One of three Thomas Aquinas College students who participated in this summer’s Crossroads pro-life walks across America, Sophie Macik (’15) describes the experience in a recent interview with From the Median on WHK Radio in her hometown of Cleveland.
Undeterred by Tragedy
It was just one year ago that Andrew “Kent” Moore (’14), a rising Thomas Aquinas College junior, died after being struck by a passing vehicle on a Crossroads walk. One year later, however, the pro-life pilgrimages continued, although much changed: This year, the walkers wore fluorescent shirts to make themselves more visible. They no longer walked by twilight, and they reduced their regular shifts from five miles to three.
What did not change was the commitment and dedication of the young people on these walks, including Sophie and two other Thomas Aquinas College students, Hannah DeRocher (’14) of Milford, Mich., and John Kurzweil (’15) of Camarillo, Calif.
For Hannah, it was largely Kent’s example that led her to join the walk. “I had thought about doing Crossroads before, but I was unsure when I would do it. Then I heard Kent’s story, and I thought, ‘That’s it. It’s going to happen this summer,’” she recalls. “He was an inspiration, such a humble and prayerful witness to life.”
Sophie did not know Kent well, but his story gave her an extra reason for joining Crossroads. “Kent said that he was using the many long hours of walking to discern a vocation, and I thought that was a good idea,” she says. “I have been praying and contemplating about entering the religious life, and things seem to be pointing in that direction.” In July she took a week away from the walk to visit a monastery in Ohio.
Devastating though the news of Kent’s death was to these students, it did not deter them from walking in his footsteps. “God is going to call you home when He calls you home,” Sophie explains. “And Kent could not have been in a better spiritual position to die — he was literally fighting for what is good, for what is right.”
If they have any fear, it is about what they may encounter along the way, as they walk through cities large and small and pray outside abortion clinics, joyfully proclaiming a message that many do not want to hear. “You have no idea what people’s reaction will be,” says John. Sometimes the response is pleasant — passersby who supportively honk their horns or who give them bottles of water. Other times, the encounters are less cordial, such as the man in San Francisco who screamed in their faces for 15 minutes straight, or the motorist who tossed a 44-ounce soda at them from her car window. “It is an exercise of faith.”
It can also be an exercise in suffering. After the first few weeks, the blisters give way to calluses, but the heat and the humidity only grow worse. The trials, however, serve as a reminder to trust more in God. “We’re here for God to take our suffering and our prayers and do with them as He wills,” says John. “We just have to stand back and let Him do it. We’re not really doing it ourselves.”
It also helps that, in moments of need, these students can rely on the intercessory prayers of their late classmate. “We pray the Rosary as we walk, and at the end, we always say, ‘Andrew Moore, pray for us,’” observes Hannah. “It’s kind of like he is walking with us.”
Posted: October 7, 2013
John Kurzweil (’15), Sophie Macik (’15), and a fellow Crossroads walker on the beach in San Francisco