Discussion Add comments Please post your thoughts on The Peace Abbey below. 24 Responses to “Discussion” Lewis Randa says: April 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm With the thoughtful attention of those who love the Peace Abbey, no doubt those family trusts and foundations that can help will be identified and contacted. Everyone needs to do their part and out of the combined effort of lots of concerned friends of the Abbey, the Abbey will find an Angel benefactor. Log in to Reply Lewis Randa says: April 4, 2011 at 11:55 am I hope that those who visit this site tell their friends about the work of the Peace Abbey and encourage them to contribute if they can. If they know of a family trust or foundation that supports peace organization, please tell them about the Abbey. We have until May 31st to prevent a bank foreclosure. Please help if you can. Thanks, Lewis Randa Log in to Reply Dot Walsh says: April 4, 2011 at 2:37 pm Thank you for all your good work and instructions..I was able to post the event on the 16th Peace and with much hope Dot Log in to Reply Jane O'Hara says: April 6, 2011 at 7:31 am this is a short piece about emily the cow at the peace abbey, featuring my good GHS buddy Meg, cofounder of the Peace Abbey. http://suprememastertv.com/veg/?wr_id=1035&goto_url=#v The Peace Abbey is an amazing place, in Sherbourn MA, through which many famous peace lovers and rescued animals have passed or lived. From Mother Theresa to Yoko Ono, Maya Angelou to name a few. PLEASE use your creative minds and wallets to think of how to save this wonderful organization and Life Experience school from closing down. They are in desperate need of help if you can. maybe you can write in to EllenTV as i have a start a campaign to get her attention! Log in to Reply Phil Boulding says: April 6, 2011 at 11:33 am We are so sorry to hear of the difficult situation at the Peace Abbey—Pam and I are leaving tomorrow morning for our spring tour, and looking forward to being there on April 17. I hope you can be there—we’ll do a special tribute for my mother, and in fact, if you are around and feel so inclined, we’d love to have you say a few words about her presence there. I wish there was more we could do my friend—praying for another miracle—hope to see you soon. With all best wishes, Philip Magical Strings P.O. Box 1240 Olalla, WA 98359 http://www.magicalstrings.com Log in to Reply Marissa says: April 6, 2011 at 11:55 am Is there a way to track how close the Peace Abbey is to reaching its donor goal? Perhaps this would encourage more people to contribute to this amazing cause! Log in to Reply Don says: April 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm Some kind of tracking sounds like a good idea! Log in to Reply Dan Dick says: April 6, 2011 at 6:27 pm Thank you to our many friends around the world who have expressed support and made donations. We were moved this morning when a dear friend wrote a check for $10,000 to help save the Peace Abbey. We are also grateful to our many friends who are spreading the word far and wide. People can’t help if they don’t know about our need. We expect a Boston Globe feature story later this week, and hopefully additional TV and web coverage. Thank you all for seeing the unique significance of our work and for being an important part of helping us continue. Dan Dick Peace Chaplain The Peace Abbey Log in to Reply Roger S. Gottlieb says: April 6, 2011 at 8:41 pm The Peace Abbey is a special place–for it gives us all a tiny taste of what life could be like in kinder, more compassionate, and more just world. That tiny taste supports our hope, or at least our faith, that something else is possible. In this dark time of war, local violence, and environmental destruction, it is a precious resource. Log in to Reply Jan Krause Greene says: April 6, 2011 at 8:59 pm Everyone, thank you for sharing these thoughts. Mine are simple, but speak to a truth of the Peace Abbey, nevertheless. It is a place where I feel inspired to be my best, most-loving, most-forgiving-most life-affirming self. It is a place that speaks to me about the incredible variety of human experience that encompasses the simple truth of our oneness, and of the bond that we all share as stewards of the earth. It is a place that fills me with joy and that reminds me of how much love the human heart can hold. It is a place that will always exist in my heart, but I hope that it continues to exist as a real, physical presence in this world that needs a constant reminder of who we really are. Log in to Reply Jeffrey Warren says: April 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm My thoughts and prayers go out to you all in this time of financial trial. I am not a wealthy man-but I can get the word out. I have a blog at http://worldathon.wordpress.com which recieves over 1000 visits a day. I plan on putting a donation piece up. Lets see if we can’t raise some cash