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A prophet of peace

Nobel peace prize winner and proud Derry man John Hume died in his native city in the early hours of Monday 3 August 2020, aged 83. At his funeral Mass in St Eugene’s Cathedral in the city, Fr Paul Farren told the story of how often he would see John, in the latter years of his life, coming in daily (often late!) for ten o’clock Mass or sitting later that evening at the back of the chapel praying.

Pat Coyle, Director of Irish Jesuit Communications, is a Derry woman who grew up in the Bogside, in the next street to where John lived with his wife Pat and their five children. She knew him since she was a child and later when working as a journalist for the BBC in Belfast and then RTE in Dublin.

In this interview with Miriam Gormally of Soulwaves, Pat recalls the man of heroic status who was ever-present during her childhood and working life.

She talks about his faith and how he lived it out concretely, in the face of death threats in the North and unjustifiable vilification from some media and other quarters in the South. And she notes, in particular, his unerring non-violent stance as he fought for peace with justice in his war-torn country.

She recalls her earliest memories of him when as a child she watched him sitting in peaceful protest against internment on her front street. She also remembers later meetings and social gatherings in neighbouring Donegal, a county John loved.

Fíor laoch na nGael… Ar dhéis Dé go raibh a anam mór, dílis.