Editor’s Introduction: Dear Friends, Art Laffin, of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington D.C., wrote the following remembrance of our dear friend (and co-conspirator in the creation of God’s vision of a world at peace and with justice for all) Anne Montgomery, who died last year on August 27th. It is, as is appropriate, mostly in Anne’s own words. Anne’s words and witness in her life live on long after her passing; may they give us all strength for the long journey. In our common humanity and in Peace, Leonard
Today is the first anniversary of Anne’s home-going to God. I/we give thanks for Anne’s life and for all she did to make the Word flesh! We know Anne is advocating for us as she is among the cloud of witnesses in paradise.
Below is Anne’s letter that she sent out describing her cancer and expressing gratitude to all those she walked with and accompanied in the earthly vineyeard.
In light of the Empire’s ongoing violence, past and present, including now the latest US military threats against Syria, the below poem by Anne speaks to the heart of the matter.
With gratitude, Art
March 1, 2012 letter Anne wrote to friends describing her cancer and really a final farewell:
“I have been on chemotherapy for cancer, and it seemed to be helping, but, last weekend I had breathing problems and tests showed a lung full of fluid and that continuing any chemo, etc. would not help. I have been blessed by so much support, personal, and medical, that I know I must share that in some way with all those across our world who lack so much and are near desperation, especially for their children. I also know that the Spirit prays at the heart of the universe and that creation is an ongoing journey of death and resurrection, however mysterious that process is. Because it is energized by Love, we can enter into it rather than count on our own weak efforts and vulnerabilities and worry about failures. When I made my final vows, our group was named, “Joy in the Faith,” I am coming to believe that must somehow be possible since it is promised in the Beatitudes and that those who have nothing show us the way.
I am constantly filled with gratitude to you all who have done the nitty-gritty work of peace and nonviolent action and invited me to join you. I hope to be able to do so in a new way. As Phil Berrigan said in his last letter, that work must come from our own vulnerability. Much love, Anne.
FEAST OF THE INNOCENTS:1991
In Memoriam: Mass Graves
by Sr. Anne Montgomery, RSCJ
A voice in Ramah — a voice in Panama, Iraq–
as yet again, Herod proclaims new birth
the young expendable,
bulldozed into ditches,
shoveled into unmarked graves,
cast into the sea,
or flamed to ashes.
But in the sand and sea,
grass and cinders,
the question will not die:
“Where is the one who is born?”
the child who sees with one eye__
or not at all,
who walks with one leg–
or never again,
whose dreams were shattered by shrapnel,
hunger stilled by pain.
The year’s death reminds us of an old story,
a nightmare that will not go away,
but, dragon-like, rises from the sea,
blinds the dawn,
blasphemes God’s name and dwelling
with fire from heaven
on those, uncounted, who do not count:
“You the nameless, do not exist.”
So it has been decreed,
for to allow the naming,
to confess reality and promise,
means new birth,
Sr. Anne Montgomery, Plowshares leader against nuclear weapons, dies; National Catholic Reporter Online; Aug. 29, 2012