Bearing Good Fruit
Catholic Illini alumnus John-Paul Deddens (2008) has made a habit out of witnessing his faith in the world, and inspiring others to do the same.
As a Catholic Illini student, John-Paul saw firsthand the need for a new approach to building young leaders in the pro-life movement on college campuses. He responded by founding Students for Life Illinois and dedicated his work to sharing a new vision for pro-life work on college campuses.
“I started Students For Life Illinois (now weDignify), because I became passionate about the pro-life issue after sidewalk counseling at the local Planned Parenthood in Champaign. When I got involved on campus I saw that campus groups could use some extra help to be more successful…Over the years, this evolved into weDignify's current approach of mentoring students to be skilled, virtuous, pro-life leaders.”
It was this work of faith that led him to the next, when his now-wife, Catholic Illini alumna Annie (Piekarczyk) Deddens (2012) interviewed him about the 40 Days for Life campaign. The two began dating, discerned marriage, got engaged in front of the Pieta statue, and were married in the Chapel.
The power of prayer in their journey as a couple led the two to found their next great work of witness: Pray More Novenas. An online prayer ministry reaching thousands of souls across the world, Pray More Novenas is making a global impact educating people about and uniting people in this beautiful form of prayer.