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2011 People of Life Awards Go To Doctor, Diocesan Leader, International Advocate

August 9, 2011

WASHINGTON—A doctor, a diocesan leader and an international advocate received the 2011 People of Life Award for lifetime commitment to the pro-life movement, during an August 8 ceremony at the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference in Atlanta. The honorees were Joanne Angelo, MD, Mimi Eckstein and Magaly Llaguno. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), presented the awards. Over 100 diocesan, state and national Catholic pro-life leaders from across the country attended the private awards dinner at the conference, sponsored by the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.

The People of Life Award recognizes those who have answered the call outlined by Pope John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed to a practicing Catholic in honor of his or her significant contributions in service to the culture of life.

As a physician, researcher and mentor, Dr. Angelo has been an advocate for post-abortion healing and a defender of the elderly and dying. Trained at Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Angelo has published extensively throughout her clinical practice in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. She has taught at Cornell, Harvard and Tufts medical schools. She has served as an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts from 1974 to the present. Dr. Angelo has held leadership positions in several medical societies, as well as in University Faculty for Life and Women Affirming Life. For 14 years, she has served as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Mary Katherine “Mimi” Eckstein currently directs the Gabriel Project of the Archdiocese of Denver, where she served for 20 years as the director of the Respect Life office. During her tenure, she earned a master’s degree in psychology from the Denver Seminary, strengthened the network of parish respect life representatives, and instituted key pastoral, educational and liturgical initiatives. The Gabriel Project is a parish-based outreach program that pairs pregnant women in need with parishioners who accompany them throughout their pregnancy and beyond. During her tenure as director, she also introduced Project Rachel, the Church’s post-abortion ministry for women and men seeking healing and reconciliation.

Magaly Llaguno is an international advocate for life. She has been active in pro-life work since 1972, when she founded Comite Pro Vida Internacional, which later became Vida Humana Internacional (VHI), the Hispanic division of Human Life International. Ms. Llaguno has lead VHI in bringing the pro-life message to countless Hispanics worldwide through international conferences, printed materials, TV, internet and a live radio program on EWTN. VHI provides assistance, training and educational materials to its 26 affiliated organizations in 18 countries and information to over 200 pro-life collaborators throughout Latin America. Llaguno’s writings have appeared in major publications, and she has been on both radio and TV.

Since the People of Life Award’s inception four years ago, the Pro-Life Secretariat has honored 14 leaders. In 2007, the recipients were: John Bruchalski, MD, FACOG, founder/director of Divine Mercy Care and Tepeyac Family Center; Molly Kertz, retired director of the Respect Life Office, Archdiocese of St. Louis; and Thomas J. Marzen (awarded posthumously), former director of the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled. The 2008 recipients were: Carolyn Brown-Davis (awarded posthumously), advocate for the African-American, African and Caribbean communities; Ann Dierks, retired director of the Respect Life Office and director of Project Rachel, Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas; and Ralph Miech, MD, PhD, professor of pharmacology, founding member of the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics (CARE), and expert witness on life issues.

The 2009 recipients were Hanna Klaus, MD, founder of TeenSTAR Program, and director of the Natural Family Planning Center of Washington; Virginia McCaskey, pro-life advocate and witness; and Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel and executive director, National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation & Healing (NOPARH). The 2010 recipients were: Patricia Bainbridge, former director of the Respect Life Office in the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois; William E. May, PhD, senior fellow at the Culture of Life Foundation; and Msgr. Philip J. Reilly, founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.

Two students from The Catholic University of America were recognized in early 2010 with the first People of Life Student Leader Awards: Thomas Nellson, director of pro-life hospitality; and Lauren Roselli, former president, Students for Life.

For more information on the bishops’ People of Life campaign, visit


Keywords: Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB, Catholic bishops, pro-life, People of Life campaign, People of Life Award, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, Joanne Angelo, Magaly Llaguno, Mimi Eckstein, Project Rachel, post-abortion healing, Vida Humana Internacional (VHI), Pontifical Academy for Life, University Faculty for Life, Women Affirming Life, Archdiocese of Denver

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