|Harvest Time 1988||"Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, hatred with love"||Number 5|
Table of Contents: Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim
Letter From China
Overcoming Evil With Good
Ocean Tree Books
Pilgrim for Peace T-Shirt
Waging a Non-Violent War
The Holiday Season is Coming
A Childhood Experience
Peace Pilgrim Talk Show Interview
Baker Peace Studies Program
Center For Innovative Diplomacy
Friends of Peace Pilgrim Home || Newsletter Index
(Back to TOC) Back to Table of Contents
|Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim,
IN AUGUST WE VISITED Peace Pilgrims sister, Helene, in Cologne, New Jersey. Though we had known Peace Pilgrim for 24 years, we had not known she had a sister until August 1981, when we were visiting our daughter and family in New Hampshire. It was then that we heard of Peace Pilgrims transition, and couldnt believe it. We called Molly TenBroek in Pennsylvania, who had been sending out Peaces literature for the 28 years of her pilgrimage. She confirmed it was true, and asked us to take Peace Pilgrims name and address file cards and newsletters to Helene, which we were delight to do. (Later we sent announcements of the new Peace Pilgrim book to the 6,000 names on the Peace Pilgrim file cards.)
Helene invited me to stay and help answer the flood of mail, and we have been answering Peace Pilgrim mail ever since. Here are excerpts from my first letter to those of you who wrote immediately after Peace Pilgrims transition:
Greetings from Cologne! Thousands of us have written here, not knowing who was faithfully sending our mail on to our beloved wanderer. Helene is the mystery woman! She has been crossing off "Cologne" and writing "General Delivery" for small towns and great cities all over this land for the last 28 years! .
Helene and Eugene Young live in a comfortable, modest home, surrounded by lawn, trees and woods where Peace Pilgrim roamed. The little Cologne Post Office is down the road. It has been such a joy to share and laugh with them about our experiences with Peace Pilgrim.
I am typing next to their vegetable and flower garden, where Peace typed her letters when she was visiting. It is all a bit overwhelming so much mail, and everybody writing about their personal friend. One outstanding fact emerges: we each feel she is our special friend she somehow belongs to each of us .
John and I have talked to Peace Pilgrim about taking a year off to write a book. She wrote back last May (1981), two months before her transition. "Of course I have really written enough for a book its just not in book form." We know that no one can tell her story and give her peace message as well as she had already. That is the most important thing to get into a book as soon as possible. We feel her message is our best hope for peace in our war-torn world. We know other important Peace Pilgrim books will be written are being written, and we are thankful. A book of her own writings will be a valuable resource. Many of you have expressed a longing for such a book. Let us go about doing it. We are open to suggestions about compiling and distributing it. It is deeply moving to read in your letters your feelings about Peace Pilgrim.
At the end of the next to the last letter to us she wrote:
"I can say this to you. Live the present. Do the things you know need to be done. Do all the good you can each day. The future will unfold."
We know what needs to be done: a book of Peace Pilgrims life and message! We hope you will join us.
And the future has unfolded in the most remarkable way. The help from friends of Peace Pilgrim to compile and distribute her words has been and continues every day to be a revelation. The books are now in 95 countries, and over 120,000 are in print.
This August we visited our dear friend, Helene and Eugene, for the third time. Eugene spent many months putting together an album about his sister-in-law, before and during her pilgrimage. It is a fascinating and wonderful book. Helene just wrote, "Well be glad to welcome anyone who wants to see our book but suggest calling first to be sure were home: (609-965-2018)." They gave us a priceless collection of materials pictures, news articles, literature and more for the Peace Pilgrim Center.
The garden, the woods, the little Cologne Post Office on White Horse Pike past Egg Harbor where Peace Pilgrim was born all are there, as they were 35 years ago, when Peace Pilgrim began her pilgrimage. The Post Mistress still puts Peace Pilgrims mail in Helens box, though now it is only an occasional letter. Helene now crosses off "Cologne" and writes the address of the Peace Pilgrim Center in Hemet. The Cologne address has been helpful for people who know Peace Pilgrim but didnt know where to write for a book. We are deeply thankful for Helene and Eugenes constant support for Peace Pilgrims mission. Helene said a wonderful thing to me one day, "It just seems like Peace Pilgrim sent you."
"We are going to have to create a new language of prayer and this new language has to come out of something which transcends all our traditions, and comes out of the immediacy of love."
