Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

More on Berrigan

Expand Messages
  • Robert Waldrop
    PLEASE POST TO ALL FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES AND LIST SERVES Dear Family and Friends, We hold the Jonah House family and community up in prayer now as we prepare to
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      PLEASE POST TO ALL FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES AND LIST SERVES

      Dear Family and Friends,

      We hold the Jonah House family and community up in prayer now as we
      prepare
      to gather with the multitudes who loved Phil and the example he gave
      to us
      all.
      God bless Phil's soul as he returns to the Creator Almighty. Amen.

      Mary Anne Grady Flores

      THIS EMAIL INCLUDES:

      PHILIP BERRIGAN'S STATEMENT BEFORE HIS DEATH, HIS BIOGRAPHY,
      and INFORMATION OF THE WAKE AND FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS and
      INFO ON PLACES TO STAY.



      >From Jonah House:

      Hello Everyone,

      Phil died tonight at Jonah House. The family is grieving, but also
      thankful
      that his last painful days are over and he can now rejoice. There are
      many
      who have helped and supported the family with prayers and food and
      kind
      words; all of your support is greatly appreciated. All the letters
      and
      calls Phil got in his final days showed the strength and compassion of
      this,
      the beloved community. Please keep checking your email for a
      following
      message about housing possibilities in Baltimore if you choose to come
      for
      the wake and/or the funeral mass. Folks from Viva House Catholic
      Worker
      (410-233-0488) here in Baltimore have volunteered to coordinate
      housing;
      Jonah House is filled to the brim with family, so please contact Viva
      House
      if you need to find a place to stay. See below for specific
      information
      about the funeral arrangements (see the last paragraph for pertinent
      information). This is the press release the family sent out, as well
      as a
      chronology of Phil's life and works, and a statement he and Liz write
      shortly before his death.

      Thanks to you all, and peace be with you.
      Love,
      Becky

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      Contact: Becky Johnson, 202-607-9345

      Date: December 6, 2002



      Philip Berrigan, Anti-War Activist, Dies at Home in Baltimore, MD



      Baltimore, MD - Phil Berrigan died December 6, 2002 at about 9:30 PM,
      at
      Jonah House, a community he co-founded in 1973, surrounded by family
      and
      friends. He died two months after being diagnosed with liver and
      kidney
      cancer, and one month after deciding to discontinue chemotherapy.
      Approximately thirty close friends and fellow peace activists gathered
      for
      the ceremony of last rites on November 30, to celebrate his life and
      anoint
      him for the next part of his journey. Berrigan's brother and co-felon,
      Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan officiated.



      During his nearly 40 years of resistance to war and violence, Berrigan
      focused on living and working in community as a way to model the
      nonviolent, sustainable world he was working to create. Jonah House
      members live simply, pray together, share duties, and attempt to
      expose the
      violence of militarism and consumerism. The community was born out of
      resistance to the Vietnam War, including high-profile draft card
      burning
      actions; later the focus became ongoing resistance to U.S. nuclear
      policy,
      including Plowshares actions that aim to enact Isaiah's biblical
      prophecy
      of a disarmed world. Because of these efforts Berrigan spent about 11
      years
      in prison. He wrote, lectured, and taught extensively, publishing six
      books, including an autobiography, Fighting the Lamb's War.



      In his last weeks, Berrigan was surrounded by his family, including
      his
      wife Elizabeth McAlister, with whom he founded Jonah House; his
      children
      Frida, 28, Jerry, 27, and Kate, 21; community members Susan Crane,
      Gary
      Ashbeck, and David Arthur; and extended family and community.
      Community
      members Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert, Dominican sisters, were
      unable to
      be physically present at Jonah House; they are currently in jail in
      Colorado awaiting trial for a disarmament action at a missile silo,
      the
      79th international Plowshares action. One of Berrigan's last actions
      was
      to bless the upcoming marriage of Frida to Ian Marvy.



      Berrigan wrote a final statement in the days before his death. His
      final
      comments included this: "I die with the conviction, held since 1968
      and
      Catonsville, that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to
      mine for
      them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God,
      the
      human family, and the earth itself."



