.- In an attempt to weaken what John Paul II coined as the âCulture of Deathâ, Floridaâs Ave Maria University has announced the establishment of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Scholarship fund for aspiring priests and seminarians. The Scholarship is the brainchild of Joseph Grady, President of My Jesus Mercy Ministries, and father of a current Ave Maria University student.
According to the University, âGrady and Ave Maria University leaders aim to carry on Terriâs name and assist future priests and laypersons in creating and developing a Catholic culture of life.â
University Provost, Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J. said that although âTerriâs death was a tragedy not only to her family, but for the entire countryâ¦it can also be a new beginning in renewing the conscience of Americans; and this type of pro-life scholarship will certainly contribute to that.â
Brain damaged Terri Schiavo succumbed to a court-ordered starvation in March, which was set in motion by her husband, Michael Schiavo. Her family, in a battle which reached all the way to the Supreme Court and Senate, and caught the attention of the nation, continually argued that their daughter would have never wanted to die in her condition--contrary to Michaelâs claims.
A grateful Bob Schindler, Terriâs father, said that, âFrom the bottom of our hearts, weâre just so pleased and honoredâ¦Itâs great to have an institution willing to take on something like this. We feel that Terri was chosen by God to combat evil, and what a fine way to pay tribute to her life.â
The universityâs goal for the scholarship is to have between three and four million dollars available for students over the next few years. Set up so that any group or individual can contribute, school administrators hope to be able to support at least one pre-theology student through studies this fall.
Added Grady: âTerri would often say, âWhere there is life, there is hopeâ. Through Ave Maria Universityâs pre-theologate program, her prophetic words are being fulfilled.â
âIf we can bring future priests and bishops out of Ave Maria University with this same ideal,â he said, âthen her life-given gift will continue.â