Jeff and Bill took care of the Peace Pilgrim Center this summer while we were visiting our daughter and family in New Hampshire. They answered your letters and filled your requests that came flooding in after our summer newsletter went out, for which we are forever thankful. Bill is going over the old newspaper articles we brought from Cologne, looking for good pictures of Peace Pilgrim. He then writes to the paper to find out if a copy is available. We thank those of you who sent in pictures after reading our last newsletter.
Several people have requested Bills special kit of suggestions for working with groups. The Network Kit will be sent to anyone who requests it. One wrote after receiving it:
"Bless you for that wonderful kit of materials you sent me! It is beautifully organized, so complete and helpful. I have studied the many materials and believe I can help in the following ways: I have already sent STEPS to individuals and groups on all the continents of the globe with whom I network, and have also sent Xeroxed copies of the newsletter to various of them. As they express interest I will tell them of other items available from you. I send STEPS to many groups in this country also. At the Whole Life Expo in Los Angeles I can distribute Peace Pilgrim Newsletters at the tables available for the placement of literature. I could also leave materials at our local library and health food store."
Another who had received the kit wrote, "I will be putting on two Peace Pilgrim Presentations."
Bill Hamilton will be traveling between Southern California and Vancouver, BC, Canada during the month of November. He will be visiting people interested in doing local work to share Peace Pilgrims message. He is available if you would like to have him give a video presentation to a group in your area, talk with him about Peace Pilgrim, or offer a place to stay. Write or call us, and we will let him know.
Twenty thousand copies of our new, low cost compact edition of PEACE PILGRIM arrived from the printer on October 4th (not to take the place of our standard edition). It is smaller, lighter, and perfect for peace walkers. Someone usually appears to help unload the truck and stack the boxes of books in our garage. This time four unexpected guests, including two recent peace walkers, showed up in time to help. It is the largest number of books weve ever ordered. See the enclosed offerings sheet for more information about it. We will be interested in your comments.
We are thankful to Bill Hamilton for the idea of a low cost edition, and for Richard Poleses collaboration with him in designing the book. Now your gifts will enable us to distribute more books for the same cost. One wrote, "What a sad state it would be if only those who could pay could share in her message!
Jeff and Bill are especially interested in upgrading and preserving Peace Pilgrim pictures, audio and videotapes for our archives. They are working on revising and upgrading the quality of the three audio and videotapes we now offer.
All of their work will help-has helped to make the Peace Pilgrim material more readable, seeable and hearable for all of us. We feel that you and future generations will be thankful for their concern and their work.
The annual convention of the National Flute Association was held this summer in the Convention Center in San Diego. We were invited by the program director to show our video to flutists who might be interested. We wondered why flutists would want to see a video of Peace Pilgrim at their convention, be we readily agreed, since we will go almost anywhere to tell about Peace Pilgrim.
We were taken to a room set aside for video shows and soon discovered everyone who came in wanted to see videos of great flutists. Only one wanted to see Peace Pilgrim. We though we would go home that evening, but the program director told us that we were on the program the next day, the first time I knew about this! We looked at the program book and discovered that at 8:30 Sunday morning we were scheduled to lead a half-hour meeting called "EXPERIENCING SILENCEThe Source, with Ann & John Rush!" We thought Flutists came to a flute convention to play and to hear other flutists, not to experience silence or hear about Peace Pilgrim.
On Sunday morning we crawled out of our camper parked near the Convention Center, and before a group of about 200 people in the ballroom of a large elegant hotel, we briefly spoke about silence; how Quakers sit quietly at meeting for worship until moved by the spirit to speak; and invited those present to do the same. Then 200 people were quiet, a peaceful silence settled upon us. Later we told how Peace Pilgrim walked in receptive silence amidst the beauties of nature, and wonderful insights would come to her, which she would then put into practice. A few others spoke briefly, and it was a beautiful, quiet occasion. We were thankful for their loving receptiveness.
The meeting created great interest in Peace Pilgrim and our video. People were eager to know more about her, and wanted her books. A Frenchman from Paris offered to translate the Peace Pilgrim book into French. Later his wife, whose family had Peace Pilgrim in their home in Salt Lake City when she was 12, also offered to translate the book, not knowing her husband had already offered. They seem like a perfect team-one whose native tongue is French, and the other English. Perhaps this is one reason we were invited to the flutist convention.
From a Catholic Sister, "If anything could inspire us to pray and work for peace this book will. Peace Pilgrim has opened a new understanding of complete trust in God for me."
