More than 500 friends, family and those touched by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests founder Barbara Blaine attended her memorial in Chicago Saturday.

Blaine died suddenly in September after suffering a torn blood vessel in her heart. She was 61 years old.

Held at DePaul University, Saturday’s tribute brought together survivors of priest abuse from across the world who called her “a giant in changing the world.”

Blaine started SNAP in the late 1980s while grappling with and speaking about her own trauma. She was abused as an 8th grader by a priest who taught at the Catholic school she attended in Ohio, according to SNAP’s website.

In one of her first jobs after college, Blaine helped run a Catholic women’s shelter on Chicago’s South Side. She devoted her life to caring for those who were often neglected – from the Cook County Public Guardian’s office to her groundbreaking work forcing Roman Catholic Church leaders to remove abusive priests from ministry.

According to the organization’s website, SNAP is the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization for victims of clergy sexual abuse with more than 20,000 members in cities across the U.S. and world.

Blaine’s work took her to the Vatican, Chile, Africa, Poland, even the international court at The Hague, but Chicago was her base, where she and her husband Howard Rubin were devoted to their family.

Published 23 minutes ago

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