Some have decried the idea of Jade as a Saint yet she has become an inspirational figure for so many.
She overcame the immense difficulties of her childhood. She displayed a raw genius, surprising us with her disarming personal honesty, broad grin and mischievous humour. Her vivacity, zest for life and originality have entertained and energised millions. In difficulty, when accused of racism she gave the most heartfelt apology ever seen in modern public life and set about making reparation.
Jade stands out as an iconic figure in our cynical age of how, irrespective of the circumstances, one can avoid replicating the worst and instead aspire to and achieve the best.
She demonstrated a holiness that was real and accessible and that has touched so many lives for good. Now tens of thousands of women across this country will have smear tests and thousands, with early treatment, will eradicate their cancer; hundreds of destitute and orphaned 'railway children' in India have received her charitable help; she lit a torch, visible across the world, of hope, resilience and faith, even amidst the gathering darkness of her imminent death; she did her utmost to provide for her children's well being in the future, providing them with opportunities she never had; she laughed in the face of death and gave all those who are battling cancer an example of how best to make the most of their final days; she broke the final taboo and prompted us all to think and speak about dying and death; she confessed her faith and was confident of heaven and promised to stay close to her loved ones beyond the grave.
Some have carped that Jade wasn't perfect. No one is. St Peregrine, the Patron Saint of those with Cancer wasn't perfect. He was born in Italy around 1265, a hot headed political activist, who resorted to violence but then made good and became a faithful though eccentric Christian. Those who have prayed for his help have been hepled.
I think that Jade's grave also will become a shrine and that many with Cancer and other troubles will pray to her, as well as to St Peregrine, for help and be comforted.
May God bless Jade as she has blessed us.