Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 20 January |
Saint of the Day: St. Sebastian
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

How one woman forgave the serial killers who murdered her sister

MARIAN PARTINGTON

StPaulsLondon | YouTube | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 02/28/19

Losing her sister in horrific circumstances led Marian Partington to embark on an incredible journey of forgiveness.

Between 1967 and 1987, Fred West murdered at least 12 young women — including family members — with his second wife Rose by his side for the majority of the crimes. The murders were brutal, and to cover up their crimes, the Wests buried the victims in or around their family home in Gloucestershire, England, which later became known as the “House of Horrors.”

Among the victims was Lucy Partington, an English Literature student who had gone missing on December 27, 1973. For 20 years, the family had had no idea what had happened to 21-year-old Lucy. But recently Lucy’s sister, Marian, shared with the BBC how she was able to forgive the serial killers whose horrific crimes shook the whole of Britain.

In a revealing video, Marian shared how she’d run the gamut of emotions over her sister’s death, including a “murderous rage” that showed her that even she herself could be capable of killing. However, in 2004 she had the opportunity of joining the Forgiveness Project, whose participants share “stories of forgiveness in order to build hope, empathy and understanding.

Through the project, Marian was able to develop empathy for Rosemary West, who’d had a horrific childhood herself, growing up in an abusive and loveless family. This empathy, and seeing Rose as a human being, allowed Marian to make a vow “to try and forgive the Wests.” As Marian shared with the Forgiveness Project: “Her story seems to be about the impoverishment of a soul that knew no other way to live than through terrible cruelty. A life deprived of truth, beauty or love … Will she ever know the sacredness of life?”

Yet, through this forgiveness Marian is quick to point out that while she forgives the Wests as human beings, she doesn’t forgive what they did. As she explains, while leaning on Scripture, the ability to forgive allowed her to confront the pain and not live with unhealthy thoughts for the rest of her life. “Lucy’s life was sacred and I needed to reclaim her as a person, as my sister, from what happened,” she shared.

If you’d like to listen to Marian’s inspirational speech on forgiveness at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, take a look at the video below.


Mengele Twins

Read more:
3 Incredible acts of forgiveness from a survivor of Mengele’s twin experiments

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on YouTube for kids with...
2
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
Reasons Catholics should read the Bible
4
SAINT RITA CASCIA
Bret Thoman, OFS
Traces of miracles remain at the birthplace of St. Rita of Cascia
5
MARTIN LUTHER KING
Jorge Graña
Did you know Martin Luther King appreciated the Rosary?
6
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's formula for defeating evil in the world
7
couple
Anna Gębalska-Berekets
Couple praises Padre Pio's recipe for a happy marriage
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.