for the best charity I know of. All The Best, Jeffrey Warren “Worldathon”blog Log in to Reply Mare Tomaski says: April 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm Have you ever had a friend so comfortable and true that no matter how much time or distance occurs between you, when you are again in their presence it is like no time at all has passed and you are as close as ever? As if they have been with you every day as a subtle presence. The Peace Abbey is one of those friends for me. Walking by the warm, brown gaze of Emily or the memorial and the graceful open arms of Gandhi is a great comfort,. They are always there, always they greet you like old friends. I love the sign that says “Remember To Be Kind”, no matter how many times I see those words they never fail to make a sudden feeling of Friendliness jump into my heart. There is no kitchen that holds more eclectic character than the kitchen at the Peace Abbey. The photos of Paul and Linda McCartney, all the cook books lining the shelves, the big wooden table, the photos of all the people who visit and make up the community pinned up on the cork board on the way to the stairs that lead down to the place of many meeting and many partings. I love that room down there. I chanted the name of The Tara with Joan and Tsering for a good part of the day, heard concerts, speeches, danced and sang down there. So many people have shared their passion for the beautiful and gentle things of life in that room. This winter I was spread thin and didn’t make it to Sunday Meditation. Almost 4 months or so went by with rarely a visit to The Peace Abbey. It was ok though. Ok because this is my friend! No matter how much time goes by the next meeting will be as wonderful as the last because time doesn’t change such warmth and genuine humanity. I think that is what sets The Peace Abbey apart from much of the rest of the goings-on of life. It is that genuine care, and warmth shown to every one and everything that somehow goes right to the heart of things and renews my hope and faith in this world. As I made my way to the chapel last week I stopped by the grave of my beloved Rhiannon who is buried at the Peace Abbey. My feline companion of 22 years. I will never forget the day I called Lewis when I knew she was not going to live much longer. ‘Of course there is a place for her here” he said, “We will find a nice place for her near Emily”. My heart lightened, I was suddenly able to let her go. It would be the perfect transition, the perfect place to lay her body to rest. A day or two later when I arrived with her, the grave had been dug and Dot and Lewis helped me place her in (I think Dot and my friend Diane actually held onto my feet as I put her into her grave so I wouldn’t slide in there with her). There was a fellow there, he was collecting stories about people and their animals and he himself was a Celtic Story Teller. To me he was an Angel, a Priest, a Poet, and a perfectly timed gift because Rhiannon was her name and there was definatley a story of a Celtic nature behind her name, her life and her death. This kind man was there to mark those stories at the most perfect and unlooked for moment. LIke everything had come full circle. None of it was planned, it just happened by coincidence that he was there on that day. The Peace Abbey is that kind of a place. And doesn’t it seem to be true that where there is respect, love and kindness things seem to just fall into place in an almost magical way. As if the force of life itself is saying “yes, this is how life begets life, this is how to honor the power that made it all, be good to one another, help one another and everything will work out just fine”. So why would that not be true now, at this difficult time for The Peace Abbey? That The Abbey will endure this time of unknown possibilites and emerge to remain beacon of kindness, peace and hope. If our world had more places that held peace in such high regard it would be a different kind of a place. The Peace Abbey is a treasure and a True Friend in this often off track and edgy world. No matter what happens The Peace Abbey will live forever in the hearts and minds of all she has touched. -Mare Tomaski Log in to Reply Rick Tagliaferri says: April 7, 2011 at 8:10 am What would our physical and personal landscape be like without the Peace Abbey and Life Experience School? Not a pretty picture, especially when this troubled world needs places of teaching, healing and sanctuary now more than ever. One thing that bears mentioning – if we get through this crisis and raise the funds necessary to fend off foreclosure, leaders and volunteers are already moving to put in place fundraising plans to sustain the important work of the Abbey/School and prevent this type of situation from occurring again. From an organizational point of view, the annual costs of running both institutions are relatively modest and can be met with a