creative writing contest

2017 Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

On May 3, 2017, 121 finalists in the Annual Respect Life Creative Writing Contest gathered at the Cardinal Rigali Center to be recognized for their outstanding entries. 

Protect LifeThese finalists, representing over 70 different Catholic elementary schools, parish schools of religion, and home schools, were selected from over 1000 entries. Finalists received a certificate of commendation, T-shirt, and book and were recognized by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Open to 8th graders in the Archdiocese, the contest asked students to respond to the prompt: Explain why living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness.

From these finalists, four students were recognized as honorable mention winners and six students were selected as scholarship winners. Honorable mention winners received a $500 award; the scholarship winners received a $2000 scholarship to be applied to their Catholic high school of choice. All honorable mention and scholarship winners also each received three tickets to the Annual Respect Life Convention in October, hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate.  

Honorable mention winners this year are:

  • Indira Kar from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Grade School and Parish (Cor Jesu Academy)
  • Sarah Keys from St. John Paul II Preparatory School and Mary, Queen of Peace Parish (St. John Paul II Preparatory School)
  • Dallen Nelsen, a homeschooler from St. Gianna Parish (Homeschool)
  • John Niebrugge, a homeschooler from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Parish (Homeschool)

Scholarship winners this year are:

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Nicole Bergen from Holy Spirit Grade School and Parish (St. Joseph Academy)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Natalie McDonough from Holy Spirit Academy Homeschool and St. Joseph-Cottleville Parish (St. John Paul II Prepatory School)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships:
    • Gabriel Serri from Immaculate Conception-Dardenne Grade School and Parish (St. Dominic High School)
    • Sarah Hughes from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (St. Joseph Academy)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Noah Apprill-Sokol from St. Gabriel the Archangel Grade School and Parish (St. Louis University High School)
  • St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship: James Brunts from the Academy of the Sacred Heart and St. Charles Borromeo Parish (St. Louis University High School)

To read the winning essays, click on each student's name.

Congratulations to all of our finalists, honorable mention winners,
and scholarship winners!!

Winners


Nicole Bergen from Holy Spirit Grade School and Parish (St. Joseph Academy) - Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship Winner

Seeing Through the Eyes of God

God created us all in His divine image, and in turn calls us to treat others with respect and dignity. Sadly, in our world today, we let our differences divide us. Perhaps the most overlooked form of disrespect to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is abortion. So many innocent people have been robbed of the chance to live their lives because we indulge in the luxury of choice. But if choice is so important, than why don’t we extend this same freedom to the unborn? A baby is formed at conception, a person who deserves to live just as much as anyone else. Age is just another way to divide us, but it does not affect our worth or who we are. God loves everyone unconditionally, so we need to stop making exceptions. All people have a right to live.

Chastity is one way to fight the injustice of abortion because it shows respect for others. Our misleading society puts value on things that will give us pleasure but not true happiness. True happiness can only come from a lasting relationship with God. Chastity also shows devotion to your future spouse by waiting until marriage to have sex. Marriage is a sacrament in which a couple is joined together in unbreakable unity, so sex is a way to express selfless love to a spouse. Our sexuality is a gift from God that we should use to glorify Him.

Our culture underestimates our ability to live according to God’s will, acting as if chastity is an impossibility, but this isn’t true. Every person has the strength to stand up to the temptation of sin through Jesus Christ. We are all equal and united as one Body of Christ, and every person should be treated as a valued child of our Father. When we place our trust in God and allow ourselves to be open to His plan of chastity, we will see the beauty in all of creation. In order to respect life, we need to see through the eyes of God.


Natalie McDonough from Holy Spirit Academy Homeschool and St. Joseph-Cottleville Parish (St. John Paul II Preparatory School) - Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship Winner

Chastity

During the thirteen years of my life, I have spent roughly 400 hours protesting abortion and praying for pregnant women and their babies in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., in Jefferson City, our state capital, or in St. Louis at Planned Parenthood. Though I don’t mind praying for these intentions (I know my prayers will always be heard), I wish that I no longer needed to pray for an end to abortion. Imagine if abortion was not legal; I could have spent those 400 hours in other ways, such as learning to canoe, reading the complete works of Shakespeare, or concocting a food to end world hunger! If everyone practiced chastity, there would be no more unplanned pregnancies or “need” for abortion.

