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  1. In all cases you will receive emails from Kassandra Souza, Administrative Assistant, at beatitudescentermb@gmail.com and if you have any problems or concerns contact Kassandra at this email address.

“Peacemaking and Creation Spirituality Today” with Rev. Matthew Fox

November 11, 2023

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Rev. Matthew Fox is one of the most well-known Christian authors and spiritual teachers in the world today. A former Catholic priest, he was silenced under Pope John Paul II for speaking out, left the Dominicans and became an Episcopal priest. He has lectured around the world, and founded the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California, which closed in 2007. He has since taught at Stanford University, Vancouver School of Theology, Association for Transpersonal Psychology, the California Institute of Integral Studies, Schumacher College, the Findhorn Foundation, and the Omega Institute, among other places. 

Rev. Matthew Fox is the author of thirty-seven books, including best-sellers such as: Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, The Reinvention of Work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Christian Mystics and The Pope’s War. He has contributed much to the rediscovery of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas as pre-modern mystics and prophets. Fox holds a doctorate in the history and theology of spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. His latest books are Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God; Stations of the Cosmic Christ; and The Lotus & the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity.  

In 2005, when Cardinal Ratzinger was made pope, Fox went to Martin Luther’s church in Wittenberg, Germany and pounded 95 contemporary theses at the door to call people to a New Reformation. Six years later, after documenting 30 years of Vatican corruption in the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict VI in The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled The Church And How It Can Be SavedFox repeated his protest, nailing his 95 Theses outside of the Roman basilica of Cardinal Law, who covered up sexual abuses committed by more than 90 priests in his archdiocese.

More recently Fox, along with Skylar Wilson and Jennifer Listug, launched a new vision in the Order of the Sacred Earth: both a book and a new spiritual order. The OSE is a community and movement of people of varied belief systems (or non-belief systems) who share one sacred vow: “I promise to be the best lover and defender of the Earth that I can be.”

He has been interviewed in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Yoga Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, New Age Journal, Utne Reader, Spirituality and Health, Tikkun, Science of Mind, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, The Independent (London), The Guardian, YES! Magazine, and Caduceus Journal, as well as The Today Show, Democracy Underground, The Young Turks, the BBC and Brazilian, Canadian and Italian television.

In preparation for this important session with Rev. Matthew Fox, please study his website, www.matthewfox.org and the new collection, “Matthew Fox: Essential Writings” (Orbis Books).

 This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

 You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after Zoom link is issued. 

If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at: beatitudescentermb@gmail.com Join us! 

To ask about scholarships, please write to beatitudescentermb@gmail.com

Thomas Merton and the Advent Message of Prayer, Peace & Hope” with Jonathan Montaldo

December 9, 2023

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Jonathan Montaldo is a writer, editor, retreat presenter and longtime teacher of Thomas Merton. He will reflect on Merton’s teachings and legacy as a “contemplative mentor” for those doing inner work to become persons who make peace and work for justice.

Jonathan served as director of the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University, in Louisville, Kentucky, the official archive of the writer’s legacy, from 1998 -2001. He was Associate Director (2006-2009) for the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living in Louisville, for which he created “Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton,” a ten-booklet resource for small group dialogue. He served, in tandem, as the director of Bethany Spring, the Merton Institute’s Retreat Center one mile from Merton’s Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey.

He edited “A Year with Thomas Merton;” “Dialogues with Silence: Merton’s Prayers & Drawings;” “Choosing to Love the World,” and “Thomas Merton in His Own Words.” He was principal editor of “The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals” with Brother Patrick Hart of Gethsemani Abbey. He edited the second volume of Merton’s private journals, published in seven volumes by HarperCollins, under the title “Entering the Silence (1945-1959).”

Jonathan has narrated five audiobooks of Merton’s work: New Seeds of Contemplation, No Man Is An Island, Thoughts in Solitude, Contemplative Prayer, and The Intimate Merton. He narrated “Praying with Thomas Merton,” a two-set CD with the book’s editor and musician Dr. Kathleen Deignan of Iona College. He also served as Co-General Editor with publisher Gray Henry of Fons Vitae Publishing in Louisville, Kentucky for the Merton series in nine volumes, “Thomas Merton and World Religions.” He also edited Fons Vitae’s “We Are Already One: Reflections on Thomas Merton’s Centenary, 2015.”

His current projects include a play on Thomas Merton, “Litter,” and a manuscript, “Contemplative Mentoring: Reading Thomas Merton’s Journals for Self-Development in Solitude or Community.” He is a monthly contributing writer for the online English edition of the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Join us!

