Honor this Wapella mother of 19 with your pro-life presence this month

Rozanne Karr of St. Patrick Parish in Wapella, a mother of 19, is pictured in a photo shared by her brother John on a tribute page following her death on Jan. 6 at the age of 96.

There are many somber reasons to take part in this month’s activities marking the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing abortion. Primary among them are honoring the tens of millions of unborn children whose lives ended violently before birth, and praying for the conversion of the hearts of those now considering abortion as well as those who provide them. Father Adam Cesarek rightly reminded participants in the March for Life in Pontiac last Saturday that we also must pray for our own continuing conversions and draw nearer to God’s plan for our lives.

Somber, too — and motivating — is the fact that since last year’s anniversary Illinois lawmakers voted to pass the most extremely permissive abortion laws of any state in the nation — the so-called “Reproductive Health Act.”

We would like to propose a more celebratory reason: to honor the memory of Rozanne Karr, a woman from Wapella who, prior to her death on Jan. 6 at age 96, was likely the mother living in the Diocese of Peoria who had brought the most babies into this world.

Rozanne Karr

Rozanne, who was religious education coordinator at St. Patrick Parish for more than four decades, was the mother of 19, the grandmother of 46, and the great-grandmother of 65. (See her obituary here.) Of course, she had a lot of help from her late husband, John.

While raising a large family doesn’t necessarily equate with being pro-life, Rozanne earned the label in a variety of ways. For example, when she turned 80, she asked that those attending her birthday party bring baby items to benefit families in need throughout DeWitt County. She did the same when she turned 90.

While she won’t have any more earthly birthdays, Rozanne’s life deserves to be widely celebrated. We suggest doing so by taking part in one of the pro-life observances in your area in the coming days in her memory. Or, in the spirit of her birthday celebrations, make a donation to a local women’s pregnancy center. Don’t forget to tell them the gift is in honor of Rozanne Karr. — Thomas J. Dermody

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