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Mary Simpson

Mary Simpson

teacher, theologian, mother, parish worker,

champion for women’s rights in the Church


Aylesbury, England, 1928 -
Watford, England, 8 December 2003

From 1946 to 1949 Mary studied for a General Pass Degree in History, French and Theology at the University of South West Exeter. Having obtained her BA degree, she did a year’s teacher training at Exeter. During the final term of that year, she decided to become a Roman Catholic, having been brought up as a member of the Church of England. Mary was received into the Catholic Church in October 1950.

Mary taught for 3 years in a convent school in Torquay. In 1952 she took the Catholic Colleges’ Religious Examination, in which she gained a distinction. She taught for 7 years in St. Anthony’s School in Farnham Royal and for 7 years in St. Edwards, Windsor. Then she married and brought up a small family.

During her life Mary found great joy in imparting Religious Education, both to small children in school, and the ‘introduction’ of adult converts which she was often asked to do. She prepared many children for First Holy Communion. Mary remained an active member of her local parish .

Towards the end of her life Mary developed Parkinson’s disease which meant that she had to re-evaluate her whole life-style and activities. Being a highly intelligent woman it must have been hard at first for Mary to curtail and limit the kind of activities she was used to. However, little by little she worked out a pattern of life in which her love of literature could still be followed by friends meeting at her flat, or at nearby neighbours, so that their discussions on books and literature continued.

Mary became a treasured core member of the Women Priests’ team in Rickmansworth. This is how another team member, Jackie Clackson, remembers her: “Mary walked to our office twice a week to be part of our team - and she enriched us by her presence and wise theological insights into life when we shared the scripture readings together during our time of prayer. Mary helped with the scanning - first putting the documents on the screen and then going through many ancient documents in Greek or Latin to edit any parts which might not have been clearly scanned. Her positive attitude to life was a lesson to the rest of us, and just as she was delighted to part of our team and the campaign for women’s ordination - we are delighted to have had her as a friend and companion!!"

Reading on our website: I am proud of my sister.


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