THE SPECIAL PEACE CORPS
Learn about the Special Peace Corps
at The Life Experience School
which is under the care of the
Peace Abbey Foundation.
Mother Teresa: “My prayer is that The Life Experience School continues to prepare its children to become peacemakers in our troubled world – the true peace that comes from loving and caring and respecting the rights of everyone – my brother, my sister.”
Fr. Daniel Berrigan: ” I wish I had started a place like this. The students are not being trained to be soldiers or corporate rip-off artists. We could use a few more thousand places like this.”
Rosa Parks: “I am very happy to know of the great work you are doing at The Life Experience School that young people might be able to feel themselves useful and helpful to people in need.”
Senator Edward Kennedy: “You are doing an outstanding job working together to help other people. You are certainly carrying on my brother’s (RFK) legacy and exemplify his ideals of community service.”
Diana Chapman Walsh, President, Wellesley College: “We are two very different institutions, Wellesley is a college with a huge endowment and The Life Experience School is a little teeny place with enormous spirit. It seems like a wonderful combination.”
Fr. Francis Soucy, OFM: “The Life Experience School has been closely associated with St. Francis of Assisi, because what the school is doing is very much what St. Francis was doing.”
THE LIFE EXPERIENCE SCHOOL / SPECIAL PEACE CORPS – Founded in 1972
PEACE ABBEY ROOTS
Videos at bottom of page
The Life Experience School, the parent organization of the Peace Abbey, now in its 50th year, continues to provide individuals with learning challenges, complicated by neurological disorders or developmental disabilities with opportunities to be actively involved in the community. Whether through vocational training or altruistic involvement in the Special Peace Corps, members are engaged in meaningful activities that help them secure their place in society.
The spirit of commitment and concern which characterized the decade of the sixties gave birth to The Life Experience School and its programs and projects for young adults with developmental disabilities. The School is humbly dedicated to the memory of Robert Francis Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., the two mentors of its founder. The Peace Abbey was established by The Life Experience School in 1986 and remains the heart and soul of all that the Peace Abbey Foundation endeavors to do.
The work of The Life Experience School has received increasing attention nationally and – more recently – internationally. Participants at the School and Peace Abbey Award ceremonies over the years include: Mother Teresa, The XIV Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Richie Havens, Martin Luther King III, Peter, Paul and Mary, Daniel Berrigan, Maya Angelou, Pete Seeger, Arun Gandhi, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Rosa Parks and many others.
What has attracted the attention of these and thousands of others to the work carried on at The Life Experience School/Program over four decade is the creation of an environment that makes it possible for its members to transcend their apparent disabilities. At LES, disabilities and difficulties in life are seen as personalized growth opportunities which nurture inner development and uniquely equip each person to contribute to works of peace in their community.
“Every one of you will ultimately judge yourself on the effort you have contributed to building a New World Society, and the extent to which your ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”
– Robert Francis Kennedy
WHAT KIND OF PLACE IS IT ANYWAY:
That operates a day program for individuals with disabilities for 50 years where each day everyone can do whatever they want;
That broadcasted the ADHAN (the Islamic Call to Prayer) from its multi-faith Peace Abbey into the small New England town of Sherborn, five times a day, for over 30 years;
That created an Int’l Pacifist Memorial that honors great practitioners of nonviolence next to the town of Sherborn’s War Memorial;
That established a cremation burial ground for conscientious objectors next to the town’s burial ground for soldiers;
That created an interfaith rosary of peace prayers of the 12 major religions of the world that ends with the Christian prayer to love your enemies;
That specializes in engaging young adults with disabilities in peaceful, nonviolent, civil disobedience to empower them as peacemakers;
That created a granite memorial stone for unknown civilians killed in war, had Muhammad Ali unveil it, then physically pulled it 500 miles over 33 days to Washington DC, where it was impounded by the Capital Police on its way over the bridge to Arlington National Cemetery — then shipped it and replica stones to Ireland, England, Japan and Korea to be pulled as a requiem peace walk by international peace activists;
That took a 9-foot statue of Mahatma Gandhi and shoved into the revolving door of Goldman Sachs in Boston with a large sign quoting Gandhi: “The World Holds Enough For Everyone’s Need, Not Everyone’s Greed”, in protest to the economic collapse of 2008 and then brought it to Occupy Boston;
That led an anti-Trump protest in the Center of the Town of Sherborn on Inauguration Day to companion individuals with disabilities as they expressed their outrage over the demeaning of people with physical and developmental challenges;
That gives an Int’l Peace Award to humanitarians (Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Rosa Parks, Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Dan Berrigan, Noam Chomsky and over 150 others), who work for social change through nonviolent direct action;
That created and administers The National Registry for Conscientious Objection to combat war and militarism;
That commissions public works of art in the form of bronze statues of great peacemakers like Mahatma Gandhi, Daniel Berrigan, Muhammad Ali, Mother Teresa, Oscar Romero, JFK, RFK, Obama and his grandmother, Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller, and a Cow named Emily that escaped from the slaughterhouse;
That burns its organization’s state license and certification documents at the Massachusetts State House, then members of the staff and agency client handcuff themselves to the front gate to get arrested and demand that the “R” word in the agency’s name (DMR) that funds it be removed;
That rescued and cared for countless food production animals (cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats) that escaped from slaughterhouses over a period of 30 years;
And, that employs a long, steel Peace Chain to close down the entrance to the local army base to protest US military actions around the world.
COME VISIT AND FIND OUT.
WELCOME TO THE PEACE ABBEY AND LIFE EXPERIENCE SCHOOL!
Learn more about the Life Experience School.
Hallmark special segment on the Peace Abbey and Life Experience School.
Civil disobedience to remove the “R” word from State agency leads to arrests.
Mother Teresa visits Life Experience School in 1988.