The Crusaders for Life club at the University of Dallas has started a new initiative to further the prolife cause: visiting nursing homes around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Martha Depew, junior English major and president of the CFL, said, “We’re pro-life and we’re pro-holistic life. Obviously, our focus is abortion, since those are the most innocent and vulnerable lives, but we’re also prolife in many other ways. I think that respecting life from womb to tomb and upholding the dignity of the elderly is important.”
The CFL is the pro-life presence on campus. The club engages in events such as volunteering at maternity homes, fundraising for pro-life pregnancy centers and praying a weekly rosary together.
Emma Wells, junior theology major and volunteer officer for the CFL, said, “I would just like to highlight how much of a gift it is for us to be able to do this ministry, because it’s definitely a good opportunity to be practicing works of mercy and to be trying to share God’s love with others, but we also experience so much of God’s love through the people we encounter too. It’s really inspiring to see how faith-filled a lot of the elderly are.”
The CFL has so far visited St. Joseph’s Residence, The Eden of Las Colinas, Traymore Nursing Center and Ashford Hall Nursing and Rehabilitation.
Nico Walz, senior philosophy and classical philology major and dialogue officer for the CFL, said, “Visiting nursing homes has been a very human experience, an opportunity to come face to face with human persons who, like all of us, are both extraordinarily unique and so much in need of love. It has been a blessing to give attention to the beauty of the people we encounter there.”
The club meets at the UD tower on Sundays at 12:45 p.m., prays together, and then splits up into groups of four or five to visit the nursing homes.
“We’ve been trying to go to the same places so that we can build relationships with the people there. It’s been really beautiful to see the response of the students coming,” said Wells. “The response of the residents has also been really humbling to see because they definitely seem to appreciate our presence.”
The idea to start visiting nursing homes began in Spring 2023. Since many abortion clinics in Texas were shut down, there was a need for a new avenue to further the pro-life mission. Marie Depew, graduated English major in the class of 2023 and former prayerful presence officer of the CFL, suggested the Crusaders for Life begin visiting nursing homes.
Wells said, “I think, especially as part of the pro- life club, [the elderly] are sometimes not as valued in our society. It seems like a lot of them feel lonely, so it’s really important to be showing them that they are important, and that we do love them, and God loves them. It’s a gift really for us to receive. Just to see how much they appreciate that is also a gift for us.”
There is no strict schedule applied to the visits. The main focus of the club is to spread the gift of charity, whether that be through music, songs, conversations, or prayer.
Depew said, “You can’t just expect people to be fine without getting to share their hearts with people and getting to connect on a spiritual and intellectual level. I think a lot of times that’s very much lacking in nursing homes, which is really sad. So, that’s something we try to provide. We want to be able to express Christ’s love to them.”
Depew opened up about a recent experience she had during one of the nursing home visits.
“I spent the entire time talking to just one man. He told me he had three daughters who he hasn’t seen for years and they never really come to visit him. It was really sad because he kept emphasizing how there’s no one to listen to him and he’s so lonely,” said Depew.
While the nursing home visits have only recently begun, the hope is that they will become a staple of the CFL.
“We hope that it’s here to stay. It’s been really exciting to see how many people are getting involved with it,” said Wells. “As long as there are people who are willing to come, I think it’s an opportunity we’re very happy to offer.”
The club is also hopeful that more students will participate.
Walz said, “I would strongly recommend visiting, especially if you have not done so before. It will bring you out of yourself and make you realize the full scope of human life.”
To watch The Cor Chronicle’s interview with Depew and Wells, follow us on Instagram @thecorchronicle or subscribe to our YouTube channel @TheCorChronicle.