Daniel Berrigan [1921-2016]
& Philip Berrigan [1923-2002]
N.B.: This is one of more than 60 web pages presenting -- in chronological order -- physical monuments & selected events related to one or more famous peacemakers. For others in the series, see names in red on web page for Famous Peacemakers.
Right click image to enlarge.
May 9, 1921 - Birth of Daniel Berrigan, Virginia, Minnesota (USA). A Midwestern working-class town. Daniel Berrigan, SJ is an American Catholic priest, peace activist, and poet. Daniel and his brother Philip were for a time on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for their involvement in antiwar protests during the Vietnam war.
October 5, 1923 - Birth of Philip Berrigan, Two Harbors, Minnesota (USA). A Midwestern working-class town. Philip Francis Berrigan [1923-2002] was an internationally renowned American peace activist, Christian anarchist & former Roman Catholic priest. Along with his brother Daniel Berrigan, he was for a time on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for acts of vandalism including destruction of government property.
1940 - Birth of Elizabeth McAlister. She will become a Roman Catholic nun, marry Philip Berrigan in 1969, found Jonah House in 1973, & have three children.
Date? - Home of Jerome C. Berrigan, Syracuse, New York (USA). "Jerome C. (Jerry) Berrigan was born in 1919. He is the son of Thomas Berrigan & Frida Fomherz (also spelled Fromhart) & the fourth of their six children. In 1955, Jerome married Carol Rizzo. Jerome & Carol have five children: Philip, Marie, Maria, Jerome Jr. & Carla. Jerome Berrigan was a professor of English at Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse for over 30 years. He has been involved in political protests since the late 1950's and volunteers in various jails, nursing homes & colleges near his home in upstate New York. Jerome’s home became a repository for the family's history and materials collected by Philip & Daniel Berrigan. // The papers, correspondence, photographs & memorabilia contained in the Jerome C. Berrigan Collection reflect the nonviolent resistance efforts of the Berrigan family. Also in this collection are many family photographs. These photographs help create an historical view of the Berrigan brothers & their work. A brief family history is located in Box 1. The collection also reflects the relationships the family has made with other peace activists, scholars & entertainers. // Information about specific protest movements is contained in the Plowshare Actions & Protest Files. This series, arranged chronologically, includes newspaper & magazine articles, as well as general mailings, flyers, court documents, and correspondence. Also contained in this series is a file on the exile of Jonah House, the home of Philip Berrigan & his wife Elizabeth McAlister in Baltimore, Maryland.
1966-1972 - Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (USA). "In 1966, during this period of change, Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, became pastor at the Cornell Catholic Community & also assistant director of Cornell United Religious Work, the umbrella organization for all religious groups on campus. In 1968, Berrigan entered a government office in Catonsville, Maryland, housing drafts cards & napalmed 378 of them, in protest of the Vietnam War. On October 3, 1968, on the eve of his trial, Berrigan addressed a crowd of over 2,000 in Bailey Hall to explain why he was prepared to face 50 years of imprisonment for his action. Berrigan was convicted and sentenced to prison to begin on April 9, 1970. According to Anke Wessels, director of Cornell's Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy, said 'On the very day he was scheduled to begin his prison term, he left his office keys on a secretary's desk in Anabel Taylor Hall and disappeared.' Cornell celebrated Berrigan's impending imprisonment by conducting a weekend-long 'America Is Hard to Find' event on April 17–19, 1970, which included a public appearance by the then-fugitive Berrigan before a crowd of 15,000 in Barton Hall. On August 11, 1970, the FBI apprehended him at the home of William Stringfellow. He was released from prison in 1972."
October 27, 1967 - The Baltimore Four (Berrigan, artist Tom Lewis; and poet, teacher and writer David Eberhardt and United Church of Christ missionary & pastor, the Reverend James L. Mengel) poured blood (blood from several of the four, but additionally blood purchased from the Gay St. Market - according to the FBI - poultry blood- perhaps chicken or duck used by the Polish for soup) on Selective Service records in the Baltimore Customs House. Mengel agreed to the action and donated blood, but decided not to actually pour blood; instead he distributed the paperback 'Good News for Modern Man' (a version of the New Testament) to draft board workers, newsmen & police. As they waited for the police to arrive & arrest them, the group passed out Bibles & calmly explained to draft board employees the reasons for their actions. Berrigan stated in the written statement, 'This sacrificial & constructive act is meant to protest the pitiful waste of American & Vietnamese blood in Indochina.' He was sentenced to six years in prison."
