June 15, 2007 -- While presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sought to settle shifts in his stance on abortion rights ahead of his appearance at the Right to Life convention, his wife took the stage at the National Hispanic Prayer Conference to champion home, family and compassion on the campaign trail.
Speaking to a crowd of Hispanic clergy and community leaders, Ann Romney, an Episcopalian turned Mormon, addressed how faith has affected all parts of her life. With her youngest son, Craig, by her side, doubling as her date and "translator for the night" at the Spanish-infused event, Romney joked about how faith helped her raise a big family.
"My faith experience, well, as you can imagine, you need a lot of faith to raise five boys," she laughed.
Romney said raising her family was a lot of joy and placed utmost importance on the roles of a mother and father in society. "I do recognize the most valuable work being done across the country is that work being done inside the four walls in our homes. And let us not forget how important the work of the mother and father are to raising responsible citizens."
Beyond the challenges of motherhood, Romney called on faith during a time she dubs as a "crisis" in her life, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998.
"I felt like I was jumping off a cliff without a parachute," she said. "But later you look back and you recognize what blessings come in your life and how you do get blessed by going out and serving."
Romney relied on her faith and family while recovering. "I had to dig deep with the help of my husband who really pulled me through and gave me courage to go on."
The test of faith, she said, during her battle with multiple sclerosis developed a sense of compassion for others. "I learned to have a more compassionate heart. We all have burdens and we need to learn to carry each other's burdens, lighten each other's load."
Romney insisted it was a lesson that should be carried over to politics as well.
Calling her husband's quest for the White House an "interesting journey," Romney hinted her faith is now being tested on the campaign trail. "Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would be doing this," she exclaimed.
"We are all children of the same God, and we have to come together to solve our problems and not be fighting so much," she said. "I'm hopeful we can get there as a country, and that we will learn to overcome some of the hostility we face in the political arena."
The Romney ship finds itself in choppy political waters, despite the former Massachusetts governor's front-runner status within the Republican party. Candidate Romney takes the stage in Kansas City at the National Right to Life Convention following revelations about a 2005 "pro-choice" judicial appointment after his self-described epiphany on "life" issues.