By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

Twins Maura and Briana Druding definitely have pro-life genes in them. Seniors at Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia, they are lifers with Ryan for Life. Members since their freshman year, the girls made their fourth trek to Washington, D.C., for the annual Rally and March for Life Jan. 24.

Archbishop Ryan sent about 170 kids in four buses to Washington. They were identified by bright yellow scarves and had the largest representation of any school in the Archdiocese at the Rally, March and the morning Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali at Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Maura is president of Ryan for Life this year, as was their older sister Shannon back in 2006-07. As a result, their mother has attended the March several times in the past.

“Our Mom likes to come, but couldn’t this year,” Maura said.

The youngest of the five daughters of Donna and Chris Druding, preceded by Megan, Caitlin and Shannon, they are active members of St. Christopher Parish in Northeast Philadelphia and graduates of St. Christopher School.

At Ryan the pro-life movement is important and, as the twins noted, those who gave up their time to come to Washington on one of the most bitterly cold days in years, may have been sacrificing prep time away from studies for their mid-year examinations, which were scheduled to begin the following day.

Is attending the annual march worth the sacrifice?

“Yes,” Briana said, “it raises awareness of the issue.”

Among the activities of Ryan for Life, Maura said, is conducting an annual rose sale to fund the trip, praying the rosary at the Northeast Women’s Center, an abortion facility on Comly Road, and inviting a speaker to the school to raise awareness on life issues.

Both Maura and Briana have had leadership roles in Kairos, a spiritual retreat program at the school, which helps students form a deeper relationship with God. They attended Kairos as juniors and were leaders of this past October’s retreats. Both also are members of stage crew.

All of this makes them sound very much alike, but they are not identical twins, they are fraternal (actually sororal is more accurate), each with a distinct personality.

Maura, who also belongs to the dance club and a health career group, is looking forward to next year at possibly Chestnut Hill College, Immaculata University or Neumann University for a potential career in nursing.

Briana, on the other hand, has applied to Philadelphia University and Arcadia University, and she is hoping for a career in fashion design.

But on the life issues they are in full accord.

“I feel all life is from God and it is very sacred,” Maura said.

“Life is a gift and we shouldn’t be able to take away what God has given us,” Briana said.

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.