Mairead Corrigan has worked for the peace movement born out of the troubles in Northern Ireland in order to reap the harvest of justice in the future, by sowing the seeds of non violence here today. She has worked continuously on peacemaking and non violence guided by Christ’s example.
Awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1976 for her work with the Peace People in Northern Ireland, Mairead has continued to work on behalf of peacemaking and nonviolence. “Wherever we are, wherever we live, we need to ask ourselves as Christians, if Christ lived in Belfast would he carry a gun and kill for a cause? If Christ lived in America or Britain would he support nuclear weapons… that could annihilate millions of our sisters and brothers in the world?”
On 10th August 1976, three children, Joanne, (eight-and-a-half years old), John (two-and-a half) and Andrew (six weeks old) were killed on a Belfast street corner and their mother, Anne, was seriously injured. A British army patrol had shot and killed an IRA gunman, Danny Lennon, whose car then ploughed into the sidewalk along Finaghy Road North in Belfast. This was the seventh year of “the Troubles” in Northern Ireland and sixteen hundred people had already lost their lives. The day the children were buried, on Friday, 13th August 1976, their aunt, Mairead Corrigan met Ciaran McKeown and Betty Williams at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast. On that day, the Peace People movement was born.
“If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future,” Mairead said, “we will have to sow seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present.” Mairead not only organized demonstrations, she also wrote letters to the IRA, to Gerry Adams and to many others. She called for a “politics of mercy and forgiveness” and encouraged Irish women to join in the struggle for peace.
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