Peaceful Leadership

By Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan, Visitation Alumna

With Lent fast approaching and a month celebrating love and presidential leadership at a close, I have been contemplating ways of leadership that are not as widely celebrated or acknowledged. I offer this reflection in the context of the Sisters who are called to be a prayerful, peaceful presence in north Minneapolis. Their example of peaceful leadership that works actively toward change and healing calls to mind Peace Pilgrim, Daniel Berrigan, S.J., and Dorothy Day. So today for your prayer I offer three quotes from these wise people, people of peace, peace I hope for both myself and others; peace as a way of leadership as Jesus role models for us in Lent.

“This is the way of peace:
Overcome evil with good,
and falsehood with truth,
and hatred with love.”
….
Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

….Daniel Berrigan

“What we would like to do is change the world–make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute–the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words–we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.”
….Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day

Pray for peace within yourself first, and once it is attained and deepened in you, it radiates out in others you encounter. The Sisters show us peaceful leadership by their actions, their attitudes, and their hearts and we too are called to lead with peace. The Sisters have many lay companions working with them, inspired by them, and who inspire them. However, don’t just take my testament to the Sisters way of life if you are discerning religious life join them for their next Come & See weekend this Lent in March.

In peace.

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  1. dear beth,
    i never got back to you on these lovely quotes. i have had the privedge of meeting dorothy day on my way to a un protest when we stayed at mary house and i hosted dan berrigan when he was at our campus ministry site for a weekend workshop in michigan and stayed at the rectory where i worked….never met peace pilgrim but have the book. peace, love and joy! suzanne

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