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com  See you then!

If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at: beatitudescentermb@gmail.com Join us! 

To ask about scholarships, please write to beatitudescentermb@gmail.com

“The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
with Jonathan Eig, author of “King: A Life”

NEW DATE!
Saturday, January 6, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Last summer, the first full biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. in many decades was published. King: A Life, by Jonathan Eig, mixes revelatory and exhaustive new research with brisk and accessible storytelling to forge the definitive life of Martin Luther King. I urge everyone to get it and study it!

King: A Life is the first book to include recently declassified FBI files, as well as the unpublished diaries and writings of some of his closest friends and associates. In this revelatory new portrait of the Civil Rights leader, preacher and teacher of Gospel nonviolence, we get an intimate view of his courageous but sometimes emotionally troubled life. As Eig writes, he demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. Eig casts “fresh light on the King family’s origins as well as King’s complex relationships with his wife, father, and fellow activists. King reveals a minister wrestling with his own human frailties and dark moods, a citizen hunted by his own government, and a man determined to fight for justice even if it proved to be a fight to the death. As he follows King from the classroom to the pulpit to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Memphis, Eig dramatically re-creates the journey of a man who recast American race relations and became our only modern-day founding father—as well as the nation’s most mourned martyr. In this landmark biography, Eig gives us a King for our times: a deep thinker, a brilliant strategist, and a committed radical who led one of history’s greatest movements, and whose demands for racial and economic justice remain as urgent today as they were in his lifetime.” Join us!

Jonathan Eig is the bestselling author of Ali: A Life, winner of a 2018 PEN America Literary Award and a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize. He also served as a senior consulting producer for the PBS series Muhammad Ali. His first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, won the Casey Award. Eig’s books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have been listed among the best of the year by The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

Falling in Love with God Who Loves the Earth”:
Theologian Elizabeth Johnson in conversation with John Dear

Saturday, February 10, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Sr. Elizabeth Johnson is one of the most widely respected theologians of our time. This February, Orbis Books will publish her latest book, called: “Come, Have Breakfast: Meditations on God and the Earth.” During this zoom, Elizabeth Johnson will talk with John Dear about her new book, God, Jesus, scripture, theology and Mother Earth.  

Sr. Elizabeth A. Johnson, CSJ is distinguished professor of theology emerita at Fordham University in New York City. A former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and also of the American Theological Society, an ecumenical association, she loves to teach and mentor. Following her retirement, she was inducted into Fordham University’s Hall of Honor. The recipient of many accolades, she authored She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse which received the Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Among her many other books are Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God; and Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love.  

Her latest work, a series of 30 meditations, looks at Earth, its beauty and threatened state, in relation to God. Each meditation offers a snapshot of one aspect of the holy mystery who creates, indwells, redeems, vivifies, and sanctifies the whole world. Together, they offer a panoramic view of the living God who loves the Earth, accompanies all its inhabitants in their living, evolving, and dying, and inspires us to care for our uncommon common home. It will be a blessing to learn from this great theologian.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

“The Gospel of Peace: Matthew, Mark and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence.”
A Three Week Lenten Series with John Dear

Wednesday, February 21. Session #1 on Matthew.
Wednesday, February 28. Session #2 on Mark.
Wednesday, March 6. Session #3 on Luke.

Each session will be at:

4:00 pm Pacific/5 pm Mountain/ 6 pm Central/7 pm Eastern

During this three week Lenten class, John Dear will discuss his new book, his life’s work: “The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence” (Orbis). It is the first ever commentary on the Synoptic Gospels from the perspective of active nonviolence, in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. King.

During these three zoom sessions, John will address basic themes of nonviolence in each of the synoptic Gospels, pointing out Jesus’ practice and teachings on nonviolence, peace and universal love. He will present Jesus like Gandhi and Dr. King—nonviolent to the core, a disarming, healing presence toward those in need and a revolutionary disrupter of the unjust status quo and a political threat to the ruling authorities who succeed in killing him, only to push Jesus to the heights of nonviolence through his death and resurrection. It is recommended that you get the book (which will be available from Orbis Books by early November, 2023) and bring your questions.  Participants of this zoom program will be able to order the book at a big discount. While the book costs $34, Beatitudes Center zoom participants can get copies at the special discount rate of $20 each. Call Orbis Books, 1-800-258-5838, order a copy (or copies) and give them the special promo code: JDT.

 

The three classes will be as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 21. Session #1 on Matthew.

Wednesday, Feb. 28. Session #2 on Mark.

