountain. It’s this huge sand dune out in the middle of the desert in Nevada, and it made a good landmark at which to have the afternoon shift pick up. We had to head back to Fallon for Mass, so we noted that we stopped at Sand Mountain so we could tell the others.

After Mass, our walk leader, Micah, said that he wanted to climb Sand Mountain and asked us if we also wanted to. We agreed to go back there on our way to the RV park. Upon arriving at the recreation area, we were met with a paved road that had a bajillion dips in it for speed bumps, of which Micah was not a fan. The pavement ended after the registration booth (which was closed) and was pure dirt covered with a layer of sand. A good amount of the dirt was hard enough to drive the RV on, but Micah thought it’d be a good idea to drive toward the right side of the sandy road, where it was softer.

“No, Micah, that’s sand,” I warned him. “We’ll get stuck.”

“Ahh yeah, you’re right,” he replied. “That’s probably not a good idea.” And he kept on the harder sand.

Fast-forward a minute later and we’re going to park the RV. Now, there were other people camped out there, and we figured, okay, these people look like they’re a bit sketchy. We should go park over here. However, what Micah didn’t realize was that he was going to park the RV in much softer sand than what was on that one side of the road coming in. He thought it was similar to the hard stuff and figured, hey, this is good enough to park in.

Well, boy was he wrong!

It felt like the RV was riding a wave of sand as we slid and bucked to a stop in front of the mountain. Micah was basically like, “Pssshhhhtt, this is fine, I can get us out of here.” He proceeded to attempt to drive the RV forward, but nothing happened. Then he tried that in reverse, but all we heard was the spinning of the tires. Then things got real.

Upon getting out and surveying the situation, we found that the wheels were half-buried in the sand, and any attempt at getting out would be futile. We got out the pads that the guys use in the tents and wedged them under the tires, then Micah floored it in reverse. Nothing. He tried again, and the RV didn’t budge. This was our only option of escape, so Cliff called for a tow truck. While he was on the phone, two guys from the camp walked over and asked us if we needed to be pulled out. We, of course, responded with a fervent “YES”, and one of them pulled around with a massive beast of a pickup truck, which they hooked up to the back bumpers of the RV.

“All right,” one of the dudes said to Micah. “when I say ‘go’, I want you to floor it in reverse, okay?”

“All righty!” said Micah.

“Just don’t hit my buddy’s truck, he’ll kill you, ha ha!”

The truck powered forward, Micah pounded the gas, and the pickup pulled the RV out like it was a toy. We laid the gratitude on thick, but the most interesting thing happened after they’d helped us. They asked us what we were doing, we told them, and then they asked us if they could have some of our walking shirts. So we gave them a few, and they put them on immediately.

We got a picture with these people, whom we named our “Sand Angels”.

~Helen

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Me, Sarah, Alex, and the Sand Angels

Beauty Will Save the World

June 8, 2018

Crossroads Washington

Hello from the Northern Crossroads Team!

We are currently in Montana. We are overwhelmed by the beauty we have witnessed thus far: from mountains, to gorges, to desert terrain. We have even had the privilege of experiencing snow and hail in late May!

As we encounter the beauty of nature around us, we are reminded of St. Pope John Paul’s “Letter to Artists,” where he quotes Dostoevsky’s famous line, “beauty will save the world.” We have experienced beauty in many forms: from joining faithful pro-life prayer warriors at the abortion mills, to being showered with amazing hospitality from host families (like the families in Seattle and Spokane), to witnessing the generosity of parishioners who have been quick to offer encouragement, prayers, and financial support. These small acts of love have moved our hearts, which is what beauty does – it moves the heart and inflames it with hope and gratitude.

At the heart of our pilgrimage is prayer and sacrifice. Our day starts with Mass and morning prayer. As we walk, we pray the rosary and other devotions. We offer up our blisters, sore muscles, and tiredness so that God can transform them into redemptive acts of love, on behalf of our nation and world. Even small inconveniences like: following the wrong route, getting up early, bearing the day’s heat/the night’s cold, and even accidentally spraying ourselves with bear mace (thank you our fearless walk leader!) become an occasion for meriting grace and mercy for a culture that desperately needs it.

