On February 20, 2015, our very good friend and outstanding pro-life advocate, Br. Paul O’Donnell, died suddenly yet peacefully in his sleep. He was 55. He will be greatly missed but his many great works and contributions will not be forgotten.
In March 1981, Br. Paul, along with the late Br. Michael Gaworski, founded P.E.A.C.E. of Minnesota (re-named Pro-Life Action Ministries in 1986). Br. Paul developed the nation’s first formally organized sidewalk counseling program (he coined the term “sidewalk counseling”) which remains effective to this day in Minnesota and Central Florida.
In those early years (Br. Paul was in college at the time), he organized sit-ins at abortion facilities, led prayer rallies, and started recruiting volunteers to sidewalk counsel. Later he helped lead “Operation Rescue”-style events in Minnesota for the purpose of saving defenseless babies and to bring public attention to abortion.
Throughout the years, he participated in thousands of prayer vigils and rallies at abortion facilities, became a national spokesperson for the effort to save Terri Schiavo’s life, and remained a spokesperson for the fight against active euthanasia. At the time of his death, Br. Paul was president of Pro-Life Action Ministries and chairman of the board of directors of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. Br. Paul spoke to hundreds of groups about defending the defenseless, vulnerable, and poor. A milestone in Br. Paul’s career was his very moving address to hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters in attendance at the 2011 March for Life.
His legacy includes more than 3,000 babies that have been documented saved from abortion through the sidewalk counseling work of Pro-Life Action Ministries, inspiring countless others to join in the effort to directly defend innocent lives, and bringing to the attention of the whole pro-life movement the need to include work for those vulnerable to active euthanasia. We feel blessed to have been able to share in his vision. Inspired by his lifelong devotion to the pro-life movement and advocating for the vulnerable, we seek to continue that legacy here at Pro-Life Action Ministries. God bless you Br. Paul O’Donnell.
Br. Paul was arrested several times and spent time in jail for his peaceful efforts to defend the lives of unborn children (typically by sitting in front of the doors to the abortion centers during a sit-in). This arrest took place in Denver in the mid 1980’s.