Chastity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is self-control in areas concerning the ways we think, speak, and act regarding our gift of sexuality. This valuable virtue is spiritual armor that helps protect us from sin, diseases, and depression. When we practice chastity, we not only show respect for God and others, but also respect for ourselves. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. It is our job to recognize God within these temples. Living an unchaste life can “vandalize” our temples and can often result in an unplanned pregnancy, which sometimes leads women to choose abortion. Abortion always leads to a higher risk of breast cancer, possible infertility, regret, and unhappiness. Our sexuality within marriage is a blessed thing that, if God wishes, can blossom into a child. God gives us children as a gift, not a “problem.”

Although I will never regain the hours I have spent protesting abortion and praying for women and their babies, I do hope that I won’t have to add to them. It is my prayer that everyone, young, old, male, and female, will practice the virtue of chastity in their everyday lives so abortion will no longer be a choice. Chastity helps everyone to live a healthy, holy, and happy life.


Gabriel Serri from Immaculate Conception-Dardenne Grade School and Parish (St. Dominic High School) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

Chastity provides a means to bring about the creation of a child born in the image and likeness of God. It is an expression of mutual love and giving of one’s self between a man and a woman in the sacrament of marriage. Abortion, however, is the complete opposite. It takes away the life of the baby inside a mother’s womb. Chastity and abortion are not compatible. Whereas chastity is a selfless act, abortion is simply a selfish act. Every January the March for Life is held where people can go to Washington, D.C. and protest against the right to kill an unborn baby in a mother’s womb. After many years, these protests are beginning to make a difference.

However, even banning abortion in all states will not do the job to end abortions. It is up to the women AND men of our generation to use their bodies for the right reasons and remain chaste. By practicing the virtue of chastity, we can end the horrid idea of any type of abortion. From dressing modestly to waiting until marriage to have sex, loving others in chaste ways can protect our babies from death and save their lives.

Chastity isn’t something that is just suggested by God for us to live out. He wants us to live in the footsteps of His Son, Jesus, so we can make it to heaven and have eternal life with Him in His divine kingdom. We are required as a people to live out the virtues, commandments, and works of mercy given to us. But if we want to end the painful effects of abortion all together, it is our duty to educate our generation about the joy and beauty that comes from living a chaste life. By changing the hearts and minds of those who are lost, we will be able to have a future celebrating the culture of life, rather than the culture of death.


Sarah Hughes from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (St. Joseph Academy) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

A Poem for the Hurting Heart of a Mother

I close my eyes and ponder what could have been
Perplexity in my partner’s eyes
Ready to start a virtuous family
Just as the will of God implies.

I cuddle my beautiful baby girl
As her blue eyes gaze into mine
I thank the Lord for this precious gift
A mystery and a blessing combined.

I envision the road ahead
Full of obstacles and success
Witnessing my baby grow up
Will be divine and nothing less.

With my new mission came a new name
Like Peter once took
I vow my love in the sacrament of marriage
As I write my unwritten book.

I open my eyes and examine the room
No family to be found
Ten years ago, I aborted my child
And stomped my heart to the ground.

At seventeen, we all made mistakes
An erratum in the book of life
I could have chosen to be chaste
And as consequence I’m not even a wife.

I take a look at my life today
Depressed, abandoned, and a fool
In high school I was sinful and immodest
Just to be considered “cool.”

Abortion, an atrocity, a cruel offense
Has no place on our beloved earth
For God has a plan for each of us
Commenced far before birth.

Killing an innocent child
Isn’t just wrong and unjust
It’s a crime against humanity
And to Satan it’s a must.

It is necessary to combat this uncivil act
For abortion is hitting its peak
To earn justice and the right to life
For the heartbeat heard at just six weeks.

Life is brimming with open doors
In which some we evade
It’s our decision to open the closed
And to take on what God’s displayed.

Virtue and sin are two distinct paths
In which Satan’s is more tempting to embrace
Popularity is misconceived happiness
Nothing compared to God’s grace.

Love yourself, love God, and His plan for you
You will be rewarded for doing right
Hold your head high and away from Satan
And you will conquer this fight.


Noah Apprill-Sokol from St. Gabriel the Archangel Grade School and Parish (St. Louis University High School) - Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship Winner

We are made in God’s image; our bodies are sacred gifts. Human bodies are beautiful, amazing, and holy creations. This includes human sexuality and the union of man and woman in a loving relationship. We must honor God’s creation by honoring and caring for our bodies. This is a privilege that God has granted us through our free will. By choosing to adopt a chaste life, we grow in holiness by taking responsibility for our bodies and God’s creation.