From San Diego, "Our Peace Fellowship has decided to get a case of books for the holiday season. Its amazing how much the Peace Pilgrim literature inspires people. Its definitely changed our lives forever. Thanks so very much for all these wonderful seeds."
From Massachusetts, "The Peace Pilgrim book has really change my life and has helped me cope with tragedy in a constructive way. She was such a fantastic person, showing that a single woman can accomplish an unlimited amount"
We met Brother Gus at a New Melleray Trappist Abbey, in Peosta, Iowa, when we were there three years ago consulting with Brother Mark, the printer, about typesetting the present edition of STEPS. They have been keeping a stack of STEPS for visitors since then. Brother Mark recently wrote, "One nice thing is people come to visit us from most everywhere. This (STEPS) provides an introduction to a road to inner peace. It has been with them for years but they have never before discovered this. Only until it has been presented in a simple small booklet do they recognize this simple path to Peace."
Brother Gus wrote, "Im real happy about how Peace Pilgrim is marching all over the world. Still walking for peace! May the Lord bless you for being her feet (or wings)! .a little prayer you can say, O God, help me to believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is."
We reprint the following excerpts from the abbey newsletter:
In what seemed like an answer to decades of prayer by Christians throughout the world, long silent church bells pealed last June in the Soviet Union. The occasion was the celebration of the nations 1,000th year of Christianity.
In an unusual atmosphere of warmth and glasnost, created primarily by Soviet Mikhail Gorbachev, the Kremlin cooperated in a week-long series of meetings, rituals and ecumenical contacts.
Some 500 religious dignitaries from 100 nations were in attendance. They included: the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, U.S. evangelist Billy Graham, and nice cardinals and 27 bishops of the Catholic Church.
Millions of Soviet citizens watched in wonder each evening as events of the Christian millennium were featured on the 9 oclock newscasts and special TV features. At the 14th century monastery of Zagorsk, Orthodox bishops met for a rare council meeting
One of the major events of the anniversary celebrations was held at the famous Bolshoi Theater. It was an international ecumenical event, which featured an address by Cardinal Cassaroli, the Vatican Secretary of State and behind the scenes diplomat to the Communist world.
cautious optimism and hope in Gorbachevs policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) are not to be denied A great spiritual struggle and gamble is in progress and the stakes are high future world peace
On TV we heard a Russian diplomat speaking to an American" "We will deprive you of an enemy."
"One in harmony with Gods law of love has more strength than an army, for one need not subdue an adversary; an adversary can be transformed."
A STEP TOWARD INNER PEACE has now been translated into Russian by a Russian-American professor and proofread by another Russian professor more recently from Russia.
Ninel, the Russian English teacher in Leningrad, has been reading and sharing Peace Pilgrim books and listening to her tapes. Nine wrote in answer to our inquiry about possible help in translating the Peace Pilgrim book, "My colleagues and I will do it willingly." She continued, "I distributed the books among those who are able to read in English. Some are greatly impressed by the ideas of Peace Pilgrim, some think that her ideas are far from their earthly cares and are too religious. I see my aim in acquainting as many people as possible with the beautiful ideas of Peace in reading her book and listening her speech."
How thankful we are for all the volunteers who are helping with the Russian translation. After the STEPS booklet, a Russian Peace Pilgrim book is one of our next projects.
Lee warmly thanked us for the 20 more books we sent and would like more books as well as videos, for his English classes and friends. He mentions the 6,000 kilometer trip through China his family took, "Blessed every step of the way met fantastic people and were taken care of on so many occasions." When he has more time, "I do want to share more of our journey and observations and I plan on doing so, in the letters Ill be sending
"We encourage people to write to us I have an idea for Peace Pilgrim Pen Pals. Wouldnt an exchange between people here and stateside by great. Let me know if anyone would like to correspond.
"As for translating the book into Chinese. One colleague was afraid it would be hard to do as he thought the material was too religious. I asked if we could do it anyway. Yes! he said, of course. So, nothing is hard or impossible, once our minds are set and our wills humbly, honorably and hopefully work together. We should have some translating done this month! I am hopeful that people here will contact you all directly."
From New Hampshire, "I dont think Ive ever been as deeply touched as when I read Peace Pilgrims book and STEPS! Knowing how deeply she lived peace has touched me profoundly When I read Peace Pilgrims book, I think what has touched me the most is that she apparently lived according to her highest understanding 100% of the time. This is truly my desire too.
