Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At 83, This Catholic Nun Activist Continues Her Unwavering Campaign For Peace

As the nuclear arms race exploded in the 1980s, a group of U.S. religious pacifists used radical nonviolence to intervene. Armed with hammers, they broke into military facilities to pound on missiles and pour blood on bombers. Calling themselves the Plowshares movement, these controversial activists received long prison sentences; nonetheless, their movement grew and expanded to Europe and Australia.

There have been about 100 Plowshares Nuclear Resistance Actions worldwide since 1980. Plowshares actions are taken from Isaiah 2:4 in Old Testament (Hebrew) scripture of the Christian Bible, “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many people. And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. And nations will not take up swords against nations, nor will they train for war anymore."

Sr. Anne Montgomery, perhaps the most famous member of Plowshares, joined the movement at its inception and has been very active in the Nuclear Resistance Campaign from then on.  As a veteran peace activist, Sr. Anne is no stranger to the experience of being arrested as a result of her actvism. Only in November of last year,  Sr Anne, now 83, together with Fr Bill Bischel, SJ, 81, from Tacoma, Washington; Sr Susan Crane, 65, of Baltimore, Maryland; Sr Lynne Greenwald, 60, of Bremerton Washington, and Fr Steve Kelly, SJ, 60, of Oakland, California were arrested at Kitsap- Bangor Naval Base near Seattle.

They entered the Base in the early hours of All Souls Day, with the intention of calling attention to the illegality and immorality of the existence of the Trident weapons system.

Sr. Anne is also actively involved with the Christian Peacemaker Teams. CPT, is an ecumenical organization which was organized in response to  a call in 1984 for Christians to devote the same discipline and self-sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war. CPT places violence-reduction teams in crisis situations and militarized areas around the world at the invitation of local peace and human rights workers. Sr. Anne worked for years in Palestine and in Iraq as part of CPT.

Sr. Anne would not see the end of the nuclear arms race in her lifetime that is for sure. We can only hope that there would be more "Sr. Annes" who would come along and carry on with the struggle for peace, not anymore for our sake but for the sake of our children.


susan said...

Thank you for writing this lovely reflection, thank you, Sr. Anne, for your tireless work!

113tidbits said...

There is no peace without wielding strength.

The Real American said...

Hopefully, while she's banging on those missiles, she doesn't hit the detonator. Other than that, okay....

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