Throughout her life, Mildred Osterhout Fahrni walked with J.S. Woodsworth, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. She heard Ghandi tell the British of his dream of a free India in 1931. When the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was born in Regina in 1933, Fahrni was there. As a reporter she covered the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945. She walked and sang in Montgomery, Alabama, during the famous bus boycott of 1956. She was in Saigon in the 1960s; in Chile in the 1970s; and protested at the nuclear submarine base in Bangor, Washington and the Nanoose Bay weapons testing site in the 1980s.
She was a crusading socialist and an absolute pacifist. But this story of a most extraordinary life of one of Canada’s pioneer peacemakers does not merely seek to sanctify her. Fahrni’s foibles and frailties are as much part of this story as her deep spirituality, selflessness and unquenchable dedication to social causes spanning six decades. Never one to hesitate in her fight for just causes simply because they were unpopular, “Mildred,” as a close friend eulogized, “was no plaster saint.”