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Remembering Jim - Greater Boston Chapter

Remembering Jim Madden  (Mef Ford, Boston/New England Chapter)

[Rembrances of Jim continue to pour in.  This one by Mef, who attended the wake and funeral, is especially well done - colorful, funny, insightful and moving.  Bob]

Stories were told at the wake of Jim’s humility, inspiration, and vision. One described his courage. Once, in Peru, armed local leaders confronted Jim in a public square, accusing him of being a spy, exploiting and cheating the people. “Why are you here? You don’t belong here,” they shouted. Jim walked right up to the group, stood tall before them and flipped their challenge saying, "It is YOU who don’t belong here. You have cheated and exploited the people. Why are YOU here?” The people then rose up and said, “He’s with us and we’re with him.” Confronted by this cool, daring young priest and his supporters, they backed down. A co-worker later asked Jim if he’d been scared. "Terrified," he said.

Time was limited at the wake so what didn’t get told were stories of Jim’s good sense of humor and his style as co-creator and developer with Ellen McDonald, MM of the Affiliate movement. Jim saw everyone as equal, never condescended nor insisted on his way, so all creations were collaborative. At the first national Affiliate conference in Chicago in the early 90s, I saw a need for this fledgling group to stay connected and offered to put out one newsletter. Over the 10 years and 30 or so issues that followed, Jim was a faithful promoter and supporter. He did not try to rein me in in any way, not my style or my enthusiastic inclusion of a wide variety of material, including religious cartoons graciously but unwittingly shared by other publications.

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