In Missoula, Montana our group was given a vision and message that we would like to share with our brothers and sisters on the Central and Southern walks, and all who join us in solidarity with their prayers and support (as the message and vision, we believe, is meant for you as well).

A vision outside the Missoula, MT abortion clinic:

The Church triumphant, all the angels and saints, were praying with our Crossroads team, the Church militant.

A message from our Lord:

“My dearest children,

It pleases me that you have decided to make this pilgrimage to defend life. I send you many blessings and graces to help you along your journey. I have called each of you and chosen each of you for this mission. It was I who arranged it and it is not of your own accord.

Your mission is simple: Be my hands and feet to a world that aches for My mercy – and how I long to give it to them! This world has forgotten Me and My face – please do not forget Me also my chosen children.

Why did I bring such an assortment of people together? To be a people of prayer.

Can you fathom the power of prayer? Do you not know that where two or more of my faithful are gathered in My name, there I am in their midst as a living Tabernacle. I bring with Me the entire Church, My Body, with the whole treasury of My graces. If only you could comprehend this mystery. The power of prayer shakes the heart of the Father and the gates of hell tremble at its power. You of little faith, if only you knew the power of prayer – you would pray all the more fervently, with greater care and constancy! Just like the cries of a child in distress pierces the heart of a mother – how all the more do the cries of my children, crying out from the distress of sin, pierce the heart of the Father.

Become a people of prayer and you shall merit more graces for your fallen world than you can possibly imagine! Do you think this is impossible for Me on account of your lack of virtue, your failures, or your youth? You of little faith, stop looking to yourself! Of yourself you are not capable of even the smallest act of virtue – you can do nothing worthy of Heaven. Apart from Me you can do nothing!

O prideful humanity – do you not understand that greatness lies in being a simple, humble beggar in My presence! This is the key to Heaven and how you win grace and mercy for your hurting world. So, I tell you again, your mission is to be a people of prayer!

I have called each of you by name. Each of you brings different talents and are a unique expression of My love. Therefore, serve one another. Build each other up in prayer and charity. Avoid gossip and harsh words, for you cannot witness to life if you murder your brothers and sisters with your tongue. It is My will for you to help each other on the path of holiness, which is why I exhort you to prayer and charity.

If only you knew of My love for you! Do you not understand that I wish to use you for the conversion of the entire world! Do not squander the opportunity before you. You are members of My Church, My Body, and it is uniquely your blessing and calling to bring the entire Church, militant and triumphant, to every place you travel and to every person you meet. Can you comprehend the greatness of this grace? Not even the prophets and fathers of the Old Covenant were given this grace.

Open your eyes to the opportunity set before you. The foundation of your pilgrimage is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and prayer – especially the prayer of the Rosary!

Do you comprehend the power of the Rosary? I have endowed it with unimaginable power! At the heart, the Rosary is a meditation on My life, death, and resurrection (My victory over death). Through the Rosary, in a mystical union, your holy Mother makes you present with Me during the events of My life, passion, and resurrection. Just as you are transported to Calvary at every Mass, likewise your Holy Mother transports you to the events you meditate on, as one actually present, as a participant. This is a great mystery!

What is more – your Holy Mother prays with you when you pray the Rosary. No creature in Heaven or on earth can fathom the intercessory power with which I have endowed My Holy Mother. You have an inkling on earth of the bond between mother and child. Even amongst the animals it is known of a mother bear’s ferocity in protecting her young. How much more is it so with your Holy Mother! All of hell trembles at the ferocity with which your Holy mother protects and defends Her children. I tell you that no child that has lovingly persevered in taking refuge in their Most Merciful Mother has ever been lost to the powers of hell! Even at the mention of Mary’s name does all of hell tremble in fear! Therefore, it is wise to take shelter in your Holy Mother! Continually call upon you Holy Mother for intercession. Through Her Immaculate Heart I was triumphant on the Cross. It is through Her Immaculate Heart that I will triumph over the hearts of men. Pray the Rosary daily – you will do well to meditate on all the mysteries (20 in all) as time and duty permits.

Know my children that through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Rosary you have been given the choicest weapons to defeat the culture of death and the powers of hell! Do not lay down your weapons. Do not neglect your weapons.

