In January 1946 Cheshire was medically discharged from the RAF suffering from ‘psychoneurosis’, a result of the emotional and physical stress of the war as a whole, rather than the experience of Nagasaki. Cheshire, like many ex-service personnel, found it difficult to adapt to civilian life. As a famous wartime celebrity he was not short of invitations for meetings, political discussions, press columns, memoirs, sponsorships, etc and he found himself reasonably affluent and in great public demand. However this lifestyle left him dissatisfied and unfulfilled, with his innate ‘social conscience’ leading him to publicly promote the provision of rehabilitation training centres for ex-servicemen. He wrote regularly for the 'Daily Graphic' in which he promoted his ideas, which fitted in well with the new political concept of the ‘Welfare State’. He visualised the roles of Britain, America and the Dominions, as ‘agents of enlightenment’, with the unified aim of peace worldwide, and the grave responsibility to deal with the real threat to mankind posed by the existence of the ‘bomb’. He founded an association called ‘Vade in Pacem’ (VIP), intended for the mutual support of ex-servicemen and their families, specifically by means of training courses in various trades and skills, business and marketing skills, etc., intended to eventually enable them to run their own businesses. The association was offered a mansion - Gumley Hall, nr Market Harborough, Leicestershire, with 45 bedrooms and 2000 acres, which included a market garden and pig farm, rent free for the first year, which was accepted. Soon people moved in and VIP was in business, literally so, however funds were limited and suitable trainers and instructors even more limited. By this time Cheshire had become deeply interested in Christianity: –
I can see no final solution to the problem of the world, except by establishing a Christian fellowship of mankind…. The forces of good both active and passive, must be mobilised and encouraged to fight the forces of evil’.
HH POPE JOHN PAUL II RECEIVING LEONARD CHESHIRE AND SUE RYDER IN ROME ON 5th APRIL 1984, ON THEIR SILVER WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
The Sue Ryder Foundation has some 17 Care Centres in Britain, which comprises 6 Hospices and 11 Neurological Centres, also a home-care service. It also supports 30 projects in 11 European countries and Malawi. ( Wikipedia)
The courageous. devout and inspiring lives, and the truly ‘humanitarian’ achievements, of these two extraordinary people, surely rank alongside such great and holy lives as that of ‘Mother Teresa of Calcutta’. Certainly they had human weaknesses and failings, but the Saints had these. Above everything, they had tremendous trust in Divine Providence, which trust was more than amply rewarded, as is clear from all that was achieved, for ‘by their fruits you shall know them’. They are surely now together in God's presence, and we ask for their intercession for our once Christian and indeed Catholic country, that we may honour and obey God's Commandments, that His Laws may be reflected in our laws, that the Kingship of Christ and the authority of His Church be recognised, and that the God-given dignity of all mankind be acknowledged and respected. We also ask for their intercession for the conversion of England to the one, true Catholic faith, the faith of our forefathers for hundreds of years, when England was known as the ‘Dowry of Mary’.
"Holy Mary, Mother of Christ, we humbly ask your intercession for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, for our Church and for our Country"
Thoughts from St Alphonsus' by Rev C McNeiry CSSR.
"At death we must leave all things. The brother of Thomas a Kempis took delight in speaking of a beautiful house which he had built for himself. A friend told him it had one great defect. "What is it?" said he. "It is," answered the other, "that you have made a door in it." "What!" rejoined the brother of a Kempis, "Is a door a defect?" "Yes" answered the friend; "for through this door you must one day be carried out dead, and must leave the house and all things." (February 19th)