Kip Tiernan, Boston’s much-loved and gritty advocate for social justice, who once described herself as "an angry daughter of Christ," died of cancer in her apartment on Saturday. She was 85 years old.
The founder of the nation’s first shelter for homeless women, Tiernan went on to create a myriad of agencies to assist the disadvantaged in Massachusetts. Daniel Berrigan and Dorothy Day were among her inspirations. After hearing Berrigan speak at a church in 1968, Tiernan said she felt as if a voice inside her head was saying, "‘I have just passed through a door and there is no going back.’”
Her words on how we treat the poor, spoken two decades ago, are still terribly relevant today:
“We should atone for what we have allowed to happen to all poor people in this state, in the name of fiscal authority or plain mean-spiritedness. . .We have as citizens too much to repent for, for what we have and have not done, to ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters who have no lobby to protect them.”
You can read her Boston Globe obituary here.