John Patrick Stanton father of pro-life movement, passes away
John Patrick Stanton, 86, the father of 12 children, 46 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and thousands of pro-life activists across the Philadelphia region, died at noon January 31, days after triple bypass surgery at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, reports LifeSiteNews.
He founded the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia and is known by civil authorities, politicians, inmates, servicemen, unwed mothers, schoolchildren, Catholics, the Irish, and others as a humble hero with unwavering faith, a saver of lives.
Mr. Stanton died on the feast of St. John Bosco, a man with whom he shared a name and the simple rule of cheerfulness and duties done well; he was serenaded to sleep by Irish songs sung by the large family that surrounded his bed.
“How did he keep it going?” asked his son Patrick in reference to his father’s steadfast pro-life witness, which he began even before Roe v. Wade.
Patrick recalled a trip he took with his dad to Ireland where they visited the Ballintubber Abbey. The church stood roofless after a British attack, but faithful still knelt in the snow for Mass.
“That’s where he got it,” Patrick said. He inferred that the people of that abbey and his father had the same determined Irish spirit – one that wouldn’t give up a fight.
Mr. Stanton was an Irishman, a hard worker, a family man, a role model to men and youth, a protector of women and children, but most of all, a servant of God. Faith determined his life and he believed God gave him a mission to defend all life, which he did until he died.
On January 27, doctors were worried that Mr. Stanton might not survive surgery. He assured them he could still do pushups on his fingertips.
Mr. Stanton used humor and faith to encourage, but he also met people where they were, making up the difference himself with trust in God, fasting and prayer.