Chastity does not necessarily mean we must shun all sexual desires. These desires are meant to be expressed in the life-long promise of marriage and the openness of having a family. A chaste life helps us to realize that sexual fulfillment is only a part of a committed married relationship that draws us closer to God. Leading a chaste life effectively prevents pregnancy before marriage, and therefore removes the possibility of abortion. More importantly, it means viewing sex as a sacred physical sign of a commitment between spouses and a gift from God. As a gift from God, the fruits of this gift are cause for joy – never an unwanted, unloved, or uncherished burden. Finally, honoring our God-made bodies helps us stay physically healthy by avoiding diseases that are transferred in promiscuous sexual relationships. Having sex with multiple partners is an easy way for sexually transmitted diseases to spread; over 30 million U.S. men and women currently suffer from one. Living a chaste life significantly reduces the likelihood of contracting these diseases.

Our society focuses too much on the sensual pleasure of sex, which is, at best, a fleeting happiness. It neglects the lasting fulfillment of God’s love and the honoring of God’s creation. Chastity is really a way of saying that sexuality is just one part of who we are as God’s creation. The lasting joy we seek is through a union with God; we are only fulfilled through His love.


James Brunts from Academy of the Sacred Heart and St. Charles Borromeo Parish (St. Louis University High School) - St. Joseph Evangelization Network Scholarship

Our world is constantly adapting. Every day new discoveries are made, new theories proved, and new trends formed. As a global community, we’re losing sight on what it means to live the way God intended. If we truly want to find happiness in our lives and live as God calls us, we must live a life of chastity. Chastity is not only the virtue of abstaining from sex before marriage, but also the virtue of loving others as we love ourselves and as we love God.

 Living with chastity allows us to connect on a more personal level with God and helps us in our journey to fulfill his plan for us. Additionally, if we live chastity, we ourselves will experience a more fruitful and beneficial marriage, should we be called to matrimony by God. As stated before, I believe our society’s grip on what is holy is fading, and it appears no one wants to live a chaste life anymore. Very quickly, our society is becoming more obsessed with sex, specifically, sex outside of marriage. Instead of two people bonding and eventually deciding to spend their lives with each other forever, many are “hooking up” for a few days, maybe even one night, and having sex outside of marriage. Unfortunately, many couples who seek sexual pleasure outside of marriage end up aborting their children, which we know to be a complete violation of God’s plan.

To me, living chastely is like giving a gift. It’s a gift we give our children, our spouse, and all of the people around us. When you are given a gift, you feel loved because you know someone was thinking about what you specifically would want to receive being the unique person you are. By giving the gift of chastity, we know how those surrounding us want to be loved and respected as individuals. I know that I will be living chastely throughout my life so that I remain holy and so my children, born or unborn, will have my gift of respect and the gift of life that God has granted us all.

2016 Annual Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

2016 Finalists

On April 20, 2016, 125 finalists in the Annual Respect Life Creative Writing Contest gathered at the Cardinal Rigali Center to be recognized for their outstanding entries. 

These finalists, representing over 80 different Catholic elementary schools, parish schools of religion, and home schools, were selected from over 1100 entries. Finalists received a certificate of commendation, T-shirt, and book and were recognized by Bishop Edward Rice. Open to 8th graders in the Archdiocese, the contest asked students to respond to the prompt: Explain why living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness.

From these finalists, six students were recognized as honorable mention winners and five students were selected as scholarship winners. Honorable mention winners received a $250 award; the scholarship winners received a $1000 scholarship to be applied to their Catholic high school of choice. All honorable mention and scholarship winners also each received three tickets to the Annual Respect Life Convention in October, hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate.  

