It is very hard to collect one’s thoughts when someone this extraordinary passes from our midst. It is particularly challenging to know what to say when so much comes to mind and so few words express adequately how much we will miss Magaly Llaguno, the founder of Human Life International’s Hispanic outreach, Vida Humana Internacional.
It was HLI’s founder, Father Paul Marx, OSB, who discovered Magaly. He always described her as a “jewel.” I would have to agree.
In a tribute to Magaly’s remarkable life and legacy, Human Life International put out a statement that said:
Magaly personally saved many women and children from abortion, often giving her own resources, and fought to keep anti-life sex education out of Miami schools. Even while fighting for her life during the last year, she continued to collaborate with the USCCB, as well as with many pro-life leaders to bring Project Rachel and Respect Life Committees to Latin America. Magaly was given the 2011 “People of Life” award from the Pro-Life Secretariat of the USCCB for her work as a leading advocate for life internationally.
Magaly was the key player in developing the most-visited Spanish language pro-life website in the world, which often averaged three million hits a month, leading to many lives saved and countless pro-lifers being moved to join the fight for life. She participated in countless interviews and gave countless presentations, to small groups and to thousands, all with her unique passion and conviction.
From my perspective, as friends for more than 30 years, I am sure that American Life League had some very special collaborative moments with Magaly. The most memorable was her communication with our office when she first set eyes on our powerful video, Baby Steps. We had sent her a copy, hoping that she would help us by translating the video into Spanish. I will never forget her phone call moments after she watched this story of the development of the child prior to birth. Her enthusiasm and excitement warmed my heart and, as a result of her exuberant expression of support for our work, we launched a project to gain translations in as many languages as possible, including Cantonese.
This little tidbit about Magaly paints a word picture of this humble, committed woman who never wanted to take credit for anything, never really wanted the limelight, but only wanted to spend as many of her waking moments as possible reaching out to mothers and saving them and their children from the horror of abortion. I have never known anyone like her.
Finally, I note that she accepted her cancer, which attacked her body viciously, as a challenge and never a source of despair. She wrote:
I am in the last stages of a very painful type of cancer called multiple myeloma, which is now refractory (does not respond to chemotherapy). Judging from my own feelings and those of people I have come in contact with, I can tell you that depression is a very common occurrence under these circumstances. But what patients like myself need is not someone to “help” us commit suicide, which by the way, leads the person doing the “assisting” to commit murder. I sincerely believe that anyone who is offered this “quick, cheap, and easy solution,” will begin to feel like a heavy burden on his or her loved ones and on society. They might even feel “compelled” or “obligated” to choose suicide. Since we need a positive attitude for our immune system to work properly and for our body in general to heal or at least improve its health; a negative, pro-death attitude in those around us will do nothing but harm us further.
What we seriously ill and/or terminal patients need is real, not phony compassion; which is what the assisted suicide and euthanasia promoters are offering us. We need a sympathetic ear and a kind word once in a while, but most of all we need the compassionate love of those around us. . . .
We can also never underestimate the power of prayer! It is the strength that we receive from God through prayer that makes it possible for us terminally ill patients to endure all and accept His will, no matter what it may be.
We have lost a hero, a role model, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and devotee of life and love.
May Magaly’s soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.