Pax Christi has presented its Peace Award to those who have shown a commitment for peace and justice bi-annually since 2001. In the nomination statement by Valerie Flessati and Nan Saeki they explain, “Others may share our view that Ellen has done more than any other individual to bring together the strands of ‘justice and peace’ – by which we mean human rights and justice for the global poor, peace, disarmament and nonviolence, and environmental issues, particularly climate change.”
They go on to note her history with CAFOD before focusing on her role with the society of St. Columban running the media desk of the JPIC team. Columban magazine Vocation for Justice, sent out to subscribers three times a year and edited by Ellen, is lauded as “a model of inclusivity”, noting that “passionate advocates all too often only follow their own particular causes, but Ellen has kept the big picture before us all”.
Amongst Ellen’s many personal gifts Pax Christi highlight her “sheer hard work, responsiveness, commitment, skill, and efficiency” as well as her honesty, warmth and encouraging friendship.
On accepting her award Ellen reflected on some of her experiences with Pax Christi since 1990, including editing the 1995 publication ‘A Taste for Peace’, taking part in a delegation to Palestine in 2015, kneeling outside the Ministry of Defence on Ash Wednesdays and playing the guitar at various Pax Christi liturgies. She thanked the Columbans for having her in their Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation team in Britain for more than three decades, and ‘giving me the freedom and resources to pursue that agenda’.
Ellen has worked for the Columbans since 1990, establishing great links with charities and other organisations that strive to promote justice, peace and creation. Besides editing our Vocation for Justice Magazine, Ellen helps to organize our annual Columban Schools Media Competition which aims to engage young people to have their voices heard with respect to important issues affecting their communities and ‘our common home’.
Besides being a Columban presence at numerous lobbies and marches on such issues as the climate crisis, global debt, fair trade, extractive industries, and peace and nonviolence, Ellen represented the Columbans at the 2015 United Nations Climate Talks in Paris and hopes to attend the Cop26 UN Climate Change Conference talks this November which are due to be held in Glasgow.
Alongside Ellen, John Williams also received an award, with his support and advice to Peace Education workers over many years celebrated. The medals they received were created by the artist Natasha Ratcliffe, taking the theme, PEACE, Please Enlist All Communities on Earth.
The work of Pax Christi – the Peace of Christ – is ‘based on the gospel and inspired by faith.’ Pax Christi is a membership organisation and the Columbans are active members of Pax Christi International who work for peace, reconciliation and nonviolence supporting teachers, chaplains, youth workers and those working with young people. Through events they strive to abolish nuclear weapons and are passionate about celebrating peacemakers, such as Ellen and their efforts.