Honorable mention winners this year are:

  • Brianna Dierks from St. Patrick-Wentzville Grade School and Parish (Liberty High School)
  • Taylor Elmore, a homeschooler from St. Bridget of Kildare Parish & PSR (St. Francis Borgia High School)
  • Sara E. Franke from Queen of All Saints Grade School and Parish (Nerinx Hall)
  • Patrick Meehan, a homeschooler from St. Dominic Savio Parish (Bishop Du Bourg High School)
  • Peter Francis Montgomery from St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Homeschool and St. Clement of Rome Parish (St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Homeschool)
  • Harrison Petty from St. Clement of Rome Grade School and Parish (Saint Louis University High School)

Scholarship winners this year are:

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Maria Klassen from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (St. Dominic High School)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Daniel Vaporean, a homeschooler from St. Joseph-Manchester Parish (Homeschool)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships:
    • Madeline Derleth from St. Joseph-Cottleville Grade School and Parish (Barat Academy)
    • Elle Reardon from St. Clement of Rome Grade School and Parish (Villa Duchesne)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Eric Meyer from St. Charles Borromeo Grade School and Parish (Chaminade College Prep)

To read the winning essays, click on each student's name.

Congratulations to all of our finalists, honorable mention winners,
and scholarship winners!!

 

Winners

Above our scholarship and honorable mention winners pose for a photograph with Bishop Edward M. Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Michael Auchley, Missouri Knights of Columbus Respect Life Director, and Brian Cochran, nephew of the late Bishop Edward O'Donnell after whom one of the scholarships is named. Winners pictured from left to right are Madeline Derleth, Maria Klassen, Daniel Vaporean, Taylor Elmore, Harrison Petty, Peter Francis Montgomery, Elle Reardon, Sara Franke, Brianna Dierks, Patrick Meehan, and Eric Meyer.

 


Maria Klassen from St. Joseph Grade School in Cottleville (St. Dominic H.S.) - Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship Winner

The atrocity of harming a child
Is brought to its very height
In this supreme outrage of natural law
And trespass of human rights.

To kill a small child who’s not even born
But was always a part of God’s plan
Shows a coldness of heart and a lack of respect
For every woman and man.

I think that it’s time that we recognize
Each individual’s worth
And treat other people the way they deserve
Even before their birth.

Abortion and chastity are so much alike
In more ways than we realize
For to hurt a small child or a woman or man
Is surely akin in God’s eyes.

Each child of God has a dignity
That we must learn to protect
To lead one away from the kingdom of Heaven
Is not something we should accept.

We must learn to put others before our own lives
And safeguard innocence at all costs
If we don’t save this treasure before it’s too late
It’s not long before all will be lost.

You deserve true love, and so does your child
And so does everyone
And to be satisfied with less than enough
Is to give in, and say that you’re done.

We should search for true love, and wait for the one
Who is truly and perfectly right.
One who will help us to follow God’s laws
And keep the right path in our sight.

Fight for love, and fight for life,
And fight for all that is true
For you may be sure, although you can’t see it
God is fighting for you.


Daniel Vaporean, a homeschooler from St. Joseph in Manchester Parish (Home School) - Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship Winner

Good versus Evil

Each day of our lives we bravely fight on a battlefield where evil clashes with good. Piously, St. Paul who preached to the Ephesians, advised to wear the spiritual “armor of God” for protection in battle. Utilizing the spiritual armor, which consists of the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation will help us to live chaste lives. By living chastely, while preventing the evil of abortion, we will be blessed with true holiness and our lives filled with health and happiness.

The shield of faith protects chastity by helping us to live as God planned, which is through obedience to the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Since God’s plan for marriage is the uniting, both physically and mentally, of one man and one woman, it is important that they commit to each other freely, fruitfully, faithfully, and forever. Living according to this plan, sexuality would only be shared by married couples who truly love each other. This would prevent the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy, which may lead to an abortion. The breastplate of righteousness assists in prudence and practicing self-control. Willfully avoiding movies, music, and pornography, which encourage unchaste behaviors, keeps our souls holy as we exercise good judgment. Dressing modestly avoids attention being drawn to our sexual bodies and allows friendships to develop which are not based on lust. In keeping our bodies chaste with the helmet of salvation, we will have healthy bodies and avoid the risk of getting sexual diseases which may cause suffering and death. Valiantly remembering to wear our spiritual armor, we will be protected by God and His teachings to live a life of chastity.

God desires the best for us. When we love as He wants us to love, we experience true joy and happiness. We will be content because we know we are following God’s unsurpassable plan. Abortion will be no more. Living our lives in this way will help us increase in virtue and holiness. By faithfully wearing our spiritual armor and living chastely, evil will be defeated and good will win!


