Jackie at the first Festival of Hope

Friends,

I was just going through photos and found this one of Jackie Hudson at the first Fellowship of Hope (November 22, 2009) following the Disarm Now Plowshares action.

Image

I am pretty sure she was saying something about each of us “taking a step outside our comfort zone.”  Good memories!!!

You can see the rest of the photos from that first Festival of Hope by clicking here.

Peace,

Leonard

Out at the Missile Site

Friends,

President Obama pardoned two turkeys prior to this Thanksgiving holiday – one name Liberty and the other named Peace.  I’m still wondering why Peace (let alone Liberty) would ever need a pardon.  But enough of turkeys; the President could have chosen among scores of them wandering the halls of DC.

As I sit here on the day before Thanksgiving thinking on things for which I am thankful, I keep focusing on the countless people with whom I have had the honor of working with in this good peacemaking work that we do together (and it is something that we truly do together, no matter how far apart we may be geographically).

So I thought I would leave you with a song that was sung by the Raging Grannies of Denver on October 8, 2011 at the N-8 Minuteman Missile Site during a memorial for our dear Sister Jackie Hudson. This was the place where Jackie, along with Sisters Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte engaged in the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares action in 2002.

The new words to the song were written by Judy Trompeter.  Thanks to all who sing (and act) for peace. Together we make beautiful music.

Peace to All,

Leonard

****************

Out at the Missile Site
(to tune of “Down by the Riverside”)

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Ain’t gonna study war no more.

Sister Jackie’s work goes on
Out at the missile site,
Out at the missile site,
Out at the missile site.
Sister Jackie’s work goes on
Out at the missile site.
Ain’t gonna finance war no more.
I ain’t gonna finance war no more,
I ain’t gonna finance war no more,
Ain’t gonna finance war no more.

Gonna carry on for these brave nuns
No matter what it takes,
No matter what it takes,
No matter what it takes.
Gonna carry on for these brave nuns
No matter what it takes.
Ain’t gonna pay for no more nukes.

I’m gonna protest war each day,
I’m gonna protest war each day,
Gonna protest war each day.
I’m gonna protest war each day,
I’m gonna protest war each day,
Until all the nukes are gone.

Memorial to Jackie Hudson at N-8 missile silo

Friends,

Mary Casper sends greetings from Colorado where yesterday an intrepid group of about 30 people gathered at the N-8 missile silo to honor Jackie Hudson.  It was rainy, windy and cold (in the high 30s).  Just watching the video of the event makes me want to put on my foul weather gear.

The Raging Grannies sang their own version of Down By The Riverside, called Out at the Missile Site, with special lyrics for this occasion.  Those gathered also read from remembrances by Susan Crane and Fr. Steve Kelly.

The N-8 missile silo is where Jackie, Carol and Ardeth took their stand for disarmament in the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II in 2002 when they symbolically disarmed a 300 kiloton Minuteman III nuclear missile hidden deep below a farmer’s field.

May thanks to the people of Pax Christi Denver for their continued witness and this tribute to Jackie.  May we all continue her good work.  JACKIE HUDSON PRESENTE!

Peace,

Leonard

Out at the Missile Site
(to tune of “Down by the Riverside”)

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside.
Ain’t gonna study war no more.
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
I ain’t gonna study war no more,
Ain’t gonna study war no more.

Sister Jackie’s work goes on
Out at the missile site,
Out at the missile site,
Out at the missile site.
Sister Jackie’s work goes on
Out at the missile site.
Ain’t gonna finance war no more.
I ain’t gonna finance war no more,
I ain’t gonna finance war no more,
Ain’t gonna finance war no more.

Gonna carry on for these brave nuns
No matter what it takes,
No matter what it takes,
No matter what it takes.
Gonna carry on for these brave nuns
No matter what it takes.
Ain’t gonna pay for no more nukes.

I’m gonna protest war each day,
I’m gonna protest war each day,
Gonna protest war each day.
I’m gonna protest war each day,
I’m gonna protest war each day,
Until all the nukes are gone.

New words by Judy Trompeter.
Sung by the Raging Grannies of Denver, Oct. 8, 2011 at N-8 Missile Site

Elegy for a Peacemaker: Jackie’s Song of Justice

[Editor’s Note: This beautiful tribute to Sr. Jackie Hudson was written by Lucianne Siers, OP of the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids.]

