Remembering Kathy Wicks, Pax Christi supporter with a “big heart”

Representatives of Pax Christi, CAFOD and Westminster Diocese Justice and Peace Commission attended the funeral on 22 October of Justice and Peace activist Kathy Wicks, who died a week earlier aged 79, on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was held at St Paul the Apostle Church in Wood Green, where Kathy had been an active parishioner for 60 years.

In his eulogy Bruce Kent, vice-president of Pax Christi, told a story from Kathy’s childhood, demonstrating that the roots of her justice and peace commitment came from her family background. She was very influenced by her parents, who, on Christmas Day 1945, invited German prisoners of war to spend the day with their family in Brighton, despite having meagre food to share.

“She had a great example of generosity and reconciliation in her parents and certainly had a big heart herself” he said.

Kathy was a devoted grassroots supporter of  Pax Christi for many years, attending the annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki vigil every August, volunteering in the Hendon office and engaging with peace groups in Haringay on behalf of Pax Christi. It was Kathy’s idea to produce the popular Pax Christi book of Recipes and Reflections called, ‘A Taste for Peace’ in 1996. She spent many hours editing and trying out most of the recipes herself. Bruce described her as a loyal member of the Catholic Church who believed strongly in its Justice and Peace mission, even if it meant challenging clergy!

She was a founder member of the North London Justice and Peace Network  in the mid 1980s, attending the first meeting convened by Bishop Philip Harvey and becoming network coordinator for several years. Her years as a social worker clearly sensitised her to problems facing the poor and vulnerable. After being involved in planning and setting up so many Justice and Peace days throughout the 80s and 90s it was fitting that she was prayed for at the Westminster Diocesan Justice and Peace Day on Saturday 24 October, held at nearby West Green, and with many of her friends present.

Several speakers at her funeral commented upon her refusal to grow old. She once reprimanded a gathering of the National Justice and Peace Network for stressing that young people should be drawn in. “We need to draw everybody in regardless of their age” she said “and if you feel I’m too old for this work just let me know”. Of course nobody did. At the age of 67 years she visited Kenya with CAFOD and within days of coming home was on a Channel Four television programme talking about it. More recently she took up art and sculpture, attending courses and then sharing her skills with her grandchildren, drawing on her early training as a nursery nurse.

Kathy had battled cancer in the two years since her husband Bob died in 2007. He too had been an active Pax Christi volunteer in his retirement. Complaining however was not in her nature and one of her sons reflected at her funeral how often she commented that “God is good” and truly appreciated having a loving family around her. She is survived by six children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Six of her grandsons carried Kathy’s coffin from the church to her final resting place.

Share this story