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Why I am remembering The Passage in my Will

“Everyone deserves a place to call home”.

This very poignant heading on a Passage Leaflet stopped me dead in my tracks. I considered just how fortunate I had been in life and focused me on how divorced from reality people were who stated “Homelessness was deemed a lifestyle choice”.

The engraved marble at the entrance to The Passage again focused me on the values of the establishment – words like dignity, compassion, respect to name but a few and cast me through the labyrinthine ways of my mind to my first encounters with this noble cause and its personnel.

It was 1989 when I was first introduced to The Passage by the then Canon Patrick O’Donoghue – Administrator  Westminster Cathedral and the late Cardinal Hume as they outlined to my good family exactly what took place through those doors in Carlisle Place.

Of course, I was only too well aware of the good works of the Vincentian Sisters, back home in Ireland having been so closely involved with many of them. The legendary Sr Genevieve O’Farrell, Sisters Ita, Rosaleen, Declan and Bridie Dowd with whom I served on  their Governing Body of the largest College in Western Europe – my beloved St Louise’s in Belfast. Here, poverty, lack of educational opportunity, unemployment and much more besides, was met head on by these good women. Through them and in conjunction with De Paul Ireland I witnessed large numbers of marginalised people achieve their full potential.

In London I regularly obtained circulars on the work of The Passage. However, during Covid, for some reason no updates arrived by post or email. Around eighteen months ago material started once again to drop through my letter box/email.

Above: Denis (pictured far right) at The Passage’ Secret Garden Party 2023

The ‘Logo’ of The Passage suddenly challenged me again and a visit ensued. I was immensely impressed with my meeting. I met committed, hard-working persons who were totally grounded in The Passage ethos; people like Mick Clarke, Poppy, Emma and Emily to name but a few. I was able to attend the ‘Open Day’ which dealt with health issues, accommodation, education and housing and more.

As I walked back to my home in London – seeing good Souls lying in doorways – I was challenged to my core.   

The recent sad news about King Charles has shown me, yet again, that life can change in a flash ‘Tempus Fujuit Memento Mori – Time Flys Remember Death’.

As a Lawyer I always advise clients to regularise their temporal affairs and upon returning home I immediately planned some Sponsorship/Events for The Passage, but more importantly I redrafted my Will and Testament. Of course there are many good causes, musical foundations, building refurbishment etc but as I lay down that night, safe and sound in my bed, having altered the Benefactors in my Will to substantially include this noble cause, I was convinced that with valiant efforts of Mick and his team – my donation would help produce for those in the cold, wet doorways of Victoria – a place they too could call home.

At this start of Lent when we all have to focus on the transient nature of Life and plan for Eternity – I thank God for the privilege to be associated with this good cause and exhort any reader of this article to do likewise and include The Passage in their Last Will and Testament.

Solicitor/Barrister/Notary Public

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