Brother Paul O’Donnell: A Lion Who Devoted His Life to Protecting the Vulnerable

National   Mark Mostert   Feb 23, 2015   |   11:06AM    Washington, DC

Last week, in the fight for people with severe medical and other disabilities, indeed, in the fight against the culture of death, we have lost a lion who devoted his life to protecting the weakest and most defenseless among us.

His Savior and Lord called our stalwart colleague and friend, Brother Paul O’Donnell, to Higher Service.

Of course, details will follow. But I am now compelled to salute a man of immense integrity, vision, cheerfulness, and joy. A man of wisdom, quiet persistence, and, perhaps most of all, gentleness in his steadfast conviction that good would always, in the end, triumph over evil.

I have proudly served alongside Brother Paul as a member of the Board of Directors of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network for the past several years. His counsel has always been measured, even-handed, and wise. Brother Paul always understood that there was an end game in the battle against the prejudice and hatefulness often expressed against those less than perfect, and that the end game would see the culture of life prevail. Also, when necessary, and much appreciated by all of us on the Board, he could be firm and decisive without stirring up rancor or discomfort, a rare quality indeed.

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Of course, Brother Paul’s death is not where he began. A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Paul O’Donnell attended the St. John Vianney Seminary from 1978-1982, and thereafter the St. Paul Seminary (St. Paul, Minnesota) from 1982-1984. He was deeply involved with the Franciscan Brothers of Peace in Minnesota, and will be deeply missed by his spiritual family and the wider pro-life movement.

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I will leave it to others more closely involved, but Brother Paul, along with several other prominent clergy, fought valiantly to save the life of Terri Schiavo. Indeed, it was Brother Paul’s televised face, message, and heart that compelled me to join the fight as we watched Terri being slowly executed by the State of Florida.

For being the example of things good and living, I will be eternally grateful.

LifeNews Note: Mark P. Mostert PhD is a member of the board of directors of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network.