Wednesday, March 6. Session #3 on Luke.

Each session will be at:

4:00 Pacific/5 pm Mountain/ 6 pm Central/7 pm Eastern

Registration for all three sessions costs $75.

Scholarships are available.

Each session will last an hour and a half. 

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

***

Here are some endorsements of the book:

“John Dear is one of the few towering figures in the Christian nonviolent freedom and peace movement in our time! This powerful book should not be missed!” —Cornel West

“No living person has done more to root Jesus’ message of nonviolence and peace in scripture than John Dear. Follow John’s lead through Matthew, Mark and Luke and, like those disciples on the Emmaus Way, your heart will be set afire with excitement to tell others the Good News!” –Wes Howard-Brook

“Prepare to be inspired, as John Dear guides you on a journey into the nonviolent revolution grounded in Jesus and his Way of Love.  Along the way, you will encounter anew the steadfast fearlessness of figures like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, and Oscar Romero…and find yourself ready to join them in this holy work.” –The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry,

Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

“Fr. John Dear’s passion for peace illumines every page of this book.  Recognizing the Beatitudes and the Sermon of the Mount as a blueprint for the life of Christ, John Dear demonstrates how the gospels are a blueprint for peace, inviting believer and nonbeliever alike to follow the Prince of Peace by living the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. For all who are interested in the Gospel vision of peace and nonviolence, and who have been moved by John Dear’s lifelong ministry of peace building, this book is a must read.” –Most Rev. Archbishop John Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM

“Each time I consult this magnificent commentary for insight into a particular gospel passage, I am drawn further into the nonviolent teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  As John Dear convincingly demonstrates, Jesus was their inspiration. The Gospel of Peace lovingly confronts us all with what it means to follow Jesus in all dimensions of life. It is the master class on Christian discipleship.” –The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C.

“John Dear is an authentic follower of Christ whose life as a Christian and priest has gotten him arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience 85 times.  His witness is not unlike that of Paul and other early Christians who dared to speak truth to the Roman empire. In this brilliant and very readable book, he offers a stunningly fresh interpretation of three gospels that puts Jesus’ basic message of love, justice, and the beatitudes as central to his teaching—which it was.  Just reading his treatment of Mary as the contemplative, active and prophetic nonviolent model that she was in Luke’s gospel, is cause enough to study and celebrate this book.  Bede Griffiths, a Catholic monk who lived in India for over fifty years, said that Gandhi ‘applies Jesus’ teachings to social and political life in a way which no one before him had done, making the beatitudes a matter of practical concern few Christians did before him.’  Here, in the spirit of his nonviolent mentor Gandhi, John Dear does the same.  This book is a masterpiece opening the door anew to the revolutionary Good News of Jesus, his life, death and teachings.”—Rev. Matthew Fox, author and teacher

Fr. John Dear’s commentary on the synoptic gospels from the perspective of nonviolence is needed especially now.  With the Third World War being fought piecemeal as our Holy Father Pope Francis regularly reminds us, and the violence of handguns and assault weapons daily taking the lives of God’s children in the U.S., we Christians need to be reminded that the Gospel of Jesus is about peace.  Father John Dear’s book helps us reflect on Jesus the Peacemaker and assists us in becoming blessed peacemakers ourselves.”

–Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, President of Pax Christi USA

“The Gospel of Peace is a thoughtful, deeply challenging reflection on the synoptic Gospels that captures the complexity, depth and nuances of nonviolence in the word and witness of Jesus. Lifting up the unique character of each evangelist’s version of the story, The Gospel of Peace makes clear the many contemporary applications of Gospel nonviolence on the way to just peace. It will be a valuable resource for all who seek to understand and to live the nonviolence that Jesus taught.” –Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International and Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

“Reading the Gospels in jail can alter one’s hermeneutic. Such a location frees your perspective. Witness what’s been elicited here, a spiritual thread so long, so thoroughgoing, so relentless. John Dear has pulled that thread, producing a resource for mission and movement much overdue. Following the best of scholarship, along with the sighted vision of Gandhi and King, he brings into focus the gospel of nonviolence embedded within the Gospels Synoptic – too long unseen, unsought, unwelcome, and above all, unimagined – now visible and in the light. Look and see. It’s the remedy we need to heal our history and transform what’s to come. Thanks be!”  –Bill Wylie-Kellermann, editor, Keeper of the Word: The Selected Writings of William Stringfellow

Pope Francis’ Latest Teachings on Peace, War & Climate Change with Marie Dennis

Saturday, March 23, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

With the ongoing Russian war on Ukraine, and the Israeli war on Palestine, as well as catastrophic climate change and the ever-present nuclear risk, Pope Francis continues to speak out boldly against war, for peace and nonviolence, and for immediate global steps to confront climate change and use alternatives to fossil fuels. Though his prophetic voice is ignored by the world, we as Beatitudes people want to hear his call to peace and respond.

