Archbishop John McDowell pays tribute to Baroness May Blood
The Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, has issued the following statement on the announcement of the death of Baroness May Blood:
‘Although I did not know her half as well as I would have liked to, I know that the death of Baroness May Blood leaves Northern Ireland and particularly her home city of Belfast a poorer place. Baroness Blood (or May as she preferred) was at the heart of progressive movements for community development and reform in Belfast from a very early age. Her concern sprang from seeing and experiencing the very poor living conditions in post–war Belfast and led to an early involvement in the Trade Union Movement and into wider social and political activism; all deeply informed by the influence of the teachings and person of Jesus Christ. And she could be found where women so often have been in the unfinished work of peace in Ireland – front and centre, where more timid spirits were wary to tread, outstandingly exemplified in her work with the Women’s Coalition.
‘May Blood was a formidable presence in any gathering, a quintessential Belfast woman who spoke directly and constructively from the depth of a kind heart, which had been nurtured in a loving home. I once heard her describe the knowledge of the love of her parents as the greatest riches she ever had. And so May enriched the lives of all who came into contact with her, although that Belfast directness and the slightly disbelieving look which said, “Do you think so?” meant that she could be a challenging dialogue partner.
‘I know that May has been an inspiration and an encouragement to many people, especially to women, and in that sense her influence lives on in the lives of others. My prayers are with all those who were closest to May and who she loved most. God bless her memory to all of us.’
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