Full text: Sister Dede Byrne’s speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention

CNA Staff, Aug 26, 2020 / 08:22 pm (CNA).- Sr. Deirdre “Dede” Byrne, POSC, was among the speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention. Now a Catholic religious sister, Byrne previously served as a surgeon, retired army officer, and missionary. The full text of her speech, delivered August 26, is below:

Good evening. I am Sister Dede Byrne, and I belong to the Community of the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Last Fourth of July, I was honored to be one of the president’s guests at his Salute to America celebration.

I must confess that I recently prayed while in chapel, begging God to allow me to be a voice, an instrument for human life. And now here I am, speaking at the Republican National Convention. I guess you’d better be careful what you pray for. My journey to religious life was not a traditional route, if there is such a thing.

In 1978, as a medical school student at Georgetown University, I joined the Army to help pay for my tuition, and ended up devoting 29 years to the military, serving as a doctor and a surgeon in places like Afghanistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. After much prayer and contemplation, I entered my religious order in 2002, working to serve the poor and the sick in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq and in Washington, D.C.

Humility is at the foundation of our order, which makes it very difficult to talk about myself. But I can speak about my experience working for those fleeing war-torn and impoverished countries all around the world. Those refugees all share a common experience. They have all been marginalized, viewed as insignificant, powerless and voiceless. And while we tend to think of the marginalized as living beyond our borders, the truth is the largest marginalized group in the world can be found here in the United States. They are the unborn.

As Christians, we first met Jesus as a stirring embryo in the womb of an unwed mother and saw him born nine months later in the poverty of the cave. It is no coincidence that Jesus stood up for what was just and was ultimately crucified because what he said was not politically correct or fashionable. As followers of Christ, we are called to stand up for life against the politically correct or fashionable of today. We must fight against a legislative agenda that supports and even celebrates destroying life in the womb.

Keep in mind, the laws we create define how we see our humanity. We must ask ourselves: What we are saying when we go into a womb and snuff out an innocent, powerless, voiceless life? As a physician, I can say without hesitation: Life begins at conception. While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I am not just pro-life, I am pro-eternal life. I want all of us to end up in heaven together someday.

Which brings me to why I am here today. Donald Trump is the most pro-life president this nation has ever had, defending life at all stages. His belief in the sanctity of life transcends politics. President Trump will stand up against Biden-Harris, who are the most anti-life presidential ticket ever, even supporting the horrors of late-term abortion and infanticide. Because of his courage and conviction, President Trump has earned the support of America’s pro-life community. Moreover, he has a nationwide of religious standing behind him. You’ll find us here with our weapon of choice, the rosary.

Thank you, Mr. President, we are all praying for you.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.


  1. I was shocked and angry with Sister Dede Byrne’s speech in supporting the most despicable monster we have ever had in the Oval Office. She forgot to mention his ordering the separation of parents from their children. Children put in concentration camps in cages with no health care, poor quality of food and no one accountable. She forgot to mention the republican platform of taking away all the financial safety nets for these poor girls who get pregnant. The republican pro lifers care only about the fetus and once that baby takes a breath they walk away. Trump has been accused of sexually molesting at least 25 young women. He has been accused of raping a 14 tear old. He cheated on all three wives, paid off a porn star. He is a disgrace to the USA, As a Catholic I was appalled with cardinal Dolan’s support of this non christian who makes horrible comments about women. If this is what the Catholic Church is supporting I want no part of it. I will find a more healthy religion that does not exploit the poor, especially young women. I will never set foot in a Catholic Church again. If you don’t print this it will show me again what hypocrites you are.

    • Patricia, Where do I even start? So many lies and half truths that you uttered but our faith still clings to the hope that your eyes will see the light. You sound like a teacher that is always listening to NPR, am I close?

      • No, I am a registered nurse who has seen the dark side of the Church. These are not half truths, these statements are true. Separation of children from their parents, put in cages with no medical care, dispute that. The Republican Party has waged a battle against the poor and Nolan is despicable. I think he likes the good fat life.
        I could go on and on about things the church has done hiding pedophile priests and allowed it go on and on. My eyes have seen the light but obviously you have not. If you don’t acknowledge the problem then there will be no solution. The Catholic Church is a giant Boys Club. If it were run by competent women a lot of the problems would have been solved before it became criminal. Like hiding Law in the Vatican so he didn’t have to face criminal charges, no denying that.

        • Patricia,
          I think anyone familiar with border security would dispute your comments. Children are routinely brought across the border by adults not related to them and once apprehended are kept apart from adults for their own safety.
          Human traffickers should be the target of our righteous anger, not the decent men and women serving along the border.

    • This woman only expressed her opinion. She has zero authority to speak on behalf of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I hope everyone who reads or sees her speech realizes that. She has no more authority than you or I, she’s just offering her opinion while wearing a habit. Personally I find it disgusting to claim you are pro life when what you actually are is pro birth and who cares what happens to them once they are in the world.

      • Karen,
        I hope your comments aren’t directed at Sister Deirdre? From what I’ve read she’s dedicated her entire life to others. That’s a far fetch from disregarding life outside of the womb.
        I hope we’re all strongly pro-birth. Nothing beneficial can be enjoyed without first having being born.

  2. Its now November, and Trump is trying to set up a dictatorship in America. S. Deirdre may have meant well, but she has given support to a ruthless tyrant. Religious should not speak out about politics. I suppose she wants Rome to reclaim the Papal States. Laws won’t stop abortion (an old Priest who I deeply respected told me that). The only way to stop abortion is to change people’s hearts. She supported a egocentric bigot who wouldn’t know religion if it hit him on the head (Remember 2 Corinthians?). I grew up near Dallas Tx in the 1950’s. Abortion was “illegal”, but it was common knowledge that if a woman wanted an abortion, she could check locations and prices to find the underground clinic of her choice. Our Catholic cemetery has two of the casualties of bargain basement abortions from the early 1960’s. Beautiful young girls who needlessly died. Laws don’t change peoples behavior. Think Prohibition. Some of you need to grow up. Instead of supporting crooked politicians, support maternity shelters, etc. I do. Deep down I think many Catholics are rabidly anti-abortion because they like the politics of many Republicans. Scribes and Pharases all.

    • Oh, flapdoodle. Seriously. A “ruthless tyrant?” What has he done that is so ruthlessly tyrannical? Saved babies? Protected religious freedom?

      “Abortion was “illegal”, but it was common knowledge that if a woman wanted an abortion, she could check locations and prices to find the underground clinic of her choice.”

      It wasn’t “illegal,” it was illegal. And while possibly people determined to do such an evil thing could find out a way to do it, I am quite certain that it was not as widespread as it is now.

      “Our Catholic cemetery has two of the casualties of bargain basement abortions from the early 1960’s.”

      Two, huh? Two who broke secular as well as moral law, and died doing it. Does your Catholic cemetary have room for the sixty million babies who have been killed since Roe v. Wade?

      As far as the statistics on death because of illegal abortions, in the 1960’s as well as other times: https://www.liveaction.org/news/women-died-illegal-abortion-roe/

      “Deep down I think many Catholics are rabidly anti-abortion because they like the politics of many Republicans.”

      Deep down I think many pseudo-Catholics are rabidly Democratic because they want abortion to be legal.

      “Scribes and Pharases all.”

      Should I join in your version of Christian charity and say “Worshipers of Moloch all?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.