Recently, Pope Francis published a new book called “Against War: Building a Culture of Peace,” (Orbis Books) which gathers all his statements calling for peaceful alternatives to war and the pursuit of a new culture of nonviolence. He also issued a follow-up to his historic encyclical on the environment, called “Laudate Deum.” On Saturday, March 23rd, longtime Pax Christi leader, teacher and author Marie Dennis will outline all these latest developments and teachings and how we might help promote Pope Francis’ work for peace and creation.

“Faced with the images of death that come to us from Ukraine, it is difficult to hope,” Francis wrote recently. “Yet there are seeds of hope. There are millions who do not aspire to war, who do not justify war. Millions of young people are asking us to do everything possible and seemingly impossible to stop the war, to stop all wars. It is in thinking first of all of them, of young people and children, that we must repeat together: Never again war! And together we must commit ourselves to building a world that is more peaceful because it is more just, where it is peace that triumphs and not the folly of war; justice, and not the injustice of war; mutual forgiveness, and not the hatred that divides and makes us see the other, the person who is different from us, as an enemy.”

Marie Dennis is senior advisor to the secretary general of Pax Christi International and program chair of Pax Christi’s Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. She was co-president of Pax Christi International from 2007 to 2019 and was given the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace award in 2022. Marie worked for the Maryknoll Missioners from 1989 to 2012, including 15 years as director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. She is author or co-author of seven books, editor of Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence (Orbis Books, 2017) and co-editor of Advancing Nonviolence in the Church and the World (Pax Christi International 2020).

Marie was one of the primary organizers of two conferences on nonviolence and just peace (2016 and 2019) that were cosponsored by the Vatican and Pax Christi International. She served on the Vatican’s COVID 19 Commission and was the National Catholic Reporter’s Person of the Year in 2016. She has previously served on the national boards of JustFaith Ministries, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Sojourners magazine and several other organizations. She is a lay woman, a secular Franciscan, a mother of six and a grandmother of nine. She is a member of the Assisi Community in Washington, D.C.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

Blessed Are the Nonviolent with Michael Nagler

April 13, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Michael Nagler is one of the leading teachers of nonviolence in the US.

Author and lecturer, he is the founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence (See: www.mettacenter.org), and professor emeritus of peace studies at U.C. Berkeley and founder of its program. His books include “The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action;” “The Search for a Nonviolent Future;” and “The Third Harmony: Nonviolence and the New Story of Human Nature.”

During his presentation, he will reflect on the nonviolence of Gandhi and Dr. King and how we can practice it and apply it today in our current crisis of global violence.

“Gandhi made extravagant claims for nonviolence, which I believe are absolutely and without exaggeration true,” Michael Nagler writes. “He backed them with his character — and more importantly, with his life.  No one can accuse Gandhi of distortion or hyperbole with any justice. Among his claims were that nonviolence was infallible and that it is human nature, thus human destiny.  He also claimed and demonstrated that it can be offered and practiced by anyone of any race, class, or gender and of any age.  He showed, through his Shanti Sena (Peace Army), All-India Spinning Association and other organizations, that nonviolence can be institutionalized.  With Martin Luther King, he warned that we have no real choice but to learn it and engage it wherever possible: our only choice is ‘nonviolence or non-existence.’

“In my presentation, I will try to address all these claims, including the understanding of human nature today in science and the historical record of nonviolent efforts since Gandhi’s time.  Finally, I will reflect on Dr. King’s famous question, ‘Where do we go from here?’  Where and how can we apply this great force — as Gandhi showed it was – to today’s seemingly insurmountable problems?”

 This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

 You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after Zoom link is issued. 

If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at: beatitudescentermb@gmail.com Join us! 

To ask about scholarships, please write to beatitudescentermb@gmail.com

The Life and Witness of Poland’s Solidarity Martyr, Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko with Judith Kelly

Saturday, May 11, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko of Poland is one of the greatest heroes of daring nonviolence in modern history, the Martin Luther King of Poland. He was a beloved priest, bold political prophet, and a martyr of Gospel nonviolence. Everyone should know about him.

