Activist Linda Gibbons was awarded the Mother Teresa Pro-Life Award just days before her arrest for peacefully protesting outside a Toronto abortion facility yesterday.
LifeCanada presented Gibbons with the award at the National Pro-Life Conference banquet in Toronto on October 26th in recognition of her significant contribution to the pro-life movement in Canada including her multiple arrests and imprisonment. The Award was the second recent public acknowledgement of Gibbons’ pro-life efforts. Last week, she received the Governor General of Canada’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from MP Maurice Vellacott in recognition of her “contribution to Canada”.
Monica Roddis, outgoing president of LifeCanada, presented the Mother Teresa Pro-Life Award to Gibbons and noted that Gibbons has been a sidewalk counselor outside of an abortion facility for many years. She has done this despite a so-called “temporary injunction” which has been in place for 18 years, attempting to ban her from doing this work. She has been arrested 20 times and has spent a cumulative amount of nine years in prison. Gibbons has said, “I have a moral responsibility not to obey an unjust law.” Roddis also noted that even when Gibbons was removed from her work on the sidewalks, she still ministered to women and led Bible studies while in jail.
Roddis quoted Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput, “Nothing we do to defend the human person, no matter how small, is ever unfruitful or forgotten. Our actions touch other lives and move other hearts in ways we can never fully understand in this world. Don’t ever underestimate the beauty and power of the witness you give in your pro-life work.”
In receiving this award, Gibbons addressed the 200+ crowd saying, “I stand before you as one person who has chosen a certain walk.” She spoke of perseverance and the difficulty that the pro-life movement can face. “Pro-life can be very difficult and challenging, demanding that we give that little bit more and go that extra mile because we want to show that our love is genuine.”
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In reference to the award, Gibbons told a story about Mother Teresa that relates to pro-life work. Mother Teresa asked a baker for some bread for a child, and in reply, the baker spat in her face. She replied, “Thank you for that gift. Now, something for the child?” Gibbons said, “The troubles we face and the challenges we do, we do not cringe…we face it as an opportunity given by God to say to the government…our neighbours…people we know, “Now, something for the child.”
Gibbons thanked the pro-life community for their dedication and undying love for unborn children. “In the unborn suffering, when we go to pains for them, we actually move closer to them…you embrace them, you embrace me…This medal, for me, is something that we all share in our work, our love for the unborn, and our love for God.”