Agnes Milne presented with a Papal Blessing for more than 25 years of volunteering for CAFOD
Long term CAFOD volunteer Agnes Milne received a Papal Blessing last Sunday 10 February in recognition of her contribution to CAFOD, championing the rights of some of the poorest communities across the world through campaigning and fundraising. The blessing certificate was presented to her by Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) and Fr Eamon Devlin (parish priest), at St Mary’s parish Dunstable.
Fr Eamon reads out the papal blessing
Agnes’ Papal Blessing
Agnes (84) has volunteered for CAFOD for over 25 years. During that time she has not only helped raise thousands of pounds but has been an MP correspondent and campaigner for CAFOD, focusing on many issues, including Third World Debt, Fairtrade, and Climate Change.
Debbie said, “I am so honoured to be here on behalf of CAFOD to thank the parish and particularly Agnes for all her years of volunteering for CAFOD.” Agnes exclaimed “I was so surprised and overwhelmed to get this blessing” adding that she felt she needed the blessing, having lost her husband, Andrew, seven months ago. Agnes dates her passion to fighting poverty back to the early 60s when she spent three years teaching in Uganda. This was at about the same time as CAFOD was founded and she has always been a supporter.
Supporters want Sainsbury’s to ditch its ‘Fairly traded’ tea
Agnes has organised petitions, displays, walks, talks and church services. She works with Christians from other churches and once got a group of people, as part of a campaign, to talk to all the jewellers in Dunstable about where their gold came from, to ensure that it was ethically mined and that the miners got a fair deal. More recently she was involved in asking Sainsbury’s not to ditch the Fairtrade mark on their own-brand tea and in organising walks within the pastoral area, in support of the refugee campaign “Share the Journey”
Her husband, Andrew, joined in with Share the Journey by walking in the hospital ward during his last illness. He was thrilled to hear about the papal blessing and together with Debbie and the parish, started organising the day for Agnes. Sadly he was taken ill and couldn’t see it through. However, we know that Andrew was very much with Agnes when she received it.
Presenting the Papal Blessing to Agnes Milne
Debbie said gleefully, “together with current parish volunteer Justin Redmond, we had planned with Fr that I would be invited to say a few words before the end of mass. I saw a very perplexed look on Agnes’ face initially. This broke into a surprised, embarrassed and then an overwhelmed look!” The certificate of Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis was presented to Agnes by Fr Eamon and there was a standing ovation.
This was followed by a small celebration after the mass where the Union of Catholic Mothers (UCM) did the refreshments and a beautifully decorated and yummy cake was given to Agnes. The Knights of St Columba presented Agnes with flowers and many people expressed their love and admiration for Agnes, and for her late husband.
Debbie added “Agnes, you are such an inspiration. You use every opportunity you can to raise awareness of the causes of poverty and always encourage others to add their voices with yours against injustices. You not only talk the talk but walk the walk. You are an amazing volunteer! Thank you so much for all you have done and continue to do.”
Agnes Milne with daughter Louise
Some of Agnes’ five children and eleven grandchildren were there to see her receive the award. Her youngest daughter, Louise, said “we are incredibly proud of mum. She always keeps in mind the less privileged, here in Dunstable and around the world, especially in Africa. She is always thinking about what else she can do to help and how she can get other people involved too. We just wish our dad could have been with us today to see this too”
To find out more about CAFOD and campaigning, visit: cafod.org.uk/campaign