Madeline Derleth from St. Joseph in Cottleville Grade School (Barat Academy) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

A Smile on God’s Face

There are many virtues that make us unique,
But chastity really requires us to think.
Created in God’s image we shall always cherish,
But forgetting chastity will cause us to perish.
Pure and holy our bodies must remain,
For if we forget, then a life of pain.
Our bodies were created in God’s image of great beauty.
Protecting it and keeping it safe is our duty.
True love waits for that special one,
Whether that be a spouse, staying single, or life as a nun.

Our society seems as if it has forgotten this virtue,
Saying it is alright to do things that hurt you.
Having sex on a first date,
It’s ok, you don’t have to wait.
Doesn’t anyone see the lies they say?
Innocent lives and the prices they’ll pay?
So many abortions because of this sin,
Giving up chastity so Satan will win.
Statistics don’t lie, they speak the truth,
So many abortions from those unchaste youth.
Eighty-three percent of abortions that take place,
Are on women who have not married in God’s holy space.
Forgetting chastity doesn’t only hurt you,
Innocent babies are suffering too.
Abortion is forever, you can’t go back,
So remember your worth to keep you on track.

Your health is important and must be treated with care,
But abortion will scar you and recovery is rare.
Your body and mind will never be the same,
Stay chaste and remember your health isn’t a game.
True happiness doesn’t come from what you get this minute,
Staying true to yourself and your values will win it.
Remember to think before you act,
Because once you do, you can never go back.
All life is precious and valuable too,
So stay chaste to be a happier you.

Remember that God loves you so much,
Remaining chaste will help keep you in touch.
Holiness is your goal to achieve,
Keeping your body pure is what you must believe.
Not only will you be filled with grace,
But you will put a smile on God’s face.


Elle Reardon from St. Clement of Rome Grade School (Villa Duchesne) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

As a teen, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by mixed messages related to moral issues. The idea that chastity protects us from abortion might initially sound unlikely. Choosing to have sex doesn’t necessarily mean someone supports abortion. Although in reality, the compromises made in deciding to live an unchaste life can lead to further compromises in believing abortion is acceptable. Chastity is crucial for prohibiting abortion because it prevents the circumstances where someone would seek an abortion. Chastity protects us from worrying about unplanned pregnancies and feeling pressured to resort to an abortion.

Chastity blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness because it honors a commitment to yourself, your future spouse, and the Holy Spirit. It may seem like chastity is depriving us from happiness because of social media’s influence giving us an inside view of what others are doing minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. Jenny went to Paris! Joe got a hoverboard! The latest posts make it appear as though happiness is found in having new and exciting experiences. Your life can look boring in comparison, making you doubt your own choices, leaving you with fear of missing out. It may distort your perception of what is morally acceptable because “everyone else is doing it.” What isn’t’ seen in those online posts is how one teenager cried herself to sleep feeling ashamed for having sex or how another teen felt scared to learn he had a sexually transmitted disease. There was also the girl whose parents were mourning because she felt forced to have an abortion for fear of embarrassment. Chastity truly protects us from negative consequences.

Our relationships are strengthened by valuing the gift of chastity. True happiness is found in the joy of honoring God and in being mindful of moments in life that give genuine meaning to your beliefs. I believe abortion is morally wrong and that chastity is the first step in saving millions of unborn lives. I challenge you to step up and commit to honor the virtue of chastity as your personal vow to protect the unborn.


Eric Meyer from St. Charles Borromeo Grade School (Chaminade College Prep) - Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship Winner

The Past, Present, and Future of Chastity

When I was younger, life seemed simple. My parents made all of my decisions. There were few differences between the boys and girls in my class. I never thought about chastity because I didn’t know what it was and it was not an important issue. I learned the difference between right and wrong, but the situations I faced never seemed life-changing. I realize now how easy things were back then and sometimes wish they were still that way.

Now times are different. My parents are beginning to trust me to make my own decisions. Some decisions are small, like what to eat for dinner. Other choices aren’t so simple. For example, whether to join in when other boys are behaving poorly so I can look like I am part of the “popular crowd.” As a teenager, I am starting to understand what the virtue of chastity means. Chastity refers to having pure thoughts and actions. The relationships I have with my female classmates are different now because we are changing physically and emotionally. I must remember to treat them respectfully and not make crude comments while texting or in person. Chastity is also not having sexual relations before marriage. When I am older and have a girlfriend, chastity will be more of an issue. But I know if I stay strong in my faith and live a chaste life, I will not have to worry about STDs, pregnancies, or abortions. This seems like an easy decision, doesn’t it?

