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Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Divine Mercy conference in Bronx, N.Y.

'In Her Footsteps'

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Veronica and Liliana (daughter and mother) have made a vow to work for pro-life causes.

By Felix Carroll (Feb 15, 2011)
When the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception host the 6th Annual Divine Mercy Conference on March 26, in Bronx, N.Y., among the crowd will be a 13-year-old New Jersey girl named Veronica Cabrera.

While many her age find inspiration in pop stars and the latest Hollywood movies geared toward teens, Veronica is inspired by one of the conference speakers, Lila Rose (pictured above), the founder of Live Action, a youth-led anti-abortion organization based in California.

Lila, a student at UCLA, has led numerous undercover stings that expose alleged corruption and illegal activity within Planned Parenthood.

"My mom first showed me a picture of Lila Rose on the cover of a pro-life magazine," Veronica says. "I admire her because of her motivation to fight for what she believed in at such a young age. It takes a lot of courage and dedication to do what she did, and her story is very inspiring. I do hope to follow in her footsteps by fighting for the unborn in whatever way God calls me to."

A Powerful Lineup
The conference, co-sponsored by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and the Marians, has become a signature event in the Marians' efforts to spread the message of The Divine Mercy. Featured speakers include not only Lila, but also Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Fr. Joseph Roesch, MIC, Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV, Msgr. James Lisante, Fr. Bernard Murphy, CFR, and Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley.

"Each year, with a prestigious lineup of spiritual leaders who are advocates for the message of The Divine Mercy, we provide a real strong spiritual experience," said Ed Miller, a friend of the Marians and the conference organizer. "These speakers show in their work how to bring Divine Mercy to the public life."

Last year, more than 1,200 people from throughout the region attended the conference. That included both young, old and in between.

Eyes Open to Horrors of Abortion
Veronica, a student at St. John the Apostle in Clark, N.J., will certainly fall at the young end of the age spectrum at this year's conference. She was first inspired by the pro-life movement at the age of 10.

"The first time I heard about the horrors of abortion was when I visited the tomb of the unborn child at Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio," she said. "I asked my mom why the tomb was there, and she explained to me what abortion was. I cried there that day. It was so sad. I wondered how anyone could do that to a baby."

Veronica's mother, Liliana Soto-Cabrera, recalls how that experience led to a family discussion about life, abortion, contraception, chastity, and even Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

"She later asked, 'Mom, what are you doing about it (abortion)?'" recalls Liliana, who works for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. "'... Something needs to be done!'

"She said it with such conviction and passion that I almost felt like running out the door then and there to do something about it," Liliana says.

Veronica then said, "Wait and see, I'm going to do something big!"

A Youth Infusion
Since that experience three years ago, Liliana has made it a point to attend the annual March For Life with her husband and Veronica, and she keeps abreast with the latest news in the pro-life movement and shares information through Facebook and other avenues.

"I was very impressed when [Veronica] challenged me to do more for the pro-life cause," Liliana says. "She, herself, mentioned that she wanted to do something 'big.' I am not sure what exactly that will be, but we will keep listening to God's call."

Veronica has been channeling her passion for the pro-life cause for about three years now, including explaining to her friends what abortion is. "Many are not aware," she says.

Fresh from the recent March for Life in Washington, D.C., Veronica says she's encouraged seeing so many young people being so passionate about ending abortion.

"I believe it would cause more of an effect to put an end to abortion having more young people fighting for the cause than anything," she says. "After all, younger people do have more energy and determination to fight harder for what they believe in."

A Role Model
In Lila Rose, Veronica has discovered a role model.

Lila has certainly done big things for the Lord. Most famously, she has led undercover stings through Live Action that cast a hard light upon Planned Parenthood, the nation's number one abortion provider.

"I have not yet attended any of her speaking engagements," Veronica says, "but I have seen videos of her being interviewed on YouTube, and I have visited her website, liveaction.org. The Divine Mercy conference will hopefully be the first of many. ... Meeting her would be such an honor."

We'll see you in the Bronx, Veronica.

If you're interested in attending the 6th Annual Divine Mercy Conference on March 26, you can register now.

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