I love you my dear children! I go before you, I walk with you, and I sustain you. Become a people of prayer – that is My Holy Will for all of you during this pilgrimage.

Do not be afraid!”

Small acts of love – the beauty that will save the world!

In the words of one northern walker, “Let’s do this!”

Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Northern Crossroads Team

America the Beautiful

July 3, 2017

While you walk, you can spend a lot of time with a single person, and you get to talking about some pretty fascinating things. Once I started talking with a fellow walker about the meaning and definition of beauty. We tend to think of beauty as something that is visually pleasing, but we realized that beauty is that which draws our mind to God or draws us closer to God, because everything of God is beautiful. Pope Emeritus Benedict defines real beauty as “the Truth itself”, and God is all truth. In light of this, I’d like to share with you some of the beautiful things we have experienced thus far while walking across the country.

There’s more than one way that beauty can manifest itself. Some of these things are beautiful to see or hear, and others are acts of kindness or even events or times in which we find ourselves close to God. All of them made us praise God for His loveliness and brought us closer to Him and his beauty in their own way.

-The grace given to us through daily Mass and through the prayers of others

-The humility we experience as others entrust us, of all people, with their prayer intentions

-The sound and sight of wind through the fields we pass by

-Two butterflies flying around each other in front us of while we walked early one morning

-Far away from cities and lights, the innumerable stars like diamond dust scattered onto the navy blue sky

-My team members. They’re inspiring and fabulous ❤

-The hymns we sing together sometimes before morning and evening prayer

-The sunrise and cool air in the middle of June as we offer it up for the babies

-The occasional bad pun we see on billboards for local businesses

-The families and hosts who give all of themselves and what they have to give us a home for the weekend

-A trio of gourds in a store window that were painted to look like swans

-The vivid pink and orange masterpiece of a Nebraska sunset, followed by throngs of fireflies in the warm air and fireworks on the horizon

-Shards of the morning sky reflected in the rainwater collected in rumble strips on the roadside

-Praying with the local community at daily Mass

-A bed at the end of a long day

-Puns!

-The daisy we got for the RV to brighten it up, and the walking shirt we made for this plant so that it could be a part of our team

-Singing loudly before and after we walk to motivate us and to celebrate

-The acts of service within our group. For example, when someone gets up and joyfully washes the dishes after meals, or when we make each other drink water, and when we choose to spend time with each other even when we really want to take a nap.

-The car window between us and a swarm of mosquitos

-When our local Australian touched snow for the first time

-The Coloradan cliffs and mountains

-The many inside jokes that are a definite sign of the familial nature of this group

-The suit and eyepatch we made for a Happy Meal toy. There was no reason not to, so we did

-The pains and inconveniences we are blessed with every day that we give to God in love

-The afternoon full moon over a lonely highway through the Nevada desert

-A giant American flag flapping majestically on a cool breezy day

-The car honks and even the occasional train honks that initially startle us but give us a boost for walking

-The view of the California Bay Area from atop Mt. Tamalpais

-The sound of eggs being whisked for omelettes

-Our team banding together each day to pray for others, and the knowledge and trust that others are praying for us

-The small but infinitely kind things that strangers do for us. Just one example, and one that meant a lot to me was when I tripped and bashed my knee while going up church steps, right in front of a couple going inside for Mass. The lady did not hesitate to offer me a Band Aid and make sure I was ok.

God is so good to us and he gives us so many beautiful things that make us happy to be alive every day.

~Lara

Central Walk ’17

Loneliest Road in America (Nevada)

June 12, 2017

Greetings from the Central Walkers! Currently we are in Utah. This morning we left our host family’s home in Ogden, UT where we enjoyed wonderful hospitality and delicious meals. This past Saturday we went to the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City which is such a beautiful church and was much needed as Nevada was sparse when it came to daily Masses to attend. God has truly blessed us this past week.

