Sally Axworthy

Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

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20th March 2017 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

Helping the Homeless at the Vatican

Last week I, Dame Louise Casey and Neil O’Connor of the UK Department for Communities and Local Government had the honour of visiting the Vatican Almonry  to find out about how the Vatican helps the homeless. Dame Louise is something of a legend for her efforts to tackle homelessness, help troubled families and promote integration […]

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13th March 2017 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

The Commonwealth and the Holy See

The Commonwealth and the Holy See represent the two largest soft power networks in the world.  The Holy See has over 1.2 billion faithful globally, and a network of Bishops, NGOs and religious congregations which reach deep into the societies of the countries where they live.  The Commonwealth is made up of 52 countries with […]

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6th March 2017 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

International Women’s Day: Sisters are Doing it for Themselves

We usually think of the Catholic Church as a male-dominated organisation because priests staff the hierarchy. But, as I have been discovering in my first six months in Rome, women play an important role in the Church. Indeed there are nearly twice as many religious sisters (800,000) as there are Catholic priests (around 400,000) – […]

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1st March 2017 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy to the Holy See

St David and the Church in Wales

Today is St. David’s Day, a special day for the United Kingdom, and for Wales in particular. St David is the best known of the Welsh saints. It is often said that Pope Gregory the Great sent St Augustine in 595 to bring Christianity to Britain.  But that is not correct.  After the Romans left […]

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15th February 2017 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

Tackling Modern Slavery together

Last week Offer Stern-Weiner, Head of the Modern Slavery Unit at the Home Office,  and I journeyed out of Rome to visit a small and tranquil convent in a historic town set in the beautiful Italian countryside. The reason we were there? To meet five young Nigerian women who had been trafficked from Nigeria to […]

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1st February 2017 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission

Ecumenism in Music

Last week saw the visit of the choir of Westminster Abbey, for a joint concert with the Sistine Chapel Choir.  This was a wonderful concert, with the two choirs combining to fill the Basilica of St John Lateran with music from both the Catholic and Anglican traditions:  pieces by Giovanni Palestrina showcased the  Catholic style, […]

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25th January 2017 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

BRITAIN AND THE HOLY SEE: THE YEAR AHEAD

January is traditionally a time for New Year’s resolutions and for planning ahead, so it seems a good moment to look at what the year may have in store for the UK and the Holy See.  My starting point is Pope Francis’s address to the diplomatic corps, in which he set out how he sees […]

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28th December 2016 Holy See

Stephen Townsend

Deputy Head of Mission

The Nativity Scene in St Peter’s Square

At Christmas, Nativity scenes make their appearance in churches and homes across the world. In Italy there is a particularly strong tradition of presepio – some churches in Rome have exhibitions of historical and modern designs, and there are some streets on Naples which are full at this time of the year with thousands of […]

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22nd December 2016 Holy See

Sally Axworthy

by Sally Axworthy

Ambassador to the Holy See

Pope Francis at 80: The Pope’s favourite words

Pope Francis turned 80 on 17 December. Messages poured in from around the world (70,000 emails) and the Pope celebrated with 8 homeless people. Much has been written about the Pope’s achievements. He is on a mission to change the Church, making it more global, ecumenical, open to dialogue with other faiths, focussed on the […]

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9th December 2016 Holy See

Simona Prete

Policy and Communications, British Embassy to the Holy See

Standing Up against Slavery

On 10 December, the UN will commemorate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The focus this year is “standing up for the rights of others”: a call to uphold human rights in our global community, where each of us can make a difference. The Foreign Office in London and all British Embassies […]

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About Sally Axworthy

Sally is currently British Ambassador to the Holy See. She took up her position in Rome in September 2016, after 5 years at the Foreign Office as Head of Somalia…

Sally is currently British Ambassador to the Holy See. She took up her position in Rome in September 2016, after 5 years at the Foreign Office as Head of Somalia Unit (2011-2013), and then as Joint Head of North Africa Department (2013-2016). She spent most of that time on the UK initiative to help Somalia emerge from civil war; and to establish a Government of National Unity in Libya.

Sally joined the FCO in 1986. Her career has taken her to Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and India. From 2001-2006 she worked at a government regional office in south west England on providing services to vulnerable adults.

Sally is married to Michael, an academic specialising in Iran, and they have four children. When in the UK, they live in Cornwall where Sally enjoys walking and running (very slowly) in the rain and the fog.

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