consistent plan of action. Previously, this has been difficult to do because of staff constraints. But skilled volunteers are working with the Abbey to design plans to compensate for this. Dan Dick wrote encouragingly of one individual so moved that s/he sent in a check for $10,000. Think of it…all we need are 36 more like this! Or 36,000 people each giving $10. That is not impossible to achieve, especially if a celebrity were to put out an appeal to their followers on Twitter or FaceBook. In a time of persistent, global recession when so many people have been hurting, the headlines also tell us of so many others on whom fortune has smiled. We have friends at both ends of this economic spectrum (and in between) and ask each to consider giving whatever a meaningful gift is for them. Large or small, it can make a difference. Log in to Reply Ruth Housman says: April 7, 2011 at 9:30 am I know the work of the Peace Abbey because I have been to your wonderful grounds and felt the love inside, as I participated in a Book Group that was hosted at the Abbey, run by a Xaverian monk, very spiritual, man. When he left as he was posted elsewhere on his missions, I left too, and also because for me it was a long way to travel, especially in inclement weather. But what I received in this most beautiful place of spirituality, was, more than, words. I want to say, I loved the most palpable love inside, the pictures of truly spiritual people who have made a significant difference in our lives, whose words, and actions have always spelled HOPE. There is the sacred within these surrounds, and whatever religious persuasion belongs to the observer, the longing for something better is what we all share in common. It is here, in Spades: the Queen, of HEARTS. I am a true believer. For being a true believer in a time in which somehow, for some people, it is anathema to talk about the anthem within the very word, I feel at HOME when I come to such a place, where others feel what I feel, and that is, a deep and deepening AWE for all that is beautiful in a world, sometimes gone mad, as people do and say very cruel things. I do believe in LOVE, and so I say, to everyone, regardless, there is Something MORE, and I say, it’s the MORE in the very word, AMORE, which means, LOVE. With love to a truly spiritual place, that exists, no matter what happens, because what is carried in the heart is The Peace Abbey. I surely hope, for a white knight! Yes, I’m looking for a hero. in truth/ruth Log in to Reply Don says: April 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm The Peace Abbey is a very special place that I have been to about a half-dozen times, even though I live a few hours away in another state. There is a sense of calm and reflection there that most anyone – from any tradition – be it an American-born Christian, an Asian-born Buddhist, an Italian Atheist, a Zoroastrian, a Hindu, an Orthodox Rabbi, a Native American Indian – truly anyone – can feel at home and give space to their desire for a singular experience that is unmatched anywhere. Come with an open heart and explore your own faith, just meditate on world peace, or learn about the faith and practices of others – experience a place that is more about living in harmony than about allowing yourself to lose hope after seeing all the troubles in the world – take time to pause and be still. Come and visit and see what you think. You don’t have to visit a remote monastery, or fly around the world to get to such a place – its here – just minutes from downtown Boston, in a quiet place that you can rest at before your journey takes you away again. Log in to Reply nancy gilbert says: April 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm Blessings one and all ~ May the spirit of the Peace Abbey reach out and touch just the right hearts that are able to take action and save this precious place. With love, Nancy Log in to Reply Leo Waters says: April 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm The Peace Abbey has been and still is an integral part of many aspects of my life but the most important is the role that this oasis plays in the lives of my children. They have seen the tangible results of compassion for all creatures ( animals rescued from the slaughter yard). They have come to understand that people from other cultures and religions are more like us than different (reading the Peace Seeds from the twelve major religions every Sunday at meditation). They embrace the truth that violent conflict has unintended and unacceptable consequences (pulling the memorial for civilians killed in war on a stone walk to Boston). Three of the four (one is too young) have committed themselves to non-violent conflict resolution by signing the conscientious objector registry. They all have dedicated time and money to the improvement and preservation of the physical manifestation of the Peace Abbey (renovating the guest house, working on