      The wake and funeral will be held at St. Peter Claver Church in West
      Baltimore, (1546 North Fremont Avenue, Baltimore MD 21217); calling
      hours:
      4-8 PM Sunday December 8 with a circle of sharing about Phil's life at
      6
      PM; funeral: Monday, December 9, 12 PM. All are invited to process
      with the
      coffin from the intersection of Bentalou and Laurens streets to St.
      Peter
      Claver Church at 10 AM (please drop off marchers and park at the
      church).
      A public reception at the St. Peter Claver hall will follow the
      funeral
      mass; internment is private. In place of flowers and gifts for the
      offertory, attendees may bring pictures or other keepsakes. Mourners
      may
      make donations in Berrigan's name to Citizens for Peace in Space,
      Global
      Network Against Nuclear Weapons, Nukewatch, Voices in the Wilderness,
      the
      Nuclear Resister, or any Catholic Worker house.

      >From Mary Anne:
      Kristen Betts has found a church for people to stay with floor space,
      St. Matthews Church on Lockraven Ave. and Woodburn St., Balt.
      Call Viva House if you'd like to stay there. 1-410-233-0488

      The 3 hotels for around $50 a room are:

      Best Inn at 1-410-747-8900

      Knights Inn at 1-800-843-5644

      Homestyle Inn at 1-410-744-1440

      Willa Walsh said that all three are near one another and very close to
      the
      Rt. 95.,
      not too far from Jonah House.

      If you have access to a computer and can download real audio, you can
      hear
      a very moving interview Frida and Jerry about their dad, an update on
      Carol, Ardeth, and Jackie's action, and an interview with Phil from
      prison
      in 1996, by Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill, at www.democracynow.org.
      You
      can go to the archives and enter the date: Dec.4th 2002. If you want
      to
      hear the program from anywhere, anytime, this is how to do it.

      Peace,
      Mary Anne


      PHIL'S STATEMENT 12/05/02 (via Elizabeth McAlister)



      Philip began dictating this statement the weekend before Thanksgiving.
      It
      was all clear - he had it written in his head. Word for word I
      wrote...



      WHEN I LAY DYING...of cancer

      Philip Berrigan



      I die in a community including my family, my beloved wife Elizabeth,
      three
      great Dominican nuns - Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, and Jackie Hudson
      (emeritus) jailed in Western Colorado - Susan Crane, friends local,
      national and even international. They have always been a life-line to
      me. I
      die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear
      weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture
      them,
      deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and
      the
      earth itself. We have already exploded such weapons in Japan in 1945
      and
      the equivalent of them in Iraq in 1991, in Yugoslavia in 1999, and in
      Afghanistan in 2001. We left a legacy for other people of deadly
      radioactive isotopes - a prime counterinsurgency measure. For example,
      the
      people of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be battling
      cancer, mostly from depleted uranium, for decades. In addition, our
      nuclear
      adventurism over 57 years has saturated the planet with nuclear
      garbage
      from testing, from explosions in high altitudes (four of these), from
      103
      nuclear power plants, from nuclear weapons factories that can't be
      cleaned
      up - and so on. Because of myopic leadership, of greed for
      possessions, a
      public chained to corporate media, there has been virtually no
      response to
      these realities...



      At this point in dictation, Phil's lungs filled; he began to cough
      uncontrollably; he was tired. We had to stop - with promises to finish
      later. But later never came - another moment in an illness that
      depleted
      Phil so rapidly it was all we could do to keep pace with it... And
      then he
      couldn't talk at all. And then - gradually - he left us.



      What did Phil intend to say? What is the message of his life? What
      message
      was he leaving us in his dying? Is it different for each of us, now
      that we
      are left to imagine how he would frame it?



      During one of our prayers in Phil's room, Brendan Walsh remembered a
      banner
      Phil had asked Willa Bickham to make years ago for St. Peter Claver.
      It
      read: "The sting of death is all around us. O Christ, where is your
      victory?"



      The sting of death is all around us. The death Phil was asking us to
      attend
      to is not his death (though the sting of that is on us and will not be
      denied). The sting Phil would have us know is the sting of
      institutionalized death and killing. He never wearied of articulating
      it.
      He never ceased being astonished by the length and breadth and depth
      of it.
      And he never accepted it.



