Keeping Anne Gallagher’s Memory and Work Alive

On this date eight years ago, and with a heavy heart, I posted the obituary below on a peace hero of Northern Ireland, Anne Gallagher. 
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In that tribute, I vowed to keep Anne’s life-giving work alive and this post is one small indication of that promise. I am pleased to report that our forgiveness education work in Northern Ireland has continued. We are entering our 20th year of such service to the educators in that land. This all started through Anne’s tireless efforts and passion for peace in her homeland.
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Anne, I hope you are pleased with what we have done on the path which you started to walk so long ago.
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Robert


In Memoriam: Anne Gallagher, Seeds of Hope

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a true patriot for peace, Anne Gallagher of Dublin, Ireland (August 7, 2013).

ANNE GALLAGHER (1953-2013)

Anne started the peace organization, Seeds of Hope, in Ireland as a way to counter the after-effects of The Troubles. Even though the peace accord was signed in 1998, hearts were still embittered by the struggles that began to erupt in early 1972 with Bloody Sunday. Some of Anne’s friends and relations took up combat and were part of paramilitary organizations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Anne, in contrast, sought dialogue as a way to peace.

Anne was instrumental in the International Forgiveness Institute’s transition to forgiveness education in Belfast. She tirelessly set up meetings with us at various schools such as Ligoniel, St. Vincent de Paul, and Mercy Primary School. Because of Anne’s endorsement of us, doors flew open and within about one month of trying, we were accepted into schools within the inter-face areas of the city (where contentious groups live segregated lives but in close proximity to one another)..

I recall vividly in 2003 sitting with three ex-combatants who wanted to know more about forgiveness education. They were unsure if it was a good idea. Anne set up the meeting. You see, we needed their permission to go into a particular school because some of the ex-combatants informally controlled their neighborhoods. One of them, battle-tested, said to me, “My son is in that school. Forgiveness will make him weak.” I swallowed hard and asked, “Do you want your son to grow up and live as you have?” He bowed his head and with love in his heart for his son said, “No.” It was then that he gave us permission to enter the school.

Anne was always close to danger like this. She did not care, even though some of her brothers were scared for her. Yet, she had a spark in her eyes and a conviction deep within that peace must be sought even if it meant putting oneself on the line at times.

Anne Gallagher represents peace in Ireland. We at the IFI will do our best to keep alive her vision for Seeds of Hope in each human heart. Peace be with you now, Anne.

Robert

Author’s Note: Read about the Northern Ireland Troubles, about Bloody Sunday, and about learning to forgive in the “Seeds of Hope Ex-Prisoners Think Tank Report” co-authored by Anne Gallagher (whose four brothers became involved in the Northern Ireland conflict and served long prison sentences, one being shot dead upon his release.)
— Anne Gallagher photo by Brian Moody


 

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Categories: Courage, Famous People, Our Forgiveness BlogTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 comments

  1. Josh says:

    Anne seems like she was a very courageous person. She left a lot of love behind, I think. I am glad that she inspired all of you at the International Institute of Forgiveness.

  2. Blaine says:

    The information on this peace patriot is very inspiring. She put herself on the line and even went against those with whom she was close. I hope she rests in peace.

  3. Samantha says:

    A beautiful testimony to what appears to be a beautiful lady. I hope her legacy of peace lives on and that the IFI will have the strength and resources to do this.

  4. Pauline says:

    I feel this special Lady is a gift to Ireland,you should be very proud of her, RIP Anne , In the Arm”s of Our Blessed Lord In Heaven.Amen.

  5. Bertha says:

    I was so saddened to hear this news. What happened? Anne was always so vibrant and cheerful and full of hope. I will pray for the salvation of her soul. She did a lot of good in this troubled world.

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