the grounds, rehabilitating the mother and child statue, becoming a share holder). They have sung and danced in the Road House while Ted, Andy, and Dan have played. They have shown many adults that there is hope for this world. We all need to work to insure that places like the Peace Abbey not only survive but multiply. Please do what you can so that the Peace Abbey can have the opportunity to touch the lives of other children the way it has touched mine. Log in to Reply Helen Muterperl says: April 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm The Peace Abbey is an oasis from the confusions life throws at you. It is a place to be alone in calm reflection or with others in heartfelt words and music. Oh, and all the wonderful books – you will find the right words that mirror your thoughts and give you guidance. Here is one of my favorites that hangs at the Peace Abbey on what looks like it came from the inside of a Buddhist fortune cookie. “Three things cannot be long hidden – the sun, the moon, and the truth.” Gautama Buddha The Peace Abbey is that truth! Log in to Reply Lewis Randa says: April 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm Lots of activity and energy to find a way to keep this dream we call the Peace Abbey alive. Today we had a baby blessing for little Truman whose mom and dad, with family and friends, blessed their little one and did so in such a loving way. Log in to Reply Evelyn Kimber says: April 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm The Peace Abbey holds a truly unique place in the community of people seeking to make a more compassionate and nonviolent world. Through energetic and creative measures, they put words and conviction into action. When Emily the Cow and the Peace Abbey came together in 1995, together they created the moo heard ‘round the world promoting kindness that passes the species barrier. The magnificent statue and memorial will carry that message to future generations, and there is, I believe, nothing else like it on the planet. With appreciation, affection, and hopes for the future of the Peace Abbey. Log in to Reply Miriam Greenspan says: April 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm My daughter Esther Greenspan had the good fortune to be a student at the Life Experience School for three precious years when she was 11 to 13 years old. Esther was born with multiple physical, medical, and cognitive disabilities. The obstacles in her path seemed nearly insurmountable, but as her parents we knew that what she needed most of all, besides constant care and vigilance, was the respect and love of her family, school, and community. She is now 25 years old, living in a group home and thriving in her work as a volunteer with the elderly at Hebrew Senior Life Center and a spokesperson for people with disabilities. My mother, a Holocaust survivor who passed away recently, looked to Esther when she needed courage. Aidla asked me many times: “How did Esther get to be a person with such dignity and the ability to speak for herself so that people look up to her?” My answer was always: Esther got her voice at the Life Experience School, where she was treated with utmost respect as a valuable person with something to say.” I remember when she first came to the school and Lewis Randa handed her a microphone at a Courage of Conscience award ceremony, saying: “Esther would you like to say a few words about being a student at the Life Experience School?” We held our breath and then witnessed the first of Esther’s many eloquent, straight from the heart public talks. All she needed was the faith that Lewis gave her to launch her vocation as a peacemaker and inspirational speaker who has repeatedly moved people to tears with her loving words. Here, as an example, are excerpts from 2 talks that Esther has given. I hope that everyone who reads these words here will feel free to use them as they wish to inspire people to donate whatever they can to the Life Experience School and Peace Abbey, so that the sacred work of these extraordinary places will continue. From a talk given as part of Newton Public Schools Understanding Our Differences program: Hi Everyone. My name is Esther. I am here to talk to you about being a person with special needs. I was born with special needs. There is no name for what I have. I am just normal Esther. Here are some of my challenges: I have low muscle tone throughout my body. I need braces on my legs because it’s hard for me to walk. Sometimes I use a wheelchair for long distances or when I’m in pain or very tired. I get tired easily. I have broken many bones in my life such as arms, wrist, legs, and collar bones. I have a knee brace to help my knee stay in place. I have had scoliosis and, in 2002 I had two major operations on my back and now my back is straight. I still have pain in my knee and sometimes my kneecap pops out. I also sometimes have pain in my back or neck