In the future, I hope to get married. It would make me happy to tell my wife that I remained chaste and I would love for her to say the same thing to me. It would be nice to begin our life together knowing that our past decisions will lead to holiness, health, and happiness in our marriage. I think that being a role model for my children is also important. If throughout our lives we stay close to God and practice the virtue of chastity, there will be no need for abortions and we will have a life full of blessings.

 

 

 

 

2015 Annual Creative Writing Contest Winners Announced

Finalists

On April 22, 103 finalists in the Annual Respect Life Creative Writing Contest gathered at the Cardinal Rigali Center to be recognized for their outstanding entries. 

These finalists, representing over 70 different Catholic elementary schools, parish schools of religion, and home schools, were selected from over 1100 entries. Finalists received a certificate of commendation, T-shirt, and book and were recognized by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson. Open to 8th graders in the Archdiocese, the contest asked students to respond to the prompt: Explain why living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health, and happiness.

From these finalists, five students were recognized as honorable mention winners and five students were selected as scholarship winners. Honorable mention winners received a $250 award; the scholarship winners received a $1000 scholarship to be applied to their Catholic high school of choice. All honorable mention and scholarship winners also each received three tickets to the Annual Respect Life Convention in October, hosted by the Respect Life Apostolate.  

Honorable mention winners this year are:

  • Kathryn Echele from Sacred Heart Grade School in Valley Park (Cor Jesu Academy)
  • Grace Koeller from Holy Cross Academy and parishoner at Seven Holy Founders (St. Dominic High School)
  • McKinleigh Nelson, a homeschooler from St. Gianna Parish (St. John Paul II Prep)
  • Cooper Ruhl from Most Sacred Heart Grade School in Eureka (Eureka High School)
  • Gianna Zuniga from St. John Paul II Prep (St. John Paul II Prep)

Scholarship winners this year are:

  • Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship: Moira Healy from St. Francis Assisi Grade School (Notre Dame High School)
  • Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship: Caroline Cross from St. Gerard Majella PSR (Cor Jesu Academy)
  • Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarships: Andrew Chapman from St. Joseph Grade School in Imperial (St. John Vianney High School) and Grace Hughes from Holy Infant Grade School (Cor Jesu Academy)
  • Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship: Anthony Anger from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Grade School (Trinity Catholic High School)

To read the winning essays, click on each student's name.

Congratulations to all of our finalists, honorable mention winners,
and scholarship winners!!

 Winners


Moira Healy from St. Francis Grade School (Notre Dame H.S.) - Bishop Edward J. O'Donnell Scholarship Winner

Thomas Aquinas, said that “Chastity helps us live out our sexuality in an ordered way”.  To me, having an ordered sexuality is the same as chastity.  It means that my will and God’s will, about my sexuality, are driving in the same lane, in the same direction, even if I am cruising a little behind God’s pace.  My parents are my first road map about what chastity is like. Yet, the choices I make while I follow God as I grow into an adult will have an effect on everyone that God sends into my life.  In my “chastity vehicle” with me are my family, future spouse, and community.

Chastity is not just about being abstinent; it is about letting God shape my feelings of love and friendship for others.  I have to stay in the same lane with God to let this happen.  Chastity is also an action that I take, for me, on behalf of myself and others.  If I veer in another direction, away from God’s chastity lane, others can get injured.  Chastity helps to create justice because it can protect others from reckless drivers!

Having unchaste sexual relations can lead to the ultimate injustice, the loss of life.  Chastity is God’s gift to us and we have more holiness when we receive it.  Pregnancy and children are God’s holy gift to us, but we must wait for the right time to get our driver’s license and car keys.

As I have educated myself on chastity, and had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to express the justice of chastity that we Catholics believe in, I have come to the conclusion that chastity is my “pro”, my “choice”.  It feels good to be at peace, to be clean, honest, and just, to be with other people who also have these feelings. It makes ME feel “ordered” and in the driver’s seat.  I will embrace my chastity.  It’s a good feeling, and the feelings of protection it gives me for my unborn children and all unborn children.

