A woman represented Hartlepool’s Catholic community at the Vatican to witness the canonisation of a new Saint close to her heart.
The Catholic community in Hartlepool has raised thousands of pounds over the years for the church’s international development charity CAFOD and its work in El Salvador.
Clare Dixon, from Hartlepool, who has devoted her life to working with communities in the Central American country, travelled to Rome to celebrate the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, made a Saint by the Pope.
Romero is cited alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century.
Clare, who is CAFOD’s Head of Region for Latin America and went to Sacred Heart primary school before attending St Joseph’s Convent, said: “El Salvador is still plagued by the legacy of the civil war.
“Society is deeply polarised, beset by organised crime – but I hope that Romero’s sainthood will be an inspiration to many in Latin America and worldwide who risk their lives championing the poor and marginalised in their communities.
“His canonisation will give Romero the wider recognition he so richly deserves – he denounced the violence which was tearing his country apart, he spoke out against oppression, and stood against injustice alongside people living in poverty.”
North East communities have raised more than £100,000 for families in El Salvador which has allowed CAFOD and its partners to work with communities supporting projects on farming, health, the empowerment of woman and the promotion of peace.
CAFOD’s links with Romero date back to the 1970s. It supported Romero’s radio station ensuring his voice and sermons could be heard across the country and also worked with his office to help displaced people fleeing from terror and persecution.