or feet. Getting around is harder for me than for other people but I try to do my best. In spite of my physical problems, I can play basketball, go bowling, swim, and I love to dance. I was on two special needs basketball teams for almost 8 years and I scored a lot of baskets for my teams. I was on a Special Olympics Bowling team and won a gold medal for bowling the most points. I swim every summer at Camp Arrowhead, a day camp for special needs kids in Natick. And when it comes to dancing, I am terrific. I am usually the last one to leave the dance floor. I have other special needs too. I have problems knowing when my body is cold or hot. Writing with a pen is hard for me because of my low muscle tone. Reading and math are very difficult for me too. Some people use the word mental retardation but I don’t like that term because it’s offensive to people with challenges in learning. Despite my challenges in learning, I have many accomplishments. I do read books and my favorite author is Nicholas Sparks, who wrote A Walk to Remember, my favorite book and movie. I have written part of a book called “The Life Experiences that Make Everything Worthwhile”, which I dedicated to a friend of mine, Lewis Randa, Director of the Life Experience School and the Peace Abbey. I do math on a calculator. I wrote a Bat Mitzvah speech and read it at my Bat Mitzvah and also read in Hebrew from the Torah. In addition to this, I got confirmed and graduated from Sunday school, Hebrew School and High School at Temple Israel in Boston. I was a teacher’s aide for three years at a Sunday school kindergarten class at the temple. I really enjoyed my work there. And in June 2008, I graduated from Cardinal Cushing School in Hanover. Guess who gave the commencement speech? It was me! The Patriot Ledger reported my speech with a picture of me getting an award for participation in my school and for my spirit in encouraging and being sensitive to others. I like giving talks in public because it’s one of my strengths and I feel like I can open up to people and really get people’s attention and it makes me feel good inside. I never get nervous when I talk in public because I have had a lot of practice and it’s nice to know that there are people who really listen to me. And I really like connecting to people. Which brings me to what I think is really important in life. As I said when I was 12 years old, “the secret of life is love people.” I have many people in my life that I love and who are important to me. My family, which includes my grandma, my mom, my dad, and my sister Anna and my dog Kylee and cat Peaches. And all the people who have helped me with learning and with my physical needs. I have many friends from different schools and friendship is very very important to me. There are other things I love besides people: music and singing. I sang at the Community Music Center in Boston for a lot of years. I like listening to music of all kinds and watching all the contestants on American Idol. And of course of the things I love, up at the top are the Red Sox!! Being a person with special needs is not always easy because of my limitations and weaknesses. It makes me sad sometimes because I’m not as strong as other people and that’s tough. But in other ways, I am very loving, I have a good sense of humor, I love to watch movies …and I love God. I sometimes have dreams about God as a woman or a man. In my dreams, God tells me everything is alright, your parents are good people, and they love you a lot. God helps me find peace in myself. People with special needs have a lot to offer. They have very strong intuition. They are very smart in their own ways. And they offer themselves as a guide to love. Thank you for listening to me. The following is an excerpt from a keynote Esther gave at a Jewish Family & Children’s Service fundraiser in 2009. Keep in mind as you read, that this talk raised more money for JF&CS than expected! Hi My name is Esther. Thank you for coming tonight. I started living at Avalon at Chestnut Hill, which is a residence of the JF&CS special needs program, in April, 2008. I have worked in the Chai Works day program since then. I feel very lucky to be there. When I wake up in the morning I really look forward to going to work at Hebrew Senior Life Center because I will see all my friends and supervisors and because I really enjoy the work. I have worked with elderly people in nursing homes before and I hope to do it forever. I love being with elderly people and hearing their stories. I love sitting with them and being good company. When I work there, I feel that I am doing something important by helping out with residents who are lonely and in need. Just because I have special mental and physical needs doesn’t mean that I can’t give back to the community. It makes me feel good and happy to be doing this work. In addition to my work I also love all the things I get to do with my