Every Friday, at President Reagan's direction, Anne would select 30 letters that the president would take to Camp David to read, respond to and return to Anne on Monday.
And every Monday, senior staff had lunch with President Reagan.
At these lunches, the president would start off reading a letter. I recall one. It was from a woman in her 80s whose husband had left her when she was 40 and pregnant. She had thought of having an abortion, but prayed and decided to give birth.
Now, that baby boy, 40 years later, was taking care of her in her old age.
"Isn't that a beautiful story?" said Reagan.
As we walked out of the lunch, one of the president's senior advisers said to me in exasperation, "Where does he get these letters?"
He got those letters from Anne, who saw to it the president's reading file always contained pro-life letters.
As my sister Kathleen, who was working in Anne's shop, said, "Anne has turned White House Correspondence into a chapter of Opus Dei."
When I think of Anne, I think of three qualities.
First is loyalty. Loyalty to her beloved George, loyalty to her Catholic faith, loyalty to her friends. As I can testify.
In 1991, when I ran against President George H.W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination, Anne did not hesitate to sign on. Indeed, she became a Buchanan delegate in the Washington, D.C., primary and called all my friends to demand that they, too, become delegates for Pat Buchanan in a campaign to dump a Republican president, even though that meant social, political and economic suicide. Those who didn't sign on got an earful from Anne.
The second quality is courage. Few have suffered as Anne did for 30 years, from one form of cancer after another. Nor can I think of any who bore so much suffering with fewer complaints.
My late father used to have a saying, "Offer it up." Offer up any pain for the souls in purgatory. That is what Anne did for half of her life.
The third quality is compassion, especially for these, the least of my children, the Lord said, the unborn. From that awful day, Jan. 22, 1973, when Roe v. Wade came down, Anne was a fighting champion of the unborn. No hero of the movement did more.
The cause of life was the life cause of Anne Higgins, for which God bless her, as I am confident he has rewarded her -- with eternal life.
Anne Higgins was a saint who walked among us.
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