Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth, honoured in list of Top Catholics for 2013
Director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth, has been selected by Our Sunday Visitor Magazine (OSV) as one of their “Catholics of the Year 2013” for her outstanding leadership in the church. Bernadette has also been awarded the 2013 Honours Award by the Knights of St. Columbanus.
Candidates for 'Catholics of the Year 2013' were nominated by both readers and staff and selected by an OSV committee.
All nine winners will be recognised in the December 29th issue of OSV Newsweekly
In a personal message to Bernadette, OSV congratulated and thanked her for her example and leadership and service to the church.
Catholic Stars of 2013: Bernadette Smyth Megan Hodder OSV Newsweekly
On the face of it, 2013 was not a good year for the pro-life cause in Ireland and Northern Ireland: The former country introduced abortion into the statute books with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, while the latter has seen the establishment of a Marie Stopes clinic in its Belfast capital undermine its commitment to the protection of unborn life.
It would take a tenacious and feisty activist to stay positive in such circumstances — but Bernadette Smyth fits that description perfectly. A mother of four and committed Catholic, Smyth founded the activist group Precious Life in 1997 and has since helped make it Northern Ireland’s largest and most active pro-life organization.
Under Smyth’s continued leadership, Precious Life has capitalized on its political influence and dynamic grassroots base in 2013, popularizing the European Citizens’ Initiative “One of Us.” This program aims to protect the rights of the human embryo across European Union-member states, assisting with the March for Life in Dublin this July — which saw a turnout of 50,000 people — and continuing to fight to protect the legal protections afforded to unborn children in Northern Ireland. While Precious Life has generated negative headlines with their use of controversial graphic imagery, Smyth staunchly defends the use of such tactics, having herself been converted to the pro-life cause after viewing an image of an aborted fetus. She also is refreshingly open about the influence of her faith on her work, putting it at the very heart of what she does. Having been a witness for life in testing circumstances throughout the past year, Bernadette Smyth is one to watch as the pro-life struggle in Ireland and Northern Ireland grows yet more intense.
Knights of St. Columbanus Honours Award 2013
Bernadette has also been awarded the 2013 Honours Award by the Knights of St. Columbanus. Every year, they present an award to a person who has made a significant contribution to society.
Bernadette was this year's recipient for her tireless work to protect Ireland's unborn babies.