May 17, 1968 - Catonsville Nine, Catonsville, Maryland (USA). "Led by two grey-haired Roman Catholic priests, a small band of antiwar demonstrators last month burst into the headquarters of local draft board 33 in Catonsville, Maryland. Telling the terrified women clerks on duty that they had come for the records, the invaders emptied the contents of four filing drawers into wire rubbish baskets. Then they carried them out the door & burned them in a nearby parking lot, starting the blaze with napalm they had whipped up from a recipe in an Army manual." /// Left image is the draft board building in Catonsville. Right image is from "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine," a play written by Daniel Berrigan based largely on trial transcripts that was produced for the stage in 1971. S
January 25, 1971 - Time Magazine. "Rebel Priests: The Curious Case of the Barrigans."
1969 - Wedding of Philip Berigan & former nun Elizabeth (Liz) McAlister, Baltimore, Maryland (USA). In a private, nonlegal ceremony at Jonah House which they founded as a community to support resistance to war. Their three children, Frida, Jerry & Kate, all grew up to be anti-war activists.
1970 - The Harrisburg Seven. "Led by Philip Berrigan, the 'Seven' were Berrigan, Sister Elizabeth McAlister, Rev. Neil McLaughlin, Rev. Joseph Wenderoth, Eqbal Ahmed, Anthony Scoblick & Mary Cain Scoblick. The group became famous when they were unsuccessfully prosecuted for alleged criminal plots during the Vietnam War era. Six of the seven were Irish Catholic nuns or priests. The seventh was Eqbal Ahmad [1934-1999}, a Pakistani journalist, American-trained political scientist & self-described 'odd man out' of the group. In 1970, the group attracted government attention when Berrigan, then imprisoned, & Sister Elizabeth McAlister were caught trading letters that alluded to kidnapping National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger & blowing up steam tunnels.
June 1973 - Jonah House, St. Peter’s Cemetery, 1301 Moreland Avenue, West Baltimore, Maryland (USA). From a visitor: "A Christian community that began in 1973 with a group of people that included Philip Berrigan, a Catholic Priest, and Elizabeth McAlister, formerly a Catholic nun. Their foundational pillars are nonviolence, resistance & community. They share life & live together at St. Peter’s Cemetery in West Baltimore. Yes – they live at the cemetery and serve as its groundskeepers. Perhaps, you wouldn’t think a cemetery to be a place where you could find refreshments for living, but one visit to this place will change your mind. // I was there last week for a retreat sponsored by the Murphy Justice & Peace Initiative (shout out to the “Murphy folks” – great retreat), and couldn’t help, but marvel at the alternative and creative way of living that surrounded me. Number 1 – they lived at the cemetery! (Ok, that’s different)…and reclaimed it from the dominant culture not as a place to be feared, but as a place of deep reflection. Second, they re-purposed much of the land. They have a garden that includes grape vines, garlic, herbs, fruit trees, and a green house. Growing some of their own food must help them to connect with nature on deeper levels and respect the earth as God’s “good” creation. Additionally, to help clear the land and maintain it, they have nubian goats and llamas living on the property as well. That tripped this city boy out! Here I am walking around the cemetery during our time of reflection during the retreat and a goat and llama walk up on me! LOL. It was really cool. // I could go on about the additional features of the property, but probably the greatest blessing was the people who live there. Liz, Ardeth, Carol & the others who live there are sweet souls who have committed themselves over the years to the daily search for faithful living. Their long obedience in this direction has allowed them to be bright lights for justice and peace issues. I love how they embrace “resistance” as a pillar of the Faith as well. So many times, Followers of Jesus think about study, prayer, meditation, etc. as the recognizable features of the Faith, but the Jonah House Community (and many other Christian communities) remind us that “resistance” is also a non-negotiable ingredient displayed by those who have been touched by Jesus. These ladies who some might call “seniors” dispel the myth that older people have no place in peace & justice activist expression. They put their bodies on the line in protests, rallies, and even acts of courageous defiance to the reality of nuclear proliferation in our world. (Sisters Carol Gilbert, Ardeth Platte, and Jackie Hudson were sentenced to at least 2 1/2 years in prison for vandalizing a nuclear weapons silo in Colorado. They cut through the fence, beat the weapons silo with hammers, and used their blood to paint crosses on it to express their antiwar views. Now THAT’S gangsta! -smile) // It goes without saying that I am extremely touched by the witness of Jonah House. This sanctuary pushes me to think beyond the prescribed path of living provided by the Empire and search for new ways to be in the world. Alternative ways. Creative ways and yes Fun ways to live as an expression of my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. While preparing to leave Jonah House last week, Sister Liz McAlister asked me, “Now when will you be coming back?” No worries – I have a hunch that my feet will find their way to Jonah House with great regularity. I thank God for leading me to another sanctuary – a safe place to search with in and with out." /// Bottom image is "LIZ MCALISTER, FRIDA & PHILIP BERRIGAN, NOVEMBER 8, 1974 AT JONAH HOUSE COMMUNITY."
