By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, September 17, 2010 ( – The pro-life movement lost a fearless defender of human life this week as revered Canadian Catholic writer Anne Roche Muggeridge passed away in her 75th year on Tuesday after a decade struggle with an advanced Alzheimer’s-like illness.

Wife of the late John Muggeridge and daughter-in-law of famed journalist and author Malcolm Muggeridge, she is remembered by countless admirers as a fierce and unyielding proponent of the pro-life cause and Catholic orthodoxy.

Muggeridge wrote numerous articles, but is most known for her two books, The Gates of Hell (1975) and The Desolate City (1986, revised 1990).

“She was a wonderful mother to us and she was a valiant defender of the Catholic faith,” said her son, John Muggeridge, Jr.  “She brought a lot of people to the Catholic Church and she inspired a lot in their faith.”

He noted that she was a strong defender of the pro-life cause, and said he believes she contributed to the renewal now occurring within the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI.

In her classic book, The Desolate City, she analyzed and documented the revolution that racked the Catholic Church in the latter half of the 20th century.  She illustrated how that revolution resulted in rampant liturgical abuse and widespread dissension against Catholic teaching, culminating in open opposition to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Family and friends remark that, though mostly hidden, Anne’s efforts had a vast influence on the Catholic Church in Canada and beyond.  While many Catholics nowadays have little sense of her importance, her witness and writing influenced countless numbers of people in life-changing ways.

Muggeridge’s obituary explains that she “tirelessly defended the Catholic faith in the public square and helped to bring many people into the Church.”  Perhaps the most famous conversion by her influence was that of her late father-in-law, Malcolm Muggeridge.

Anne and her husband, John, were leaders in the effort to bring back the traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Extraordinary Form or the “Tridentine rite.”  The obituary notes that the two founded the Latin Mass community in St. Catharines.

Revered pro-life leader Msgr. Vincent Foy praised Muggeridge’s work for its account of the development of the Canadian bishops’ Winnipeg statement, through which they formally dissented from Humanae Vitae.  Muggeridge was “a great person and a great defender of the faith,” said Msgr. Foy.  “She wrote a very fine analysis of the Winnipeg Statement, showing how wrong it was and contrary to Humanae Vitae.”

Edward Roche, Anne’s brother, and the editor of Canada’s Challenge magazine, said his sister was very gifted with language.  “A writer has to be very careful about reading her stuff, because it sticks to your fingers,” he noted.  “Then when you write, you pick up her tone.”

“Her Catholicism was almost genetic,” he said, noting that as a result she was often criticized after interviews on CBC or elsewhere for being too “certain.”

“They considered that to be a criticism, but it was true.  She was very certain,” he explained.  “It was like a genetic thing.  You didn’t have to argue about the law of gravity, and neither did you have to argue about the reality of the Christian project.”

Anne was born in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, and joined the Presentation Sisters at St. John’s at the age of 15.  She left at the age of 18 and began teaching, and then attended Memorial University.

Her husband, John Muggeridge, whom she married in 1960, passed away in 2005.  Mr. Muggeridge, known as a strong and active pro-life advocate, served on the board of advisors for LifeSiteNews and was an occasional contributor.

Anne is survived by five children – John, Charles, Peter, Matthew, and Rosalind – her brother Edward, and 21 grandchildren.

Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Toronto (263 Roncesvalles Avenue) at 11:00 a.m.

See related coverage:

Farewell John Muggeridge – Dear Friend to Many, Constant Defender of Life, Faith, Truth