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologiae, II-II.n.d.350


Caroline Cross from St. Gerard Majella PSR (Cor Jesu Academy) - Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship Winner

Her Blue Eyes

In the beginning,
Her eyes were a bright, vibrant blue
She went to church every Sunday
Because she wanted to be closer to God
It made her happy
Knowing that she had pleased Him
Her parents supported her
Her siblings adored her
Her friends trusted her
And God was proud 

When she grew a bit older,
Her eyes were a curious blue
She went on a date
With a boy from school
Because she thought that he was handsome
But she was confused
By her feelings towards him
Her parents were hesitant
Her siblings were curious
Her friends were envious
And God hoped she would make wise decisions

 One morning,
She opened her lost blue eyes
She had spent the night
With her boyfriend
Because she wanted to please him
But she regretted it
She knew it was wrong
Her parents were disappointed
Her siblings were disdainful
Her friends were mortified
Her boyfriend was unsatisfied
And God had been pushed away

A short time later,
Her eyes were a faded blue
She had destroyed an unborn life
Because she was embarrassed
And she was despairing
Her parents had lost all hope
Her siblings were contemptuous
Her friends scorned her
Her boyfriend was nowhere to be found
And God was quiet, waiting for her to come to Him

After many dark days,
Her vacant blue eyes gazed upon the floor
As she sought sacramental forgiveness
Because she felt empty
And worthless
Her parents were prayerful
Her siblings were prayerful
Her friends were prayerful
And God granted His forgiveness

A lifetime later,
Her blue eyes were full of love
But also longing
She watched her husband
And ached for the baby she would never meet.
Her parents were doting
Her siblings were gathering
Her friends were flocking
Her husband was holding their newborn baby
And God was happy with His perfect new creation


Andrew Chapman from St. Joseph Grade School in Imperial (St. John Vianney H.S.) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

What is chastity?  Chastity means to stay pure, or chaste, by staying away from sexual interaction before you are married.  Despite sex being shown on TV as a common and okay thing to do, sex before marriage can result in unexpected pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  By living this virtue of chastity you can stop abortions and stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  Chastity helps us to find true holiness, happiness, and health.

Chastity helps us find true holiness by helping us respect our body and others.  We find this true holiness when we trust in God to guide us to heaven.  The virtue of chastity helps us to have true holiness by giving us the courage needed to stay away from sexual intercourse before marriage.

Chastity helps us find true happiness by helping us to truly value sexual interaction between a man and a woman.  It also helps us to truly realize the amazing gift of human life.  The virtue of chastity reminds us that sex is not some activity to do at any time with anyone.  Chastity helps to keep us centered and focused on the path to creating friendships and relationships.

Chastity gives us true health by keeping us away from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  These diseases affect not only you but any future children you have.  Chastity encourages young people to stay away from sex until marriage, this can help to stop sexually transmitted diseases from spreading.  Chastity helps young people to wait till they are married to have sex, by teaching them that sex isn’t just a normal thing to do whenever - it is a special connection meant for a married man and woman.

Overall, chastity helps young people to value Christian families.  Chastity can help to stop abortion and programs such as Planned Parenthood by eliminating sex before marriage.  Plus, chastity can help young people to grow in their friendships and grow relationships.  Finally, chastity helps guide us to a truly holy, truly happy, and truly healthy life.


Grace Hughes from Holy Infant Grade School (Cor Jesu Academy) - Mr. & Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship Winner

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the wonderful gift of chastity.  It is truly a blessing and helps to protect us, keep us holy, make it easier to stay away from abortion, and so much more.  I cannot imagine the horrible world where everyone thinks it is okay to live a life that is not pure and chaste, where we can misuse our bodies and then use abortion as the way out.  Living a chaste life also helps us to focus on you, reach our potential, not get ourselves in a situation where we feel pressured to have an abortion, and have self-respect and dignity.  Being able to be pure allows us to be happy without letting other people take advantage of our physical bodies, but seeing who we are on the inside.  Our physical health and the health of our minds would be compromised without this gift of chastity you have so thoughtfully given us.  Thank you also for the gift of new life that brings great joy to many people.

Please help everyone to make the right decisions in living a chaste life.  Send the Holy Spirit to those who are considering abortion, so that they will choose life and know that a wonderful life has already started, and encourage all who are involved in the legislature, so that they will stand up for what is morally right and pass laws that give unborn babies the right to life.  Also, send the Holy Spirit to encourage those who realize how important the virtue of chastity is, so they may spread the message to others.  Watch over us to help us make sure that everyone not only has respect for new life, but also a respect for their body, a gift that you have given us, so that we may always use it in right and chaste ways.

Amen.