Prior to Utah, we walked through the beautiful and peaceful state of Nevada. Walking along the “loneliest highway” in America (HWY 50) through the desert and mountains.  It was such a unique experience in many ways. Firstly, Nevada is full of wonderful people who were very supportive of our mission. The parishes what we attended were extremely generous! They provided us with donations (food/water and financial help) and shared stories with us. Recalling one in particular: we met one woman after Sunday Mass who told me that her two nieces had been saved because of the Crossroads Pro-Life walkers witness when they came through the area many years ago. Also, while out on the road during the week, there were, countless times that people stopped to check to see if we needed assistance. The police officers were awesome and looked out for us.  For instance when a wide load truck was coming through, the police came through first and warned us to stay far to the side of the road. There was also another time that we met one individual who was also biking across America. The gentlemanon the bike was doing it to raise awareness for health care. He even instagramed with us! While we were talking to this gentleman, a few cars stopped, creating a 3 car back up. The people in the cars asked us what we were doing and thought it was awesome once we explained the Crossroads mission.

Throughout the state of Nevada one could expect to see cows, wild horses, an occasional rattle snakes here and there.  The sagebush, which is Nevada’s state flower, can be seen everywhere you look, as well as numerous tumble weeds. The wide open spaces, which occurred a lot in Nevada (Fallon, Eureka, and Ely), reminded us that there is a God and even though we may have been walking on a road where there is not a lot of traffic, we always have an audience of ONE (God).  So a couple of us may have suffered through blisters this week, but God saw that we can be “walk stars” and the sacrifice will prevail always. God is in the boat always and HE will work through us no matter what. A few years ago a professor of mine told me, “When the day is over and you have done your best….wait the results in peace.” Let’s remember that with each little step, the positive results will triumph.

Minnesota

July 8, 2016

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Walking into a new state is always so exciting, and the state of 10,000 lakes didn’t disappoint. My first memory of Minnesota was the warm welcoming of a giant sign on the side of the road with the statement “Born to Love” and a cute little baby, sponsored by Pro-life Across America. To most passing by, it’s probably just another sign, but to me it was a beacon of truth. The truth that we are all made in the perfect image of God, no matter our size!

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We attended a communion service in Lake Crystal at Holy Family Church. After the service, Deacon John Rudd and the parishioners kindly invited us to breakfast with them. They were so thankful for the work we are doing this summer to promote the culture of life. It’s always such a blessing to be welcomed into a parish community and supported in our mission, all glory to God.

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Holy Family parishioners at breakfast

New Ulm was a town we had the opportunity to pass through. We made a side mission to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity where we walked through a Door of Mercy. I had read about them and what they meant in this Year of Mercy, but I didn’t think I’d have the chance to actually walk through one. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
The weekend quickly approached and we stayed in the beautiful town of Chanhassen (home of Prince!) with the Yanta family. Their home was on the lake and gorgeous, but the kind of family they are was the best part. Throughout the entire house there were so many devotions to Mary, countless rosaries hanging in each room, and a picture of the Pope blessing their marriage! We didn’t get to meet everyone, but their home made me love them. The way they express their love of Christ was absolutely inspiring. #lifegoals

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Of course being in the Minneapolis area we visited Mall of America, Minnehaha Falls, and even attended a Twins game of the 4th.

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Minnehaha Falls

Minnesota was a beautiful state filled with generous folks, and I’m happy to say I saw 32 of the 10,000 lakes. This was put halfway point of the summer. I have to admit, I got a little emotional, okay really emotional, thinking about our time winding down to fewer weeks. It’s not everyday that you can find a group of college kids that will have dance party with you in the kitchen, and the next day peacefully pray outside a Planned Parenthood for the end of abortion. I’ve been able to celebrate this precious gift of life with these people, and in return we stand together to fight for all to celebrate this joy.

Sharae
Northern Walk 2016

BABY’S FIRST WEEK

June 29, 2016

I’ve always been pro-life, and usually I keep quiet about it, (especially on social media), because the last thing everyone needs is a noodle-armed 20-year-old white girl shrieking at them about women’s rights. But over the course of this walk, I’ve realized just how valuable and important life issues truly are, and through that realization, have ~challenged myself~ to speak up, even if it means getting shot down with negativity and an army of middle fingers.

So, why is the pro-life movement so important, especially to the young people of this generation? Millennials, let me tell you something: We are currently living in a society that’s not merely tainted with evil, but drenched in it. We have taken the most vulnerable and helpless members of our society, de-humanized them by labeling them as nothing more than “a clump of cells”, and have told women that the new age of Feminism includes the freedom to kill the aforementioned vulnerable and helpless members among us, because, after all, “it’s MY BODY; it’s MY CHOICE.”

