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Sister Paula Vandegaer

Friends, advocates mourn passing of California’s pro-life ‘godmother’

“She made the world a better place by showing us, through her own life, how joyful and beautiful life can be when lived in service to God and others.”

-Daniel Mansueto, president of the board of International Life Services.

Sister Paula Vandegaer, a longtime pro-life advocate in California who helped to establish hundreds of pro-life pregnancy centers around the U.S. and the world, died Aug. 13 in Glassell Park surrounded by her fellow Sisters of Social Service. She was 82.

“Sister Paula,” as she was known, helped launch the pregnancy help movement that arose in the late 1960s after California, and later, the nation, legalized abortion. She was one of three founding members of Heartbeat International, the first pro-life pregnancy support center in the United States and the largest such organization in the world.

An internationally known speaker, publisher, author, and consultant, she also founded and directed International Life Services, a nonprofit organization that promotes Judeo-Christian, life-affirming values; the Scholl Institute of Bioethics, a bioethical education and research center; and Volunteers for Life, a pro-life mentorship program and volunteer corps based in Los Angeles.

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