Several years ago, I delivered a speech at a Pro-Life Conference in Dallas. I wish I could say that it was the most memorable presentation of the day, but it wasn’t. In my opinion, a Boston attorney named Frances Hogan claimed that honor. I have never forgotten her story. Ms. Hogan spoke about graduating from Boston College Law School in the early 1970’s, at the height of the cultural revolution, the effects of which are still evident today. Eager to include women, various organizations such as the American Bar Association, the American Medical Association, Teacher Associations, etc., snatched up these young female attorneys and signed them up as board members.
As Catholic professional women coming of age during this turbulent time, Hogan and the others quickly realized that the organizations with which they had associated were adopting pro-choice positions. In protest, they resigned, which she claimed was the biggest mistake of her life. In her words, “we left the table.” As a result, they lost their voice. The rest is history.
All of this reminds me of my daughter. Newly graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island with a degree in Theology, she and four of her college roommates just spent the last couple of weeks driving up and down the West Coast. Since Denver was their beginning and ending point, I made sure that we had time for Mexican food, margaritas, and some lively conversation before they ventured off. What a gift!
As I listened to them, I thought of Frances Hogan and her graduating class of 1972. As the saying goes, “you’ve come a long way, baby…” These 2009 graduates are different. Full of life and confidence and smart as a whip, these young Catholic women are armed with all of John Paul II’s teachings on the dignity of women. They aren’t going to leave anyone’s table. We have every reason in the world to be hopeful.