I was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire in 1955.
My family were nominally C of E – though no one went to church at all, apart from very occasionally on Christmas Eve. However I was baptised, as was usual at that time, and I learned many Old and New Testament stories from school – so I knew the basics. My mother was called Mary Kearney before she was married – and her family were Irish at some point – so I always think that I was destined to become Roman Catholic; I think it is very probable that her ancestors were Catholic in the past – though no one could remember! However growing up, I never met any Catholic children – because of the educational segregation.
I studied medicine at University and qualified as a doctor in 1979. I now work as a paediatric pathologist in the NHS. This means that I diagnose disease in living children from tissue biopsies and also investigate pregnancy loss and child death. However I have also done research in bioethics and medical jurisprudence – and I have a PhD in the law and ethics of intersex.
It was to be some time before I thought of joining the Roman Catholic Church! I first met Catholics at University and though I was interested in their culture and beliefs I never really thought it might be possible for me to become a Catholic.
I married my husband in 1993. He had an interesting history. He had been forced to convert to Roman Catholicism when he was 12 years old, when his mother and father did. They sent him to Catholic boarding school and after initial reluctance he developed a profound belief in the Church. He went on to be a Benedictine monk for a number of years, but never felt that he had a vocation to be a priest so, in the end, decided to leave. He never left the Church though.
It still took me 20 years to decide to join him in his Catholic faith! However I am now very happy that I did.
My husband and I are both vegans and though we fail to live in any sort of environmentally friendly way – we do think that we really have to try to do this in whatever ways we can. For us the environment and the consequences of environmental catastrophe are the most important issues facing all of us.