"After reading Peace Pilgrim it appears that the desire for liquor has left me. I cant say that I GAVE it up. It seems to have GIVEN me up. At any rate though, I definitely attribute it to my having been touched SO profoundly by Peace Pilgrims life and Im grateful beyond words. Also I now spend more quiet receptive times in order to hear more closely what Gods will is for me, and I think Im more nearly living what I believe."
The following story was adapted from VICTORIES WITHOUT VIOLENCE, one of Richard Poleses publications in cooperation with Liberty Literary Works, 1001 Atlantic Shores Blvd., #113, Hallandale, Florida 33009:
When racial segregation was the law in parts of our country, Bayard Rustin, a young Black man, was traveling through Tennessee by bus on a speaking tour for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (F.O.R.). Because he sat in the front of the bus reserved for whites only, the driver phoned ahead to the p9olice Four policemen intercepted the bus and demanded in an insulting manner that he move to the back of the bus. He politely refused. Infuriated, the policemen threw him to the floor and began to pummel him as they dragged him off the bus.
Bayard tells the story, "I jumped to my feet, held my arms parallel to the ground and said, There is no need to beat me. I am not resisting you. Three Southern white men came out of the bus and said, Why do that to him? He has done nothing. Why not treat him like a human being? He is not resisting you. One little fellow grabbed the policemans club as he was about to strike me, saying, Dont you do that! Then the policeman was about to strike him when I said, Please dont do that, there is no need to fight
"The tree white friend collected my luggage, which the bus driver had thrown out of the bus One elderly man asked the police where they were taking me. They said, Nashville. He promised he would be there to see that I got justice.
"During the thirteen mile hectic trip to town they called me every kind of name and said anything to incite me to violence. I sat still, looking them straight in the eye whenever they dared to face me. The fact that they could not look at me, gave me courage and hope, for I knew that they were aware of injustice
"When I reached Nashville they went through my luggage and were most interested in the Christian Century and the Fellowship magazines. The captain said, Come here, Nigger. I walked directly to him. What can I do for you? He said, Nigger, youre supposed to be scared when you come in here. I am fortified by truth, justice and Christ, I said, there is no need for me to fear. He was flabbergasted. For a time he said nothing, then in his frustration he said to another office, I believe the niggers crazy.
"At the courthouse I was taken to the office of the Assistant District Attorney where I heard someone say, Say, you colored fellow, hey! and there was the elderly white man who said he would see that I got justice. The District Attorney questioned me about my life, pacifism and the war. He asked the police to tell their side of the story. They told several lies. He asked me to tell my side. This I did, calling upon the policemen to substantiate me at each point. The District Attorney dismissed me. I waited an hour longer in a dark room all alone. Then he came in and said very kindly, You may go Mr. Rustin."
Later on he wrote, "In amazement I left the courthouse, being all the stronger a believer in the nonviolent approach, for I am certain that I was called Mr., that I was assisted by the elderly gentleman, and by the three men in the bus, because I had, without fear, faced four policemen, saying, "There is no need to beat me, I offer you no resistance."
Richard Polese, one of the five compilers of the Peace Pilgrim book, was the former editor of the New Mexico Museum Magazine. We were fortunate to have one among us who had publishing experience. He makes the book available through book stores and has a new catalog of books, entitles, PEACE IN THE WORLD PEACE WITHIN. Some of the books in his catalogue are:
Handbound "Keepsake Edition" of Peace Pilgrims STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE. The text is the same as the one we offer, but has a leatherette cover and more pictures, and is appropriate as a gift.
VICTORIES WITHOUT VIOLENCE which shows through short true incidents how the principles Peace Pilgrim talked about have been applied by people to real, life-threatening situations.
THE GREAT PEACE MARCH: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY. Peace Pilgrims considerable influence on several marchers is mentions. Richard writes that many were moved to join the march after reading her book; still others became familiar with her when reading one of many copies that circulated around camp.
For a free catalog write to Ocean Tree, address: OCEAN TREE, P.O.Box 1295, Santa Fe, N.M. 87504.
When Richard Polese wore a Pilgrim for Peace shirt on The Great Peace March, many recognized it as having something to do with Peace Pilgrim. He said, "It opened up conversations about Peace and her teachings in the kindest way."
The T-shirts are being made by Jackie Burch, a peace marcher, with the blessing of Friends of Peace Pilgrim. If you want a T-shirt please see our enclosed offering sheet for details.
Here are comments from people who are now wearing them:
Sun City, Arizona - "I will be wearing this special Peace Pilgrim T-shirt for the first time on September 24th. That day I will be hiking the Grand Canyon, from the north rim to the south rim. I will carry a few copies of STEPS in my picket. A good challenge and a beautiful adventure."
29 Palms, CA - "Just read your newsletter and I devoured every word of it. I rushed off a letter to Jackie for a T-shirt for myself so I can wear it at Asilomar. We walk everywhere there and I plan also to take some STEPS with me to give to any interested person."
Richmond, VA "What a joy! Last week I was wearing my Peace Pilgrim T-shirt and a woman in the public library took note. I had the opportunity to share the Peace Pilgrim story with her. I had a copy of STEPS and mailed it to her. It was lovely to make the connection. My husband and I plan to travel to New Zealand this Christmas time we thought it would be nice to provide STEPS to people we met and stayed with "
A college students senior thesis
A college student, Laura Ballinger, was given a Peace Pilgrim book by her mother and wrote, "It touched me in a very personal way as well as giving me great material for my thesis."
She wrote her thesis about activists who have spent some time in captivity as a result of their non-violent action. They include the Apostle Paul, Henry David Thoreau, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Peace Pilgrim, Martin Luther King Jr. and Adam Michnik. The following are excerpts:
Peace Pilgrim probably maintained the purest and strongest commitment to non-violence of all the activists included in this paper. Not only did she continuously refrain from using violence as a means, but she also considered peace to be her primary goal. While Paul non-violently worked to spread Christianity; and Thoreau non-violently acted to end slavery and the Mexican war; and King non-violently moved to reverse the effects of prejudice and discrimination; Peace Pilgrim non-violently walked, and worked, and lived for non-violence.
Peace Pilgrim reiterated Bonhoeffers belief that violence "trampled out the inward glow." When the FBI agent asked her about the logic behind her resolve to die rather than to kill, she answered, "If I am killed, it destroys merely the clay garment, the body. But if I kill, it injures the reality, the soul. "Peace Pilgrim did not leave any room for exceptions to the spiritual law of non-violence. Whereas Bonhoeffer suggested that violence is always evil, but still occasionally necessary, Peace Pilgrim maintained that violence can never save the reality of the soul, and therefore it is never useful Peace Pilgrim went on to propose that the "power of Gods love disarms."
Peace Pilgrims ultimate objective was to aid the individual in a "transformation." Likewise, King proposed that non-violent action freed the oppressor as well as the oppressed. King described the transformation as a process whereby the oppressors recognize their sins and become ashamed of them.
Peace Pilgrim, Gandhi and Thoreau suggested that truth transcended most religions. Peace Pilgrim stated that religions are the means which "all lead to the same mountain top." She gave authority to religious leaders, but then implied that inner searching leads to what is most important that is Gods guidance. She stated that some people "replace the spirit of the law with the letter of the law and truth becomes distorted into falsehood."
Thoreau believed that each individual must search for the highest source rather than following the revelation of others. Gandhi, King, Peace Pilgrim and Thoreau worked against "blind faith." They avoided suggesting that someone unquestionably follow the teaching of another
They recognized "wholeness," or "unity" among all people as an essential principle of a non-violent philosophy. For example, Peace Pilgrim claimed that "We are all cells in the body of humanity all of us, all over the world." And Bonhoeffer wrote that Christianity provided a life, in which one rejoiced with all who rejoiced, and wept with all those who wept Each of the peace activists needed to experience an internal process in order to find the unifying principle. Some called this principle truth, some called it love, some called it God, and some called it wholeness.
"Wholeness" did not necessarily dictate the need for political or religious conformity to the peace activists. This would hardly be consistent with Gandhis "home rule" doctrine, or Peace Pilgrims tolerance for such a wide range of religious leaders. Instead the "wholeness" referred to a common human bond which supersedes all religious and political systems, yet doesnt necessarily change them.
In August we began receiving requests for Peace Pilgrim materials for Christmas. We encourage you to send your requests as soon as possible, so you will have them in time.
We have just ordered another 80,000 STEPS and will have plenty for those who want to send them with Christmas cards, or instead of cards. They may be mailed with a letter in a small envelope for a single stamp.
Here are a few excerpts from Christmases past.
From Pennsylvania, "Hoping to light the embers of hope in others, I am sending for 100 copies of STEPS. That beautiful discourse will be my Christmas mailing this year."
From California, "You know as well as I do that this Christmas will be filled with thoughts of peace the world over and that many will remember Peace Pilgrim as the harbinger of the peace message for this age. Your dutiful devotion is a radiant gift to mankind and Mother Earth Herself "
From New York, "Its a great work you are doing these times of incredible tribulation. Im amazed when I wake up and there is still a world here. Violence is a 24 hour a day business on TV, advertisers are making millions from it daily. In the interest of peace and doing my part I would like to order as many copies of PEACE PILGRIM as $30 will buy The books will be used for Christmas presents "
From New Hampshire, "I received STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE as a Christmas card yesterday and am very moved by it. Peace Pilgrim says what I know, but have not done. She sums it all up in a very simple way indeed. She could be my own Higher Self.
From California, "I am inspired to send the beautiful pamphlet STEPS to all my friends at Christmas time It is priceless the message and ever so timely."
From North Caroline, "STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE is one of the most meaningful gifts Ive ever received."
From Illinois, "I would very much like to include STEPS with at least some of my Christmas cards this year. I send cards to Europe and need to start writing them soon!"
From Massachusetts, "I cant think of a better gift at the Holiday Season than the words and acts of Peace Pilgrim. A remarkable woman."
The great classical guitarist Pablo Casals wrote:
"Each second we live is a new and unique moment that never was before and never will be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that 2 plus 2 make 4, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been a child like you. And look at your body what a wonder it is! Your legs and arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work we must work to make this world worthy of its children."
Peace Pilgrim: "Most important of all, remember that children learn through example. No matter what you say, its what you do that will have an influence on them.
Quotes From Letters:
"My grandson read the Peace Pilgrim book and praised it highly to me."
"She was a remarkable influence on the inner life of our 4 children when they were small, and a persuasive example as they approached their development as teenagers."
"I want my children to have these books to read to their children."
"She stayed in our home on several occasions and we always counted it a rare privilege to have her. She greatly influenced our lives and the lives of our children."
"A profound impression on a childhood memory."
"Peace Pilgrim shared a meal with my family when I was a child in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Her image has been since that day, a profound image in my life."
Peace Pilgrim was very musical. She made up peace words to old familiar tunes to sing as she walked. We will send a sheet of her songs to anyone who is interested. Here is one she taught us when we first met her in the backwoods of British Columbia, in 1957.
(to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic")
My eyes have seen the glory
By Peace Pilgrim
When I was a small child, there was a girl who was called a bully, because she hit girls who were smaller and younger than she was. And I qualified. Thats why people couldnt understand how I got along with her. She lived out my way, and I used to walk home with her. One day I was alone with her, and I could tell she wasnt in a very good mood. To my amazement, she hit me! I looked at her in great surprise, and said to her, "Why did you do that?" She looked at me for a long time, and began to cry. She said, "I dont know; I really like you."
She wasnt hitting out against little girls at all; she was hitting out against an almost intolerable home situation. When I befriended her, we were able to do something to better her home situation, and she stopped hitting little girls.
Well, what did I learn from this? If somebody does an irrational thing, what is the proper response? Do you do an irrational thing in return, or do you ask why? I have always asked why.
The interviewer wrote to us, "My first encounter with Peace Pilgrim stands out and the following is the way I remember it:
The Viet Nam war was raging. I had just begun doing a TV talk show for WSM in Nashville. Being fresh and without much maturity...and eager to make an impression, I relished the thought of this "kook" being on .I personally booked her, after reading her letter to me that she was headed (walking) in this direction. When she entered the TV studio, I laughed along with the audience, the band and the crew. Who is this grandma hippie?
I presented her with all the brashness and ill taste that I could muster. In those days, making fun of "peace people," especially in the good-ol-boy region of the country, got reaction. The first few minutes of the interview she bantered with me sparred, perhaps is the right term. She was neither defensive nor aggressive. But, oh those eyes and those hands reaching, groping at some invisible point I n the air to make her point and those sparkling blue eyes. After perhaps two, maybe three minutes, I was in the palm of her hand. I felt embarrassed shameful. She seemed to sense it, and I felt as if she had seen through the game all along and knew the moment of realization lay with the interview.
When the eight minutes were over there were only a few snickers from the audience none from the band. The radio show that followed, one-hour, was straight ahead, no bad jokes. I grew up a lot that day There were other interviews with her in the years to follow but none as memorable as the first.
A Doctor in South Africa " In our country we need peace and STEPS seems to offer some good advice I wish to study it in more detail."
A Durban Municipal Library, South Africa Thank you for submitting the PEACE PILGRIM book to us on approval. We feel, however that it is not suitable for our collection, and return it herewith.
We have heard from people in twelve countries in Africa 260 letters requesting books and tapes and sending heartfelt thanks. Because of your love gifts we have been able to send the people in Africa hundreds of books, STEPS and many audios. They are not able to send money out of their countries, except for South Africa. Several people have written that they are translating STEPS into local languages, and hope to get hem printed and distributed locally. There are Peace Pilgrim Clubs in several African countries.
Nigeria "We are three friends here meeting on the second Sunday of each month to study the Peace Pilgrim books and pray for peace. We hope and pray that more people will join us to form a prayer group for peace and to spread the message of Peace Pilgrim."
Cameroon "During my staying in hospital, because of fire disaster, one friend sent me PEACE PILGRIM. After reading this important book, I was full with great joy and peace in my mind as if we did not lost our belongings during the incident I am really inspired by her message and want it to reach the unreachable corners of Cameroon."
Zimbabwe "I will be very much on the venture to sue the whole material which you will send me to educate the young people like myself in our country to understand what is real the mission to have peace in this world There is violence across the border just some few kilometers from here. If only people there will be able to be educated that peace is the only solution to worlds problems for five years we have tried to see what should be done to see peace prevail in the whole region of Southern Africa."
Nigeria "I have come across the book Peace Pilgrim and I must say, you did a wonderful job putting it together. The inspiration I received from the work of Peace Pilgrim, her perseverance, honesty of purpose, dedication and positiveness need not be over-emphasized.
"I therefore write to ask for a personal copy and to know the possibility of having copies for my friends and relations. It is a treasure worth having. At first I search for the book in the market but I was told I cant get it except to write. Please keep on the candle burning.
A Tanzanian studying in the Philippines found the Peace Pilgrim book in the library "After reading PEACE PILGRIM I am so inspired and I feel reading it again and again My heart is so touched with this book which is simple to understand and it can fit all kinds of people."
Botswana "I would like to have STEPS to meditate upon."
Peace Pilgrim Club in Ghana "We felt carried away to a distance land; those place where the Peace Pilgrim walked when we heard her voice on the tape With the help of an English language specialist tutor here, we have planned to translate the first part of STEPS into Asanti Twi language which his spoken by about 80% of Ghanians "
Nigeria "This is to express my thankfulness to you over your invaluable book, PEACE PILGRIM, which you sent me free, on request. In fact, the book is just all that any person can desire to acquire, and it is worth any price fixed on it. Thank you very dearly for making such a book available to seekers, free of charge."
People in prison often write to us for books. Others ask us to send a book to their friends or relatives in prison And many prisoners, who have been deeply affected by Peace Pilgrims words, ask for more books for their friends or relatives, inside and outside of prison. Here are excerpts from a few of their letters:
From a prisoner: "May peace always be with you. "I thank you so much for the beautiful book by Peace Pilgrim. There is so much wisdom and love in her words. I just want to shout for joy every time I pick it up. Truly a beautiful and amazing lady. I only pray that someday soon many more people will be thinking like her.
"Would you be so kind as to send my mother a copy of Peace Pilgrims life and works? I believe the sharing of Peaces words will have a great effect on my mothers mind, body and bring her closer to that inner peace we all are striving for."
A letter from a prisoner to a Catholic Sister correspondent: "May Peace be the walls that protect you from things that are not pure! "I got your card and STEPS booklet today I have never written to a person such as yourself. A Nun! I thought first how do you talk to a nun?
The booklet is a best seller here, I have shared it, and a number of people here would like one (6). Peace Pilgrim has awakened the living dead here. This evening I sit in the day room and read it to 22 men who cant read or write."
From a prisoner in Florida, after reading Peace Pilgrim, "Ive never been a very religious person, but now I know that Ive been brought closer to God.
From a prisoner in Michigan: "I found the pamphlet on the floor and I gave my dinner up for a stamp so I could write the above address.
From a prisoner at Attica, N.Y.: "I gave some of the booklets to some prison officers and they enjoy them. In the short time since receiving the material you sent, there has been transformations of human thought by prisoners who desperately desire to be at peace and freedom of their soul, but find it difficult to let go of the self and all of selfs attachments and desires of the flesh."
