“I will do anything that helps my brothers and sisters have the basic necessities of life”: Oxford nun lobbies parliament

An Oxford nun was one of hundreds of members of religious orders who met their MPs on Wednesday May 15 to push for action on global hunger.

Sr Bertranda

Sister Bertranda Mulryan, a Dominican sister of The Moors, Oxford, took part in a mass lobby organised by CAFOD as part of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. She was one of a group of more than 300 priests, monks and nuns – many of whom have lived and worked in developing countries – who raised with politicians the reasons why one in eight people worldwide go hungry, and challenged them to take action.

Labour party leader Ed Miliband and international development minister Alan Duncan were among more than 50 MPs or their researchers who met the religious lobbyists. Sr Bertranda and her colleague sr Lucy Fitzpatrick, met their MP Nicola Blackwood and talked to her about global hunger.

Sr Bertranda, who worked for six years as a teacher in Liberia, West Africa, said: “I will do anything that helps my brothers and sisters in the developing world to have the basic necessities of life. I do not want anyone to go hungry while I have enough to eat. Having worked in Liberia, I am also aware of how the poor were exploited by some corrupt multinational companies and I feel that is something our Government can address.”

The lobby came in the lead-up to the G8 summit, which is held in the UK only once every eight years. This year, the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, of which CAFOD is a founder member, is bringing together more than 200 development and faith-based organisations to call for action to tackle global hunger when G8 leaders meet in Northern Ireland in June.

Ed Miliband said: “I want to pay tribute to CAFOD and the incredible work CAFOD does – they’re not only a fantastic organisation, but an organisation that is literally changing and saving lives around the world. I warmly endorse the IF campaign. It’s a very easy campaign to remember: it’s about aid, it’s about tax and it’s about transparency. All of these things make an enormous difference to people in the world.

“Keep the pressure on us. Keep the pressure on David Cameron and on me and on Nick Clegg to do the right thing, to do our duty as politicians, to make good on our promises and do our duty to the world.

“We have a couple of months when we have got to have the most vigorous campaigning to put the pressure on the G8. Let’s remember our moral obligation to the world – that’s why you’re here and that’s why I’m in politics.”

Clare Lyons, CAFOD Head of Campaigns, spoke at the event, and explained how inspired she was by those attending. She said: “Religious communities have an incredibly important role to play in this campaign. It was amazing to see so many people come together, driven by their faith. There were young and old, those who lived locally, and others lived and worked as far away as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bolivia.”

The lobby was also supported by JPIC Links (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation), the Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEFJN), the Conference of Religious (COR), Progressio, Trocaire, Church Action on Poverty and SCIAF.

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