The University of Notre Dame de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture presented the 11th annual Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal to Dr. John T. Bruchalski, founder of Tepeyac OB/GYN, one of the largest pro-life clinics in the United States, at a Mass and dinner attended by more than 450 guests and friends on April 23, 2022.
The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal, named for Pope St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical on life issues, is the nation’s most important lifetime achievement award for heroes of the pro-life movement, honoring individuals who have proclaimed the Gospel of Life through their work by steadfastly affirming and defending its sanctity from its earliest stages.
O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, commented on the great success of Tepeyac OB/GYN, which Bruchalski founded in 1994 to provide direct care for patients regardless of their ability to pay, calling it "the gold standard for truly holistic pro-life health care." "Rather than treating women’s fertility as a disease to be managed, and their children as threats to be resisted, Tepeyac welcomes mother and child into a network of support and love that carries them into true fullness of life, where 'the divine image is restored, renewed, and brought to perfection in them'" (Evangelium Vitae 2).
Bruchalski began his career in obstetrics and gynecology in 1987, practicing the full range of reproductive medicine, including sterilizations, artificial reproduction, embryo destruction, and late-term abortions. Bruchalski experienced a profound conversion following a live birth during a late-term abortion procedure and thereafter resolved to practice exclusively pro-life medicine that supported women, children, and their families. Today, Tepeyac OB/GYN offers fertility counseling, natural family planning, and support for families that have received an adverse prenatal diagnosis for their child.
“Through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, a radical conversion was worked within the young doctor,” Professor Snead continued. “John Bruchalski came to see that true health care for women is not about rights, but relationships—not about limits, but love.”
In 2000, Bruchalski established Divine Mercy Care, a non-profit foundation to fund charity care at Tepeyac OB/GYN, to educate and support pro-life medical professionals, and to connect pro-life clinics in a network of mutual support. Over the past 28 years, Tepeyac OB/GYN has delivered more than 10,000 children, with nearly 30 percent of their mothers receiving financial aid from Divine Mercy Care.
“Tomorrow is Divine Mercy Sunday,” said Bruchalski in his remarks after receiving the medal. “And Divine Mercy has been a central aspect of my recovery and my life. It's people like you who have prayed for people like me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
In his homily during Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart prior to the medal presentation (available on the dCEC's YouTube channel), dCEC chaplain Rev. Terry Ehrman, C.S.C., underscored the gift of Divine Mercy in Dr. Bruchalski's own life, noting that he is "one who received the very mercy of God and has himself become, through his medicine and his practice of healing, an agent of mercy in the world, [having] a heartfelt compassion for the sufferings of others.” He continued, “We look to Dr. Bruchalski and his wife and their ministry at Tepeyac OB/GYN and Divine Mercy Care, and how it brings life and healing to others. May his work inspire us, that we too can be agents of mercy.”
Announced annually on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday of October, the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae award consists of a specially commissioned medal and $10,000 prize.
Previous medal recipients include Vicki Thorn, founder of the post-abortion healing ministry Project Rachel; Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities; Mary Ann Glendon, emeritus Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; Helen M. Alvaré, professor of law at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School; Mother Agnes Mary Donovan and the Sisters of Life; Congressman Chris Smith, co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, and his wife, Marie Smith, director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues; the Jerome Lejeune Foundation; Supreme Knight Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus; and the Little Sisters of the Poor.