October 01, 2023
Larissa York said the Cardinals for Life welcome all on the pro-life journey. (Catholic University/Patrick G. Ryan)

With Respect for Life month getting underway, Cardinals for Life president Larissa York is helping to grow the organization – and a culture of life on campus.

The senior biology major oversees one of the largest student organizations at The Catholic University of America, reflecting the pro-life culture of the student body. With more than 900 current students and recent alumni on its rolls, Cardinals for Life is a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting a sustainable culture of life that respects the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.

“It's always in a way that is sensitive to each person's story and fully acknowledges that everybody is at a different place in their pro-life journey,”  York said.

“We’re letting people come as they are, and continuing to learn for ourselves, as well as inviting them to learn alongside us.”

Throughout the month of October, celebrated as Respect Life Month, Cardinals for Life will host or partner on a series of events both on campus and off, including a rosary series each Monday at St. Vincent’s Chapel and gather for prayers near a city Planned Parenthood facility on Saturdays. Psychology Professor Katrina Furth, an associate scholar with the Charlotte Lozier Institute and lead researcher/writer for the Voyage of Life, will speak about the science of embryonic and fetal development on Oct. 3 at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center's Rooms 321 and 323. On Oct. 16, the group will also serve at the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center, which serves as a maternity home.

There is already incredible momentum to the start of the academic year. More than 100 students participated in making 250 care packages for patients at nearby Children’s National Hospital. In addition, over 100 first-year students registered to participate in the Cardinals for Life throughout the year, when Cardinals for Life engages in advocacy, and pro-life conferences, and participates in both the Vigil for Life and the March for Life in January.

“A lot of our club members also help out with campus ministry service and all kinds of other things,” York said. “Our community is very servant-hearted.”

York, who had shoulder surgery this past summer, has also been actively involved in the first-year launch of The Guadalupe Project as an intern. It was created to foster an environment of accompaniment and support on campus for new parents facing the challenges that arise in family life.

At Catholic University, York said ethics are central to life in class and out. Playing a part in that, she said, is her calling.

“It's not a heavy burden to carry,” York said. “It's really a joy.”