Jacqueline Hudson, OP (1934-2011) passed away on August 3, 2011.  Jackie was a prisoner of conscience and was incarcerated for her actions a number of times throughout her life.  During her last imprisonment, her health deteriorated and she was released from prison in Ocilla, Georgia several weeks before she died.

This is a personal reflection of a life well lived, filled with courage, passion and patience. Jackie lived so clearly out of her own conscience that there were times when her courageous actions defy logic.  Both of us grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, belonged to the same parish, attended the same school and grew up in the same neighborhood existing in different generations.  We both became Dominicans of Grand Rapids and through our years together in religious life, we were grounded in the spirituality and history of Dominican life.

Jackie became steeped in the paradox of the Gospel story, in the example of our founder, St. Dominic, and the long tradition of women religious living the evangelical counsels.  Our sister, St. Catherine of Siena provided a backdrop of living a passionate life of love and justice, speaking courageously to religious and political leaders.  In addition, the non-violent peace movements led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Dan and Phil Berrigan awakened us to the critical needs of peace and justice in our world.

In her early years, Jackie was a music teacher, teaching piano, choral and instrumental music in both elementary and high schools.  Throughout her years, she sang in a musical group of Dominican Sisters known as the Mellow D’s.  Her finely-trained ear led her to listen carefully to the politics of war and she began to address the discord of violence and war within our country.

As members of our congregation studied and prayed over the problems that were emerging in our schools, it became apparent that violence in the streets of our cities was escalating.  Drugs became increasingly available and our cities were becoming dangerous to the life and well-being of the students.  Searching for reasons for this increase in violence, our Sisters became aware of systemic corruption.  Several Sisters began to explore civil resistance as a way to call attention to the ways in which our country chose to solve problems by acts of violence on a large scale such as the ultimate and dangerous use of nuclear weapons.

In 1990, after much discussion, prayer and study, our congregation developed a policy that cleared a path in which a member was free to pursue a way to live out her desire to address the violence in our world through non-violent civil resistance.  A member, in dialogue with congregational leadership about the overall discernment and not the specific action, could decide that acting in civil resistance was an act of conscience in her case.  The member would act as an individual and not in the name of the congregation.  The congregation would support the member for her personal needs, but would not assume any costs associated with the act of civil resistance, e.g., legal matters such as bail and lawyer fees.

The clarity of this policy provided our congregation with the freedom to care for and support those who are spent time in prison.  We became aware and sensitized to the violence within the legal and prison institutions because of our brave and committed women.  We have been able to provide pastoral, psychological and spiritual support beyond our imaginations.  Our bonds of community and the ways of living the common life have held fast, even behind bars.

With great fidelity, Jackie maintained her membership as a vowed religious in our congregation.  Along with her justice community, she kept us aware of the destructive nature of the use of nuclear weapons.  We continue to be challenged to pay attention and to speak and act against violence particularly regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

In 1993, Jackie moved to Bremerton, Washington where she joined a peace community involved in social justice issues.  She became certified as a commercial driver and drove a bus in the city system in order to support her contribution to the congregation’s common good.  She once said, “I liken myself to St. Paul, who was a tent maker to pay his expenses and still gave himself time for ministry.”

With her friends Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert, also Dominican Sisters ~Grand Rapids, and a faithful justice community, she participated in demonstrations and ultimately in acts of civil resistance for the cause of nuclear disarmament.

Jackie pursued the root causes of violence that are hidden deep in the politics of the arms race and the buildup of our country’s nuclear weapons.  Along with her justice community, she studied over many years the destructive invisible and hidden attitudes, behaviors and actions that led our country to systemic violence.  These forces lead our country to violence beyond our comprehension since they are capable of destroying the entire human race. Jackie ultimately believed that the pursuit of military dominance through nuclear weapons was illegal under international law and U.S. treaties.

For Jackie, the process of justice making was a complex activity of naming the powers, unmasking the powers and engaging the powers.  This requires bringing a critical perspective to the political, economic and cultural institutions.  One must have the courage to break the silence and confront the structures of abuse.  Jackie did this in countless ways, by letter writing and by crossing the lines in challenging the laws that protect the secrets of destruction.

