The mission of the Peace Abbey Foundation is to create and install public works of art that promote peace and nonviolence; and to administer and care for Abbey Interfaith Peace Chaplaincy, The Pacifist Memorial, The Animal Rights Memorial, Cremation Cemetery for Conscientious Objectors and the National Registry for Conscientious Objection. Throughout the year, the Foundation presents the Int’l Courage of Conscience Award at conferences and peace ceremonies and extends the impact of the Peace Seeds interfaith prayers for peace through their dissemination worldwide.
We conduct and support programs that bring together and promote the cooperation of people of different faith traditions and non-theists as well. We do this in the spirit of the 1986 International Day of Prayer for World Peace, as celebrated that year by religious leaders from around the globe in Assisi, Italy.
The Foundation supports grassroots efforts to link the many dimensions of the peace movement with a committed emphasis on human rights and animal rights. We recognize these two dimensions of intrinsic rights as inextricably interconnected, just as social and economic justice require environmental sustainability and deep respect for the biosphere. Central to our universalist approach is the premise that nonviolence is the most effective and long-term strategy in addressing the multitude of challenges that now threaten our increasingly imperiled planet.
- To Educate: We conduct and sponsor programs and projects that promote a deeper understanding of the importance of service as a way of life. We exemplify this commitment to altruism through our decades-long affiliation with The Life Experience School for young adults with disabilities.
- To link: We conduct and sponsor public events that promote understanding and mutual respect between people of different faith traditions and non-believers. We celebrate examples of artistic expression that elevate the ideals of compassion, cooperation, fairness and peace.
- To Beautify: We commission and install works of art that express the sacredness of life and the power of pacifism and nonviolence. Accordingly, we support efforts that employ the arts in fostering social justice and peace.
- To Participate: We conduct and support programs and projects that further an understanding of the many applications of Gandhian nonviolence and civil disobedience. Accordingly, we initiate, support and participate in peace and justice demonstrations and protests.
SHERBORN — It was a time to honor those who ventured down the road of peace, and also a time to remember a haven along that road.
Last weekend, peace activists from throughout the area came to add nine plaques to the Pacifist Memorial, the one-time entryway to the Peace Abbey.
Those honored include Muhammad Ali, Howard Zinn, Maya Angelou, Daniel Berrigan, Jeanette Rankin, Rachel Corrie, Betsy Sawyer, Corbett Bishop, and Kenneth and Elise Boulding. Six of the individuals honored were recipients of the Peace Abbey “Courage of Conscience” Award and visited the abbey and memorial throughout the years.
During the ceremonies, Lewis Randa, director of the Life Experience School and the former Peace Abbey, called on the audience of about 50 to remember the abbey and what it meant — a “place of care and hospitality” for refugees, human and animal, as well as a repository for the message of peace.
The main buildings that comprised the abbey were sold in 2012; it has now become Abbey Road, a 55-and-over housing community.
As part of the purchase-and-sale agreement, the Pacifist Memorial, the Peace Garden and memorials honoring civilians killed in war and victims of violence remain.
Most of these memorials — including the statues of Gandhi and Emily the Cow — were decorated for the occasion; the sculptor who created these works, Lado Goudjabidze, was on hand to discuss these bronzes, as well as several bronze busts he brought for display.
He also rededicated the Gandhi statue to the next generation of peacemakers. Randa’s grandchildren accepted the original miniature model of the Gandhi statue.
The Pacifist Memorial was established in 1994, honoring practitioners of nonviolence from throughout the world. Before the new plaques were dedicated, members of the audience were called on to read the names of those already on the memorial, from Jesus of Nazareth to John Lennon.
Next to the Pacifist Memorial is Sherborn’s war memorial, featuring the “Memory” statute. From this memorial, Mike Kickham, a veteran who organizes the town’s Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs, read the names of Sherborn’s war dead from colonial times to the present day.
The ceremony also included the release of butterflies and a performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
The event was co-sponsored by the Peace Abbey, the Walpole Peace and Justice Group, the Natick Common Street Spiritual Center and the Life Experience School.
For more information, visit http://www.lesmillis.org/