friends, including Best Buddies, Magic Friend to Friend, going out to the movies and restaurants. Eating out is definitely one of my favorite things and we do it almost every Sunday with my Avalon house staff and roommates. I’m really lucky to live at Avalon because I have loving roommates and the staff is wonderful. Lily, Renee and Betty take good care of me. Lily always has a warm smile for me and is a great listener. Renee, my residence Case Manager, has a warm heart. And Betty has a good sense of humor. After I have been with my parents for a weekend I like going back to Avalon because I look forward to seeing my roommates and they look forward to seeing me. The house is a happy place. I decided I wanted to live in a group home when I was 14 years old. It has been difficult becoming this independent but I did it, with much help. I am very grateful that so many people have helped me. Which brings me to what I think is really important in life. As I said when I was 12 years old, “The secret of life is love people.” I have many people in my life that I love—family and friends, and all the people who have helped me to get where I am today. I hope that you see what a difference it makes to give back to people—and how good it feels to give money to a good cause. Thank you very much for your support. I hope you have a good dinner. Log in to Reply Dot Walsh says: April 18, 2011 at 7:39 am NEPSA had a very successful conference on Saturday the 16th. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers who helped out during the day and for the presenters who inspired us and encouraged us to keep on with what we are doing and to reach out to others in the community. Magical Strings had its annual concert at the Peace Abbey and once again touched our hearts with the wonderful music. We all want to send our prayers to Pam Boulding who is recovering from pnuemonia and look forward to seeing them next year. Log in to Reply Sarah Fuhro says: April 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm For me the Peace Abbey is not as much as about the many interesting objects collected and displayed, as it is about what takes place here on a daily basis. Whenever I show up at the Peace Abbey, something amazing, hopeful and totally unexpected is going on. It’s a place of creativity, and humanity. I have met Israeli and Palestinian warriors who work together for peace. I have met the couple who were the subject of the movie, Hotel Rwanda. I have played with a little Iraqi girl and her father who were here to have her arm repaired after she was shot by an American soldier, while my soldier son was in Iraq. I have learned about the work of so many wonderful people who work for a vision of the human family living in dignity and peace with the rest of the planet. I have heard wonderful music, poetry and learned new skills in non violent communication. I have been welcomed and encouraged to set up a seminar, a fundraiser or a documentary for issues I care about. I have munched vegan food with people who give their lives in joyful service to others. I have come to meditate, to meet greyhounds, to wash hands in communion with the young people from the Life Experience School. I have pulled the heavy stone memorial to Unknown Civilians Killed in Wars, and listened to the stories of courageous people from around the world. When you need a healing dose of hope and courage to continue whatever you do for change, drop in. This place needs to continue to thrive and surprise us all. Log in to Reply Lewis Randa says: April 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm A special thanks to everyone who takes the time to share their thoughts and prayers about The Peace Abbey. As has happened in the past in support of the Abbey, one thousand dollars has been donated for each year of a special person’s life. A thousand dollars was donated by Yoko Ono for each year of John Lennon’s life in in 1992, and most recently, a thousand dollars was donated for each year of the life of a special needs student who attended the Life Experience School a few years ago by her loving parents. How perfect it would be if 8 people gave one thousand dollars to the Abbey for each year of Bobby Kennedy’s life. When the 1968 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy ended on that tragic day in June in LA, the stirrings of the Life Experience School and Peace Abbey began in my heart and in my actions. For nearly 40 years, RFK’s unfinished contribution to peace has been the driving force of my life. As Bobby would say at the end of his stump speeches, “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?” There are few places that dream things that never were over such a long period of time, and make them a reality, as this organization. With your help, we will have more time to shape dreams into reality. Thanks for your continued support. Lewis Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment.