Arts and Culture

Inspiration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

By Joyce Rothermel

If you missed seeing the film, “The Nuns, the Priests, and the Bombs” when it was shown in early June, it is not too late. The informative and inspiring documentary is available locally and the Merton Center is planning to host a showing and potluck on Thursday, September 13 at 6:30 PM. Sr. Megan, whose involvement in Plowshares Actions in Bangor, WA and Oak Ridge, TN were featured in the film, was here in Pittsburgh for the earlier showings. Plowshare Actions are planned nonviolent witnesses at nuclear weapons facilities.  Participants trespass nuclear facilities in acts of civil disobedience. After a forty-year teaching ministry in Africa, Sr. Megan returned to the U.S. to dedicate the remaining years of her life to eliminate nuclear weapons from the planet. Now 88, her positive energy and passionate commitment to abolition of nuclear weapons are a delight to all who meet her.

One of the finest moments of Sr. Megan’s visit was on Friday night, June 1 before the film was shown. Molly Rush, from the first Plowshares Action in 1980, who came to see the documentary, met Sr. Megan face to face. Kindred spirits, they share the common experience of faith calling them to civil disobedience through actions taking them onto nuclear weapons facilities, 32 years apart and 99 plowshares actions in between.

At each of the showings, an update was given on the plight of the seven people who participated in the most recent plowshares action at Kings Bay, Georgia on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To learn more about their action and how you can support them, go to http://www.KingsBayPlowshares7.org

During the course of the four film showings, 150 people attended and over $1300 was raised. Proceeds after expenses were shared with the film’s producer, Helen Young, translation of the film into Japanese and Spanish, and the Merton Center’s Anti-War Committee Campaign: Stop Banking the Bomb.

We are grateful to so many who helped make the film’s showings and Sr. Megan’s visit possible: Pittsburgh-Area Pax Christi, Veterans for Peace, the Association of Pittsburgh Priests, South Hills Justice Seekers, St. Winifred Parish, the Sisters of Divine Providence, North Hills People for Peace, Carlow University Campus Ministry, Greensburg Pax Christi, and the Thomas Merton Center.

Those interested in showing the film to other audiences can order a copy by contacting Bob Cooke from Pax Christi, USA at cooker1251@gmail.com. To borrow the film locally, contact Mimi Darragh from Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi at 412-445-7102.

To support the continued distribution of “The Nuns, the Priests, and the Bombs” tax deductible gifts can be sent to From the Heart Productions, 1455 Mandalay Beach Road, Oxnard, CA 93035-2845 (Attention: Carole Dean for the Helen Young film). Financial support is also needed for the local Stop Banking the Bomb Campaign. Donations can be made to the Thomas Merton Center with “Stop Banking the Bomb” put in the memo section of the check and sent to 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.

Ongoing efforts to work for peace happen through the TMC Anti-War Committee that meets on the fourth Saturday of the month at 11 AM at the Merton Center.

Joyce Rothermel is a member of the Anti-War Committee of the Thomas Merton Center.

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