September 9, 1980 - Plowshares Movement. "Daniel Berrigan, his brother Philip Berrigan, and six others (the "Plowshares Eight") began the Plowshares Movement by trespassing onto the General Electric Nuclear Missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (USA), where they damaged nuclear warhead nose cones & poured blood onto documents & files." The eight: Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, author & poet from New York City; Philip Berrigan, father & co-founder of Jonah House in Baltimore, MD; Dean Hammer, member of the Covenant Peace Community in New Haven, Connecticut; Elmer Maas, musician & former college teacher from New York City; Carl Kabat, Oblate priest & missionary; Anne Montgomery, Religious of the Sacred Heart sister & teacher from New York City; Molly Rush, mother & founder of the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, & John Schuchardt, ex-marine, lawyer, father & member of Jonah House.
1987 - Statue of Fritz Jägerstätter, Saint Malachy Church, North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA). "Why, given the awe-inspiring calendar of saints, is St. Malachy so taken with a virtually unknown Austrian peasant from WW-II times? In God’s providence & with the generosity of Fr. Daniel Berrigan, we possess on a side altar a magnificent carved statue of [Franz] Jägerstätter. The artist, Bob McGovern [1933-2011], one of our fellow parishoners, carved the statue to honor Fr. Dan’s fifty years as a Jesuit in 1987. Fr. Berrigan has great devotion to Jägerstätter, but stripping down in his mid-eighties, donated the statue to St. Malachy as a place where the peace of Christ will be celebrated." Info courtesy of Gerard Lössbroek (Pax Christi International). /// Franz Jägerstätter [1907-1943] was an Austrian conscientious objector sentenced to death & executed by Nazi Germany during World War II. He was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church on October 26, 2007, in Linz (Austria). /// This statue inspired Catholic Worker Johanna Berrigan (related to Berrigan brothers?).
December 6, 2002 - Death of Philip Berigan, Baltimore, Maryland (USA). Wake & funeral held at St. Peter Claver Church, 1546 North Fremont Avenue, West Baltimore. Left image shows banner made from his clothes by his daughters for his funeral. Right image shows tombstone in St. Peter's Cemetery, 1300 Moreland Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland. /// Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus at Boston University, paid this tribute to Berrigan: "Mr. Berrigan was one of the great Americans of our time. He believed war didn't solve anything. He went to prison again and again and again for his beliefs. I admired him for the sacrifices he made. He was an inspiration to a large number of people."
December 15, 2003 - B-29 Bomber "Enola Gay" (permanent exhibit), Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Annex, National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Smithsonian Institution, Dulles Airport, Chantilly, Virginia (USA). The plane which bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Dedication preceeded on Dec. 13 by a conference organized by Prof. Peter J. Kuznick at American University ("Hiroshima in the 21th Century: Will We Repeat the Past?") and a protest Dec. 14 at NY Avenue Presbyterian Chruch. Image shows hibakusha from Japan & US peace activists from Jonah House, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, etc. protesting the exhibit on opening day. Photo by EWL.
April 30, 2008 - Waihopai satellite spy station, near Blenheim (New Zealand). "Three Ploughshares activists gained access to the base & slashed one of the rubber protective domes with a sickle. The giant balloon deflated slowly and draped over the satellite dish. The rubber has since been removed, & the dish is is now exposed, directed at an Intelsat satellite & intercepting international communications."
January 2010 - Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter 105, Veterans For Peace (VFP), Baltimore, Maryland (USA). "The the chapter will again be marching in Baltimore City’s annual Martin Luther King Day parade. In addition to marching bands, equestrian contingents like Buffalo Soldiers, Women In Black & Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, Military Families Speak Out & Vietnam Veterans Against the War marching with us."
July 3-5, 2010 - Plowshares 30th Anniversary & Anti-Nuclear Protest, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee (USA). Sponsored by Nukewatch, the Nuclear Resister & the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA). Left image shows activist Kathy Kelly speaking in front of the Funeral Banner made from the cloth cut from the clothes of PLOWSHARES 8, Father Philip Francis Berrigan as he lay dying in his bed. Click here for talk by Elizabeth McAlister. The weekend concluded with a protst at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge (right image).
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