CAFOD mourns loss of leading light in Catholic Church
We are mourning Mildred Nevile, our long-time Board member and trustee, who died on 2 September at the age of 85. But the loss is not ours alone, for Mildred was a pioneer in international development, one of the most important lay leaders in the Catholic Church in England and Wales in the last century, and a model, mentor and counsellor to hundreds of people of all backgrounds.
While Mildred was not one of CAFOD’s founding mothers (Jacquie Stuyt-Simpson, Elspeth Orchard, Evelyn White and Nora Warmington) she was a strong supporter and served on the Board and as a trustee for more than twenty years.
High point of her career
The high-point of Mildred Nevile’s career was the 28 years she spent at the organisation that when she joined it in 1958 was known as the Sword of the Spirit and later became the Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR), and is now Progressio. Mildred became General Secretary of CIIR in 1967. Under her leadership, CIIR pioneered political advocacy on issues of global justice long before bigger agencies such CAFOD felt able to do so.
Commitment to CAFOD
Mildred’s commitment to CAFOD and her deep understanding of its role in the Catholic community is expressed very well in an interview she gave in 1985: “To me, there has always been something humble and humbling about the manner in which people give to CAFOD: the spirit and sense of sharing resources within the same family, rather than a sense of the rich and the privileged giving to the poor and the less privileged.
“I remember one couple, for instance, who had saved up to buy a new carpet for their living room, but when they were made aware of people’s needs in other countries they decided to forego the carpet and give what they had saved to CAFOD.
“Frequently, those opening the envelopes from Fast Day appeals were amazed and humbled at the number of pensioners who contributed their week's pension money, and everywhere people in their own homes really did give up something on Family Fast Day — beer, cigarettes, a visit to the pub or cinema, chocolates and sweets — and sent the money saved to CAFOD.”
Links to former CAFOD staff member, Francis McDonagh's obituary and Clare Dixon, CAFOD's Head of Latin America and Caribbean can be downloaded from this page.