Anne Montgomery remembered: “new birth, new time, new humanity”

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

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Dear Friends,

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.

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family's orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

Anne comforting a Palestinian girl as she watches her family’s orchard being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers, August or Sept. 1998. (courtesy of Christian Peacemakers)

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.

Anne Montgomery–presente!

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–
weeping,
as yet again, Herod proclaims new birth
a threat,
the young expendable,
beginnings buried:
bulldozed into ditches,
shoveled into unmarked graves,
cast into the sea,
or flamed to ashes.

But in the sand and sea,
grass and cinders,
in silences,
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,
new time,
new humanity

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Sr. Anne Montgomery, Plowshares leader against nuclear weapons, dies; National Catholic Reporter Online; Aug. 29, 2012

Memories of Anne M., by Brad Lyttle

I first met Anne Montgomery at the project, ‘The Walk for a Peaceful Future,” in Israel, in 1992. She was a slight woman, and had a chronic limp, but it was evident from the first that she had great energy, and did not permit her handicap to limit her activities. Continue reading

Sr. Anne speaking on Life, Light and Hope

Dear Friends,

Chrissy Nesbitt was going through the videos that she discovered of the Festivals of Hope surrounding the 1980 Plowshares Eight and discovered many treasures.  Among them was one of Sr. Anne Montgomery speaking to one of the gatherings.  In this particular video Anne speaks beautifully about light and darkness; about living into the light. Continue reading

Photo Tribute to Anne Montgomery

Editor’s Note: The audio clips of Anne speaking were taken from various YouTube videos of events related to the 1980 Plowshares Eight.  We are thankful to whomever converted so many 8 millimeter films to digital format and organized them into over 100 YouTube videos.  Here is one of those from which we extracted audio of Anne:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJbpQTYQzZ4&feature=share&list=PLC9DDEA86AA1A4451

Anne Montgomery: A reflection on the “Teflon Nun”

(a reflection on Anne Montgomery from Ciaron O’Reilly)

I remember Anne most clearly around the beginning of our ANZUS
Plowshares process in 1990. She was such a delight to be in the
company as we set off on this grand adventure – a 10 month process
that saw us disarm a B-52 Bomber on the eve of Gulf War Continue reading

Anne Montgomery: “A Hero and a Saint”

A Tribute to Sr. Anne Montgomery

By Michele Naar-Obed

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote that I didn’t believe in heroes. Heroes, like saints, have been sanitized, whitewashed, sensationalized and put up on some unattainable pedestal where the rest of us are not supposed to go. So I guess it’s those kinds of heroes and saints that I can’t believe in. Continue reading

On Anne Montgomery: Of Two Hands and Two Feet

Dear Friends,

Kathy Kelly is one of those extraordinary souls whose acts of love, compassion and courage are well-known.  Kathy understands, as did Anne Montgomery, that it is not about “us” per se, but about our work and the fact that we do not do it alone.

Anne and Kathy would meet, not unexpectedly, in conflict zones where both were working with people in dire need.  It is work that takes not only faith, hope and courage, but persistence. Continue reading

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