Anthony Anger from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne School (Trinity Catholic H.S.) - Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship Winner

Living the virtue of chastity protects us from abortion and blesses us with true holiness, health and happiness.  A true reflection of this statement is the growth cycle of the white lily, symbolically, the flower of purity.  The bulb of the lily is carefully planted in soil.  Then, along with nutrients in the soil, the Sun, and water, help the roots to grow and the lily to come forth from the earth.  Our bodies are also as delicate as the lily.  Chastity, instilled deeply within our souls, allows us to grow in the light of the Son of God and to be fed with His Body and Blood.

Both plant and person, however, are not guaranteed escaping trials.  The lily must grow and be exposed to pests and molds, which can alter the growth of the plant.  Chastity, once compromised could lead the body to physical and emotional trials, and to consider or even carry out the act of an abortion.  The lily cannot fully grow with the loss of its leaves and stems, leaving scars, and the body can also be affected by the act of an abortion.  Scar tissue can compromise both the lily and the body.  Once chastity has been broken before the Sacrament of Matrimony, the body is at risk.

The lily, however, in the hands of the master gardener, can be brought back to health.  God himself as the Master of all living creatures, can heal the broken chastity of our bodies and bring both the body and soul back to growth in the Spirit.  Both the gardener and God’s gentle touch can heal and bring the bruised and broken back to growth.

Saint John Paul II stated, “Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring.  But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness.”

 

 

 

2014 Knights of Columbus Missouri State Council Scholarship

By Hector Rivera - Christ Light of the Nations School, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish

Saint John Vianney wrote one of my favorite quotes which helps me understand the virtue of chastity and it says, “A pure soul is like a fine pearl. As long as it is hidden in the shell at the bottom of the sea, no one thinks of admiring it. But if you bring it into the sunshine, this pearl will shine and attract all eyes. Thus the pure soul, which is hidden from the eyes of the world, will one day shine before the angels in the sunshine of eternity.”

God has given every single one of us a treasure. The treasure is our pure soul. Along with this treasure, he has given us the virtue of chastity. He has also gifted us with free will. Most people think that chastity robs us of free will, but it only protects us from harm and sadness. Through chastity we train ourselves to love everyone in a way which is appropriate. By living out the virtue of chastity we are training ourselves to respect our lives as well as those that we are in relationship with. By practicing chastity, we are learning to respect our life and the lives of others so that when a new life comes along we know to respect the value of it. By living a chaste life we find the true meaning of love, and we learn to respect the dignity of life. Chastity has taught me to love others for who they really are and not for what they can give me.

Chastity brings us closer to God and to understand that we should not misuse our gifts, such as the gift of sex. Oftentimes the misuse of sex drives people to choose abortion. It is sad to hear that people think that a child is the worst thing that could ever happen to them. A child is one of the best gifts that God gives. Misusing the gift of sex not only causes unexpected pregnancies, but also heartbreaks and sexually transmitted diseases. We must treasure God’s gifts.

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2014 Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship

By Keith Beckmann - St. Cletus

 

Chastity is a gift from God,

Some people may think that is odd.

Because chastity they might not understand

Is to respect one another’s body as He commands.

I want my body to be respected,

And also not to be affected

By the diseases and STDs

That could eventually destroy me.

I want to have children one day,

But having them now would not be okay.

The only way to make that not happen for sure

Is to not have sex until I’m married and still pure.

Some may think why bother to wait,

When they’re having fun on their date.

This will make them happy they believe,

Until they realize a child is conceived.

This decision to not be chaste,

May lead to making bad decisions in haste.

Too many think abortion will fix it all

Without realizing the baby won’t ever get to crawl.

They don’t think of this child as alive,

That this child deserves a chance to survive.

What if their mother chose not to have them?

I bet they never consider that in their selfish whim.

What they don’t realize and often miss,

Abortion doesn’t fix any of this.

More problems this will create.

That statement is not even a debate.

Abortion should not be an option,

You could still have a child and put them up for adoption.

Abortion is not the way to go,

Many are looking to adopt high and low.

This year on the Pro-Life trip,

I saw how easily some people can flip.

They realized abortion should not be a right,

And joined the march for the Pro-Life fight.

But just think, no decisions would have to be made,

If we are chaste and respect each other as God’s plan has been laid.

Being chaste can make me healthy, happy, and holy, I know,

No diseases, no abortions, just closeness to God to whom I will go. 

 

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