It appears as though we have a misunderstanding on our hands. First of all, what is “Freedom”? Currently, we view freedom as the ability to make whatever choice is most convenient without having to accept any negative consequences. But this is not what freedom really is. Freedom is the ability to choose what is right. Freedom

is the ability to give your child the same freedom that your mother gave you.

Secondly, “abortion” is almost too gentle of a word to describe the brutal dismemberment, crushing, vacuuming, and throwing away of the human fetus (which, by the way, is a word that describes a particular stage of human development), that harbors its safe place inside of us women.

“Oh, but Olivia, don’t say it that way – it sounds bad when you say it that way.” Here’s a news flash for you: Abortion sounds bad because abortion is bad. We’ll fight for equality and the rights of every minority under the sun (as we should), yet we discriminate against people that are under 9 months old and/or happen to still be in the womb. We’ll call them something other than “human” so as to mask the reality and horror behind what we’re doing. In short, abortion is genocide. The mass killings of these individuals is terrifyingly parallel to the relationship between Hitler and the Jews in concentration camps less than 100 years ago.

And to all the teenage “feminists” that are sooo boldly standing up for women by re-blogging an “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” post on their tumblr feed and not wearing bras: Let me be the first to tell you that you’re not doing a single gosh-darn thing. By standing with Planned Parenthood, you are in no way fighting for equality or “f***ing the patriarchy.” You’re actually discriminating against other people. Because if the baby you abort is a girl, then where’s her right to choose? And if you think that access to an abortion is going to liberate and empower you from the bondages of men, then think again, and realize that by telling men that they can do whatever they want to you whenever they please without consequences for their actions, you’re making yourself nothing more than an object to satiate their desires. If you want to empower women, if you want to stop the patriarchy, if you want equality for all people, then start by ending abortion. Start by defending life; life for all people, regardless of their size, race, gender, sexuality, economic status, or ability. Start by choosing what is right.

But then again, what do I know? After all, apparently I’m just a conventional, non “progressive”, religious bigot that thinks that the only thing women are good for is making babies and bowing to men. You can roll your eyes at the rosary in my hands as much as you want and be offended by the blatant honesty of my t-shirt. But have you ever stopped to think that maybe there’s a reason why people are so adamant about this cause? That maybe there’s something more that we’re fighting for?

Our message, “PRO LIFE”, implies that there is some sort of overarching meaning and purpose to our lives. And what is that meaning, that purpose? The answer is simple: To love.

At what age in our lives did people start telling us to love one another? At what age did we first hear that word? Most likely, it was mere moments after we had been brought out of the womb. Our mothers probably held us close to her chest, exhausted, teary-eyed, and smiling as we did nothing but cry, kissed our foreheads, and gratefully said, “I love you.”

When did we learn something as simple as, “sharing is caring”? Most likely it was preschool, if not prior.

When do we feel the most happy? Not in giving to ourselves, but in giving to others.

As humans, love is the greatest thing we are capable of. Although love isn’t always easy, and sometimes we have to consciously make the choice to sacrifice, we are never happier than when we love. It requires nothing of the other party member. It only requires that we give ourselves up for the betterment of others. We all desire love, because we all need it. And I dream of a world where a woman’s success and happiness isn’t measured by the degree she earned or how much money she makes, but by how much she loved.
Being pro-life is more than just a religious standpoint; being pro-life is to be consistent, it is to be ethical, moral, all-inclusive, hopeful, optimistic, and most of all, loving. It is pro-baby, pro-woman, pro-everyone, because it offers everyone the same opportunity to celebrate life and build a culture of love.

So the next time someone tells you that women need abortion, that it’s the only thing there to empower them, that a woman’s life and livelihood is just going to be completely obliterated and ruined if she doesn’t “terminate the pregnancy”, stop and ask yourself: Is it really? Is killing the smallest members of our society really the most empowering thing to do? Or is love the thing that is going to bring us the most happiness? Because for me, love is something I’d walk across the country for.

Olivia
Northern Walk ’16