By Serra Muscatello, Journal Staff Writer
NEW ULM — With Bon Jovi’s song “Livin’ on a Prayer” playing over the RV camper’s speakers and several voices singing along with it … “Oh, we’re halfway there …” 12 young adults took a break in New Ulm from their Pro-Life Walk Across America tour.
The song is fitting because the group — which began its walk in Seattle — is actually halfway to its destination of Washington, D.C.
The walkers had just attended Mass Wednesday morning at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm and were planning to get back on the road.
The walk’s main purpose is to support the pro-life cause and to “be a witness to the sanctity and dignity of all human life,” according to walker Christy Stutsman, who is from Winthrop.
Stutsman has been with the group since the beginning of the walk on May 20.
The group will complete the 3,500-mile walk on Aug. 11. Walkers will meet up with two other groups, which are also a part of the Pro-Life Walk, from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Stutsman and her group have a day shift and a night shift of walkers. Each participant averages walking about 15 to 20 miles every day.
Their support vehicle is an RV camper with their tour’s name written on the side of it — “Pro-Life Walk Across America.”
“America is beautiful. … It’s the best way to see it,” said Stutsman. “We’re definitely like a family.”
Stutsman is a recent nursing graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
She said chose to do the walk because she wants to be a strong pro-life voice in the medical community.
Stutsman will be taking a break from the walk to take the state boards to get her nurse licensure in July. She will rejoin the group for the final leg of the walk.
After the walk Stutsman plans to work with the Dominican volunteers at a birthing center in South Texas for one year, her mother said.
The 12 walkers came from all over the United States to participate in the walk.
“It’s amazing. … There’s nothing else I’d rather do this summer,” said walker Jessica Cozart, who is from Memphis, Tenn. “I wanted to be a good example. … I have a younger sister, and I wanted to show her you should stand up for your faith.”
Cozart said one of the strangest things she has encountered was walking through the snow-capped Cascade Mountains in her T-shirt and shorts.
The group has encountered rattle snakes, bears, unchained dogs on their journey.
The walkers have also been warned about the mountain lions.
Members of the group have walked through hail and the potential of tornadoes.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we have young people involved in the pro-life cause and fighting to protect the unborn children of our nation,” said Lauretta Stutsman, who is Christy’s mother and is Winthrop resident. “She’s (Christy) one of these girls who’s always loved children and babies.”
Every walker wears a T-shirt with the words, “PRO-LIFE” on its front.
Christy Stutsman and Cozart said that overall, so far, they have experienced mostly positive feelings from people during their Pro-Life walk. They have also heard a lot of people’s stories.
They walk Sunday through Friday and take the weekends off. The group members regularly attend Mass in the communities they go through and ask for donations and support to continue their walk.
The walkers also pray outside abortion clinics, Cozart said.
“We rely on the generosity of people to help us get through the summer,” said Cozart.
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