From one who heard about Peace Pilgrim from a prisoner: "There are many different ways Peace Pilgrims message has reached into the lives of others. One feels an almost divine urgency behind it. In my case it came to me through the kindness of a prisoner (on death row) I have been writing to for quite some time."
He sent the STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE booklet. Having been a serious student of these very subjects for many years, I recognize it was of great value to all of us It does seem that Peace Pilgrim and her message was a Cosmic happening that the world was ready for and needing."
BAKER PEACE STUDIES PROGRAM
John C. Baker, President Emeritus of the University of Ohio, and his wife, Elizabeth Baker, have requested many boxes of Peace Pilgrim books. They have established a Peace Studies endowment to study the questions of peace and war in the nuclear age. At the Fourth Annual Baker Peace Studies Conference, held at Ohio University, Ohio Governor Richard F. Celeste gave an address on "The Social and economic Costs of Defense."
The governor described the impact of our huge military budget on our economy. Some of our basic needs are not being met. Military spending costs the U.S. its competitive edge. The U.S. and the Soviet Union are among the lowest in productivity growth
Then the governor asks the question, "Is there anything that we can do individually to promote a more peaceful world, is there anything that state governments can do to contribute to a more peaceful world?" First he states that we have an obligation to speak out for justice and to act to oppose injustice, for where there is no justice, there can be no peace. The second task is to teach peace-making skills, and he continues:
"A portion of human life, at least for generations to come, is going to express feeling through violence and conflict. The question is how do we deal with it? We have learned a tremendous amount about violence in the family life just in the last few years Its a challenge to teachers to take corporal punishment out of the classroom. How are we going to teach young people to solve their problems without resorting to violence if it is acceptable for teachers to take a whack at a kid every so often? We need to develop the skills to deal with these situations in different ways."
The governor ends by quoting an article that appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "This is a story about a group of fifty 8th and 9th graders from nine Ohio school districts gathered for what was called a Global Issues Seminar. These bright young minds spent the entire day grappling with sophisticated issues such as the arms race, aid to Nicaragua, terrorism, the lure of cults, minority rights, apartheid and the environment. At the days end they produced position papers that proposed solutions to each to the worlds pressing problems.
"The conclusion to the story struck me particularly. I think we show kids that they can make a difference both now and in the future, said the principal of Harmon School in aurora. That difference might be on a small scale, like in their own family, or on a large scale, like changing the world. Before the students left the seminar they were asked to write what they wanted to do to help change the world. The answers were instructive. Among them: teach someone illiterate how to read; teach peace; be nice to other people; plant a tree; become a better person; and help house the homeless people of the world. We could do worse, columnist Brent Larkin said, than to follow the example of these children. And we have."
Keep your feet on the ground, and your thoughts at lofty heights, so that you will attract only good.
We have just received a letter from Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley telling about an important new "step toward a world safer for humanity". Over 1000 local elected officials and 4000 citizens are helping pioneer municipal foreign policy through the CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE DIPLOMACY. This group is devoted to getting citizens and municipal governments to work for a new foreign policy.
Here are excerpts from Mayor Bradleys letter:
Nuclear war is destroying your city and mine, right now. Not with a direct hit. But I see it in Los Angeles, and you too, can see it clearly in your home town. The nuclear arms race is bleeding our cities dry You see the homeless on your streets You ride on crumbling roads and bridges You watch jobs disappear and factories close.
here is an exciting breakthrough concept that can help reverse the damage called "municipal foreign policy" Here are some examples of what Americans have already accomplished.
"When citizens in 800 cities and towns passed "nuclear freeze" resolutions, the administration was forced to begin taking arms negotiations seriously; when 120 local governments refused to take part in nuclear civil defense exercises, the whole program was scrapped.
Larry Agran, mayor of the City of Irvine writes, "Imagine with me for a moment:
"People in your city developing direct ties of friendship with people in the Soviet Union or Nicaraguaties so strong that they would refuse to go to war with their new-found friends.
"Your city government deciding to cut down your local economys dependence on weapons-related work, instead investing public funds in housing or education to create peace-related jobs.
"Your city alive with debate on war and peace -- on issues like the nuclear test ban or the war in Central America -- because people believe they can influence foreign policy through local government.
"These are just some of the bold, creative steps local governments are now taking to promote peace, thanks to the work of the Center for Innovative Diplomacy. One of these initiatives perhaps many may already be happening in your backyard."
Friends of Peace Pilgrim
43480 Cedar Avenue
Hemet, California 92544