Elisabeth Liskowski came to Priests for Life on Staten Island by way of Japan, California, Florida, Virginia, Germany, England and Alabama.
But exactly how she got there, she says, “is a God story.”
When she was in high school and living in Florida, Father Frank Pavone spoke at Elisabeth’s church and then addressed her youth group.
“I was in the process of having a pro-life conviction, and Father Frank’s talk lit a fire under me,” she says. “I talked to him afterward and he said I should come to New York and work for Priests for Life.”
She didn’t do that; she carried on with plans to attend college in Alabama. Then, the day before her college graduation, she heard he was speaking about an hour away and she made the trip to see him.
“I introduced myself again and he said, ‘I remember you. When are you coming to work for Priests for Life?’ “
Her plans to work on a national evangelistic team were shelved and Elisabeth moved to Staten Island to work in youth outreach and communications. She stayed for two years, immersed in the work and enjoying everything the Big Apple had to offer.
“I lost all my money to all the fun things you can do in New York City,” she says. “It was a perfect phase of my life.”
She describes the work environment at Priests for Life as “more familial than the average workplace.” She was there as the ministry was moving from very cramped headquarters to a much larger office and even with the craziness that comes with a move, she said the family nature of the ministry “was above and beyond.
“I remember that when my best friend from home passed Anthony DeStefano (now the vice chairman of the board) was quick to help me book a flight to be home the next day.”
She found working with Father Frank to be “very inspirational. I loved his zeal and dedication. It was inspiring to be around someone who believes so strongly.” Indicating that perhaps Father Frank could be a bit of a taskmaster, she says diplomatically that “I remember reading that Mother Teresa was really hard to work for.”
Janet Morana was “the mama bear,” she says. “I was very appreciative of her caring and concern since I was so far away from home. She really made it easier.” Elisabeth says she’s happy to see that Janet has evolved into an influential national pro-life leader herself.
“She carved out her own way,” she says.
After leaving Priests for Life, Elisabeth met her husband, Paul, online at Catholic Match and she’s now a home-schooling mom to six kids, four of them adopted from foster care. Hannah is the oldest, at 11, followed by Blaise, 9; Maura, 8; Clare, 5; Dominic, 4, and Elijah, 2.
In her “spare” time, Elisabeth teaches the Creighton Model of Natural Family Planning – a method sanctioned by the Catholic Church that helps couples identify fertile periods during a woman’s cycle.
Looking back to her time at Priests for Life, she says, “I still think of my experiences very fondly.”