Chesterton Academy Mourns the Loss of a Pro-Life Hero, Dr. Charles Rice

From the Headmaster


It is with great sadness that I share with our community the news of the passing last week of Dr. Charles Rice. Dr. Rice was a pro-life hero to many of us. He was a giant of American Catholicism across many, many years of service, spent largely at Notre Dame's law school where he became an expert in the study and application of natural law. He was a member of the Chesterton Academy Advisory Council, and lent his considerable reputation to the school when we were still building credibility. Dr. Rice was an early champion of the pro-life movement and trained a generation of graduates to take up the challenge. Dr. Rice's most recent book, “Contraception and Persecution,” drew disquieting conclusions from the normalization of contraception. The introduction to that important book was written by our own Alyssa Bormes. He will be sorely missed.

This news comes on the heels of two more losses to the pro-life movement in this country. The national movement lost another great warrior in Dr. Jack Willke, who was an advocate for the unborn even before the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. He could be called the father of the pro-life movement. Also, our local community lost Brother Paul Joseph O'Donnell of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace last week. Brother Paul was known to many of us as a tireless supporter of life though speaking and outreach in the St. Paul area. He was a familiar face at the March for Life, the Good Friday protest in St. Paul and when we dropped off our Thanksgiving food donations each year.

It is difficult even to express the debt we all owe to Dr. Rice, Dr. Willkes and Brother Paul. And it is distressing to lose such happy warriors from our ranks as we work to build a culture of life. Yet as they are called home to their heavenly reward, we cannot help but reflect upon our own endeavor. Surely a very real part of what we do in the school and in our homes each day is prepare our young people to carry on along the paths that others have begun. Dr. Rice, Dr. Willkes and Brother Paul will have to be replaced from the ranks of our families if the fight for life is to carry on. We have our work cut out for us.

John Niemann Headmaster, Chesterton Academy

Emily de Rotstein