The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dr. Mildred Jefferson, R.I.P.

The nation and the pro-life community has lost one of its most prominent, eloquent and capable leaders, Dr. Mildred Jefferson, who died in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 84 on October 15. She was a truly remarkable woman, not only a highly respected surgeon but also the first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

But more important than all of her professional accomplishments -- and there were many -- was her complete dedication to saving the lives of unborn babies. As she once stated, "I became a physician in order to help save lives. I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live." (You can read Dr. Jefferson's obituary here.)

She saw the plague of abortion on the horizon long before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, and was among the founders of the National Right to Life Committee and Massachusetts Citizens for Life.

I had the honor of meeting Dr. Jefferson on several occasions during various pro-life gatherings in Massachusetts and was always impressed by her tremendous enthusiasm, her optimism, and her single-minded devotion to the truth. She will be greatly missed, but her influence will continue to be felt in the lives of those she mentored and the lives of those she saved.

May she rest in the Father's loving embrace as He says to her: "Well done, good and faithful servant."

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