The Massachusetts Citizens for Life Speakers Bureau is one of the most useful tools we have in our mission to inform, educate, and activate the people of the Commonwealth on Life Issues. Working across the state with schools, civic organization, and our chapters, the Speakers Bureau delivers its message on human rights to more than 13,000 people every year, including at least 10,000 young people.
The Speakers Bureau is headed by our outreach office, and the director of community engagement and was launched by former MCFL Vice President, Linda Thayer. Our speakers are highly informed, and experienced both in engaging the public and informing our legislators.
J. David Franks
David Franks serves as chairman of the board for Massachusetts Citizens for Life. He was a professor of theology at Saint John’s Seminary for nine years, which included tenures as vice president for mission and director of certificate programs for the seminary’s Theological Institute for the New Evangelization. David received his Ph.D. in theology from Boston College in 2006.
David speaks on the priority of pro-life activism in terms of social justice and solidarity, the gospel of life in light of moral theology and Catholic social doctrine , and the centrality of the pro-life cause to the future of the American Republic (with a special concern for the parallels with Lincoln’s thought).
C.J. Williams serves as Digital Media Strategist and Director of Community Engagement at Massachusetts Citizens for Life. She studied comparative literature & philosophy at Catholic University in D.C., and recently wrapped up graduate studies in philosophy at Boston college. She was especially pleased to study under Peter Kreeft in her time there.
She speaks on a variety of topics related to human dignity, but particularly the call to action and common ground. She has spoken at the West Coast Walk for Life ("You Don't Need a "Story" to Justify Being Pro-Life"), at the Rehumanize Conference ("How Our Words Dehumanize -- Bad Words"), at Harvard ("Doctor Prescribed Death: How, What, DON'T"); and most recently in Boston to Pure in Heart. She also addresses the often divisive topic of pro-life feminism, and presents trainings on activism, sidewalk counseling, consistent life outreach, pro-life apologetics, and community.
Patricia Stewart, Esq.
For the past twelve years, Patricia has instructed lay and religious audiences throughout Massachusetts on end-of-life issues, advance health-care planning, and developments in health-care law affecting patient rights.
Pat formerly served as MCFL's Executive Director, and after a short stint working with an ally group, returned to her previous position. As Executive Director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life in the mid-2000's, Pat drafted and filed pro-life legislation, testified in numerous state legislative committee hearings, and advocated on behalf of every individual’s right to life from conception to natural death.
Through her legal work, Pat has continued her mission in support of life, representing patients and families confronting claims of medical futility or denial of medical care. She speaks eloquently on these topics, and more.
Ariana Gilbert has taught both middle and high school in the Greater Boston area for 6 years and graduated from Gordon College with a Masters in Education in 2014. She has worked with Linda Thayer to put together a presentation aimed at youth that emphasizes the beauty and humanity of the unborn child, the ways that abortion harms communities, and the many pregnancy resource centers available to help women and children. Her experience teaching teens, paired with her straightforward approach to pro-life education, make her a great choice to address youth groups, school settings, and homeschool co-ops.
Biography coming soon.
Rosalie A. Berquist
Mrs. Berquist has thirty-three years of teaching experience including six years as a public school teacher and nine years as a traffic safety instructor. She spent 18 years as the prevention director of the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts. She created the Association’s prevention programs and presented it to audiences of all ages. She also assisted survivors of traumatic brain injury prepare for speaking in the prevention programs. Mrs. Berquist is a member of the Respect Life Committee of St. Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury.
Mrs. Berquist’s talk is entitled “The Miracle of Life” and is designed for Catholic high school students. Topics include life before birth, the lies promoted by the abortion industry, how abortion is harmful to women and men, how the Catholic faith supports the culture of life, where to go for help in a crisis pregnancy and how to promote respect for human life.
Dr Mark J. Rollo
Dr. Rollo is a Family Physician. He has been in practice for over 25 years, the majority of which has been in Fitchburg, MA.
Dr. Rollo received his medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago, IL in 1984. He has also received a Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College in 1976 and a Master’s degree in Education from The University of Massachusetts in 1973. He received his Bachelor’s degree from The College of the Holy Cross in 1972. He served in the United States Air Force as a physician from 1984 to 1994.
Dr. Rollo is a certified medical consultant in the Fertility Care System of natural family planning which is based on the Creighton Model developed at Creighton University Medical School in Omaha Nebraska.
Dr. Rollo and his wife Annette have four children and five grandchildren.
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