      O Christ, where is your victory? It was back in the mid 1960's that
      Phil
      was asking that question of God and her Christ. He kept asking it.
      And,
      over the years, he learned

      that it is right and good to question our God, to plead for
      justice
      for all that inhabit the earth;

      that it is urgent to feel this; injustice done to any is
      injustice
      done to all;

      that we must never weary of exposing and resisting such
      injustice;

      that what victories we see are smaller than the mustard seeds
      Jesus
      praised, and they need such tender nurture;

      that it is vital to celebrate each victory - especially the
      victory
      of sisterhood and brotherhood embodied in loving, nonviolent
      community.



      Over the months of Phil's illness we have been blessed a hundred-fold
      by
      small and large victories over an anti-human, anti-life, anti-love
      culture,
      by friendships - in and out of prison - and by the love that has
      permeated
      Phil's life. Living these years and months with Phil free us to revert
      to
      the original liturgical question: "O death, where is your sting?"


      Biography of Philip Berrigan, 1923-2002

      Born: October 5, 1923, Minnesota Iron Range, near Bemidji to Frieda
      Fromhart and Thomas Berrigan

      1943-1945: Served in WWII, artillery officer, Europe.

      1949: Graduated from Holy Cross College.

      1955: Ordained a Catholic Priest in the Josephite Order, specializing
      in
      inner city ministry.

      1956-1963: Taught at St. Augustine's high school, New Orleans, a
      segregated
      all black school.

      1962 (or 3?): First priest to ride in a Civil Rights movement Freedom
      Ride.

      1963-1965: Taught at a Josephite seminary, Newburgh, NY.

      1966: Published first book, No More Strangers.

      1966: Served at St. Peter Claver parish, Baltimore, MD.

      October 27, 1967: Poured blood on draft files in Baltimore with 3
      others.
      Known as the "Baltimore Four."

      May 17, 1968: Burned draft files in Catonsville, MD with 8 others,
      including his brother, Fr. Daniel Berrigan. Action known as the
      "Catonsville Nine." Convicted of destruction of US property,
      destruction
      of Selective Service records, and interference with the Selective
      Service
      Act of 1967. Sentenced to prison.

      1970: Married Elizabeth McAlister, an activist nun, Religious of the
      Sacred
      Heart of Mary.

      1970: Became a fugitive when appeals failed. Captured and returned to
      prison.

      1971: Named co-conspirator by J. Edgar Hoover and Harrisburg grand
      jury
      while in prison. Charged with plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger and
      blow
      up the utility tunnels of US Capitol buildings. Convicted only of
      violating prison rules for smuggling out letters.

      1973: Co-founded Jonah House community of war resisters in Baltimore,
      MD.

      April 1, 1974: Birth of Frida Berrigan at Jonah House.

      April 17, 1975: Birth of Jerry Berrigan at Jonah House.

      1975: End of Vietnam War and beginning of focus on weapons of mass
      destruction and changing U.S. nuclear policy. Actions included pouring
      of
      blood and digging of graves at the White House and Pentagon resulted
      in
      several jail terms ranging up to six months.

      1975: Atlantic Life Community conceptualized as East Coast counterpart
      to
      Pacific Life Community.

      1976: First of summer community building sessions; led to triannual
      Faith &
      Resistance Retreats in DC.

      September 9, 1980: Poured blood and hammered with 7 others on Mark 12A
      warheads at a GE nuclear missile plant, King of Prussia, PA. Charged
      with
      conspiracy, burglary, and criminal mischief; convicted and
      imprisoned.
      Action known as the "Plowshares Eight;" began the international
      Plowshares
      movement.

      1980-1999: Participated in 5 more Plowshares actions, resulting in ~7
      years
      of imprisonment.

      November 5, 1981: Birth of Kate Berrigan at Jonah House.

      1989: Published The Times' Discipline, on the Jonah House experience,
      with
      Elizabeth McAlister.

      1996: Published autobiography, Fighting the Lamb's War.

      December 14, 2001: Released from Elkton, OH prison after nearly a year
      of
      imprisonment for his final Plowshares action.

      July 12, 2002: Underwent hip replacement surgery at Good Samaritan
      Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

      October 8, 2002: Diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, cancer in the liver
      and
      kidney.

      December 6, 2002: Died at home in Baltimore, surrounded by family and
      community.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.