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Indi Gregory remembered as ‘true warrior’ at funeral

Indi Gregory. / Credit: Christian Concern

CNA Staff, Dec 1, 2023 / 11:55 am (CNA).

The funeral for Indi Gregory, the 8-month-old baby who lost her life last month after an end-of-life legal battle, was held at Nottingham Cathedral in England on Friday, Dec. 1, at 10:15 a.m. local time.

More than 100 people attended the service led by Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham. Ahead of the service, Indi’s white coffin, adorned with white and pink flowers, was carried through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. Behind the carriage, a procession of eight Rolls-Royce cars transported her family to the funeral. Indi’s parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth, placed her favorite musical lamb toy inside her coffin with her body.

Canon Paul Newman read a tribute on behalf of Dean Gregory in which he called his daughter a “true warrior.”

“I honestly and truly feel, deep in my heart, that Indi was not only beautiful, strong, and unique. I just knew, from the start, she was very special,” he said. “Nonetheless, I could never have imagined the sort of journey we and Indi would have to go through to fight for her life.”

“She didn’t only have to battle against her health problems, she had to battle against a system that makes it almost impossible to win. Yet, it was her weakest point, her health problems, that distinguished Indi as a true warrior.”

Gregory pointed out that Indi had much to overcome, including “seizures, two operations, sepsis, e-coli, including other infections, that even another child would struggle to beat.”

“But Indi’s determination to fight for a chance of life really inspired me,” he added.

“The strength she had for an 8-month-old child was incredible. And this is one of the reasons I would have done anything for Indi to have the chance to live, which was denied her.”

Gregory and Staniforth promised to make sure Indi’s life is “remembered forever.”

“I have now reached the conclusion that this was indeed Indi’s destiny … but now this chapter of Indi’s destiny is over,” the tribute read. “Her legacy, however, has only just begun. I wanted to make sure Indi would be remembered forever and she will live on in our hearts and through our voices.”

An Italian delegation made up of the Italian government’s minister for families, Eugenia Roccella, and minister for disabilities, Alessandra Locatelli; former Italian senator and lawyer Simone Pillon; and Jacopo Coghe, vice president of Pro Vita e Famiglia, was also in attendance.

The Italian government offered to pay for the funeral after trying to have Indi cared for at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital.

During the service, a book featuring thousands of tributes from Italy was given to Indi’s parents.

“We wish to express the Church’s care and closeness to her grieving family at this difficult time,” read a statement from the bishop of Nottingham and the cathedral dean, Canon Malachy Brett. “As a Church we will continue to contribute to wider discussions on questions of when treatment becomes disproportionate to any possible benefit, the duty of the continuation of basic care, and the rights of parents,” they added.

“Over the coming week, and especially on Friday, we hope you will understand that our sole concern will be supporting Indi’s family as they prepare to lay her to rest. May baby Indi rest in peace, and may all who loved her find consolation in the days ahead,” the statement concluded.

In a papal telegram, Pope Francis expressed his “condolences” and “spiritual closeness” to Indi’s parents as they mourn the loss of their child.

The message, signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, read: “Entrusting Indi into the tender and loving hands of our Heavenly Father, His Holiness joins those gathered for her funeral in thanking Almighty God for the gift of her all-too-short life.”

“He likewise prays that the Lord Jesus, who said to his disciples, ‘Let the little children come to me… for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’ (Mt 19:14), will grant abiding comfort, strength, and peace to you all,” the letter concluded.

Indi, born in February and baptized in September, suffered from a rare degenerative mitochondrial disease. She had been receiving life-sustaining treatment on a ventilator at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, England.

England’s high court ruled that it was in the child’s “best interests” to be taken off life support against her parents’ wishes. Indi’s parents repeatedly appealed in U.K. courts to be able to take their baby to Rome for treatment but lost their legal battle, with the second-highest court in the U.K. ruling on Nov. 10 that her life support be removed “immediately.”

Indi died in her mother’s arms in hospice on Nov. 13. 

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