Jackie acted in civil resistance and willingly faced the consequence of violating the law, which took her to prison where she lived patiently over long periods of time.  In the abusive atmosphere of the prison culture, with its diminishment, hatred and violent treatment of persons, Jackie spoke out on behalf of justice and compassion.  Her witness and courage were sources of strength and inspiration to all who knew her.

Jackie passed on to a resurrected life on August 3, 2011.  She has not left us with volumes of notes or letters to solve the systemic violence embedded in the build-up of nuclear weapons.  She simply confronted the systemic violence and bore the consequences of her choices.  She followed Jesus and lived her life according to her conscience.  She chose to walk a difficult journey true to her convictions as did Jesus -faithful to the end.

Jackie leaves us a beautiful song for justice.  It is one that is filled with harmony and balance, with movements of passion and conviction.  It is a complex work of carrying out a clear melody in a complicated world filled with ambiguous entanglements.  Her voice is clear and her life is well lived.  She leaves us with a legacy of melody we can remember and play in our hearts, of a courageous, heart-filled love longing for justice.

Rest in peace dear Jackie, dear beloved Sister!

Lucianne Siers, OP
Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids
Dominican Co-Promoter of Justice for North America
Executive Director of the Partnership for Global Justice, NYC
September, 2011

Missile Silo N-8, CO, September 15, 2011

Friends,

I’ve just received this photo from Felice and Jack Cohen (of the Nuclear Resister).  In the foreground is a tribute to Sr. Jackie Hudson.  In the background you can see the sign saying “N-8”, designating the N-8 Minuteman III missile site in Colorado where Jackie, Carol Gilbert and Ardeth Platte carried out the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II action on the morning of October 6, 2002 symbolically disarming a first-strike 300 kiloton (20 times the yield of the Hiroshima bomb) Minuteman III nuclear missile (truly a weapon of MASS destruction) with household hammers and their own blood.

And so, Jackie returns to the scene of the (government’s) crime.

Jackie Hudson, Presente!

Jackie’s Waltz…

Friends,

Just four days after Jackie Hudson died the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action came together for its annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki weekend gathering.  Jackie’s spirit was present throughout.  Singer/songwriter/peace activist Holly Gwinn Graham was there and was moved to write a song for Jackie.  She named it Jackie’s Waltz, and she sang it for us for the first time on a lovely Summer’s eve on the lawn in front of the Ground Zero meeting-house where Jackie lived and worked.  Here is a rare opportunity to hear Jackie’s Waltz as Holly first shared it with us.

Peace,

Leonard

Jackie Hudson: Faith, Hope and Clarity

Dear Friends,

Yesterday back in Grand Rapids, Michigan Jackie Hudson’s dear Dominican sisters came together to celebrate a Mass of Resurrection at Dominican Chapel/Marywood.  The Grand Rapids  Press ran an obituary on Jackie mentioning one of her writings several years ago in a Dominican Sisters publication.  Jackie was reflecting “on her peace and justice activites” regarding that age old question: “Will my efforts bring about change in my lifetime.”

“Hard to tell; the important thing is that all of us remain faithful.”

Indeed, it is hard to tell.  Yet one of the keys, as Jackie so often reminded us and does so even now, is remaining faithful if we are to stay the course and do the hard work in such difficult struggles as the one to abolish nuclear weapons.

Thank you Jackie for your faith, your hope, and your clarity of vision that always kept you centered and a beacon to us all.

Click here to read the obituary in the Grand Rapids Press.

Peace,

Leonard

Jackie Hudson in Memoriam (Video)

This tribute to Jackie Hudson, 1934 to 2011, includes video clips from 2010 and 2011 captured by Rod Herold, Cascadia Media Productions.

Jackie Hudson, Oh Jackie

Editor’s Note: Anabel and David Dwyer sent this in honor of Jackie’s life, and it was included as an insert in the memorial bulletin on Saturday, August 13th.

So many years of faithful, courageous, kind, steadfast and joyful work to rid ourselves of hideous, grotesque nuclear weapons. Can we now take up your skillful lead to stop this idiocy?

Who can together affect the urgency for nuclear disarmament that we failed to pull off to save your exemplary life? Continue reading

Sister Jacqueline Hudson, OP

Jackie Hudson will always be remembered for willingly going wherever her conscience led her – even if it meant going to prison. She was a tireless advocate for change, change that would lead to a just and peaceful world. Continue reading

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