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Into the Breach: Defend your country, stand strong and enrich your future

tuesday, 14 march, 2023

160 International Leaders from 21 countries along with the who’s who of the Polish pro-life movement met in Krakow, Poland from 10-12 February 2023 for the 40 Days for Life Symposium entitled: Into the Breach: defend your country, stand strong and enrich your future.

There was time for fun, fellowship and formation as well as prayer, adoration and cultural visits. Leaders take the fire and passion of the event back to their home countries in order to set the pro-life movement on fire.

The event was named after Bishop Thomas Olmsted’s apostolic exhortation to Catholic men to achieve greatness by founding their lives on God and pursuing heroic virtue.


Poland lead Europe in implementing extremely successful pro-life laws, showing how prayer and action can lead to transformation.

Kaja Godek, a mother of 4, is the founder and board member of the Life and Family Foundation, leading several pro-life legislative projects, galvanizing thousands of signatures. The “End abortion” bill banned eugenic abortions and was the biggest pro-life project in Polish history, implemented via the verdict by the Constitutional Tribunal in October 2020. She has never fallen into so called traps of false compassion and compromise.

Kaja proved that a strategy including discourse, images and law with uncompromising grassroots activism led to Poland’s pro-life successes. Kaja said with abortion we are at war. At times she has used graphic imagery, and picketed politicians who blocked their efforts to ban abortions, lent constant pressure on the constitutional tribunal, while pursuing all parliamentary efforts in committee and parliament. This ruthless, radical, juggernaut style activism worked.

Jerzy Kwaśniewski, President of Ordo Iuris, is recognized as one of the most powerful people in Europe in 2021 by Politico. Jerzy has started his own university, is married with 6 children and has long term experience in civil litigation and penal proceedings.

He spoke about the crucial moments in Polish Christian history comparing them with crucial recent pro-life battles in Poland. Poland has successfully defended Europe with the battle of Vienna in 1683, the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, overthrowing communism and defying totalitarianism in World War 2. The decision on 22 October 2020 that eugenic abortion was not compliant with the Polish constitution was placed in the context of Polish history.

Father Tomasz Kancelarczyk, President of the Little Feet Foundation helps over 1,000 women every year in crisis pregnancies, has a virtual reality pro-life app, distributes hundreds of thousands of pro-life baby models, organises a March for Life in his town of Szczecin and promotes the spiritual adoption of unborn children. As a fighter and witness, he refused to be drafted for military service during the communist regime.

European representation

Spanish national coordinator Nayeli Rodriguez received the international leader of year award, helping recruit over 20 cities in Spain despite the government introducing legislation to criminalize prayer vigils outside abortion centers. Nayeli described the event as a “shot of motivation and joy. Seeing other leaders, getting to know and sharing their experiences, has been a real gift.” She recognized her award with 25 other attendees from Spain as “recognition for all of Spain because our country is gaining a lot of visibility and has a responsibility to the world in the pro-life cause.”

Nayeli is an omnicompetent young leader and one of the bright sparks of the pro-life movement in Europe, building up, one person at a time, real life stories of personal transformation through prayer and action. Sure enough, on the first day of the Spanish campaign following the event a baby was saved, and social media was buzzing.

11 European countries gave presentations on how 40 Days for Life is developing in each country. Croatia now has 40 prayer vigils across the country since starting in 2014. Adrian from Serbia has already dramatically improved the depth and duration of his vigil in Novi Sad as a result of participating in the conference which he said, “seems like a small step, but we’re extremely grateful for this grace. Krakow has inspired us to act like this.”

Leaders loved the Symposium, and have taken the powerful pro-life mission and mandate back to their home countries to love life. We look forward to increasing the impact and presence of our meeting again next year! Onwards and upwards!