Born in 1947, he was ordained in 1972 and served in various churches around Warsaw. Sometimes ailing, and by temperament reserved, rarely did he enter the political fray or take part in discussions on the subject. But shortly after the Gdansk ship workers went on strike in August 1980, joined after that by the Warsaw steelworkers, the strikers occupying the steel plant asked the diocese to send a priest to offer Mass. The chancery sent Fr. Jerzy. His life was changed, and so was the movement.

By all accounts, the Mass was electrifying. The steel workers captured Fr. Jerzy’s heart. He became their pastor, and the church where he lived, St. Stanislaw Kostka, became an unofficial headquarters for the workers, unionists, and supporters. As the Solidarity movement grew, it pitted itself against the brutal Communist regime, and Fr. Jerzy stood in living solidarity with the movement. In December 1981, the government declared martial law, and Solidarity was banned. Police detained thousands of members and supporters, and as the movement struggled to go on, Fr. Jerzy stayed with them, helping as he could. He was a supportive presence at trials of Solidarity members. He ministered to their families. Then a few months after martial law was imposed, he offered a special “Mass for the Nation.” Thousands turned out.

The Church was the one institution in Poland which martial law couldn’t quite reach. It became the place where dissenters gathered. Fr. Jerzy was a stabilizing presence, an encourager, a plain truth-teller in his sermons. He radiated strength and hope at a time when both were in short supply. Soon his sermons were broadcast throughout Poland and later, Europe.

The regime took notice—and the slander campaign against him began. They pressured church hierarchs to remove him. As for Fr. Jerzy, he responded like a good shepherd: “The mission of the church is to be with the people and to share in their joys and sorrows. To serve God is to condemn evil in all its manifestations.”

Security police held him under constant surveillance. Provocateurs interrupted his Masses. He came home one night to find his home had been vandalized, on another occasion bombed. In 1983 the police arrested him on trumped-up charges; they said they had found stockpiles of explosive in his rectory. Dark figures drove by the rectory all night honking their horns.

On October 1984, the police staged a car accident. But he escaped unharmed. A week later, on October 19, 1984, while he and his driver were returning from an evening Mass at a remote church, security officers stopped them and forced Fr. Jerzy into the trunk of their car. Fr. Jerzy’s driver escaped into the night. Fr. Jerzy wasn’t seen alive again.Eleven days after he was kidnapped, on October 30, 1984, his body was found. He had been savagely beaten with clubs, tied with a rope, loaded with stones, and dumped, still alive, into a reservoir. He was 37 years old.

“If we must die suddenly, it is surely better to meet death defending a worthwhile cause than sitting back and letting injustice win,” Fr. Jerzy once said. His funeral drew a million people, and marked the beginning of the end of the brutal Communist regime.

Fr. Jerzy invites all of us to break through our fear, silence, despair, complicity and indifference, to step up to the plate and follow Jesus by joining the prophetic struggle for justice and peace. He reminds us that all of us need to speak out publicly, and give our lives in nonviolent, suffering love for the poor and oppressed. That, he says, makes for a more meaningful life “than sitting back and letting injustice win.”

I’m happy to welcome my friend Judith Kelly, longtime peace activist and author of the book, Just Call Me Jerzy, that tells the story of Fr. Jerzy. (To order, email jerzymail30@gmail.com) Please join us to learn more about this great martyr and be inspired to follow the nonviolent Jesus.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

Peace & Nonviolence in the Book of Revelation with Wes Howard-Brook

Saturday, May 25, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

No biblical book has generated more controversy over the centuries than the visionary story penned by John on the island of Patmos, known as “Revelation.” Behind the “end times” misunderstandings of the book lies a grand vision of God’s long journey with humanity, with the Lamb of God enthroned over all creation. Biblical scholar and author, Wes Howard-Brook will help us to see the text as a manifesto for nonviolence and discipleship in the midst of Empire and thus a fitting ending to the biblical canon.

Wes Howard-Brook has been teaching and writing on the Bible since 1988. He was previously an attorney for the federal and Washington state governments but was inspired by the witness of radical discipleship in the early 80s to change his life around. Since 2001, he and his wife and ministry partner, Sue, have been writing, teaching and leading retreats and classes under their ministry of “Abide in Me,” (see: www.abideinme.net)

Wes is author, co-author or editor of seven fantastic books on the Bible, including Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now (Orbis 2000); Becoming Children of God: Reading the Gospel of John (Orbis); and Come Out My People!: God’s Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond (Orbis). He recently retired from teaching at Seattle University to develop “Radical Bible,” a YouTube channel offering in-depth work on the Bible at no charge. He has completed the book of Revelation and is continuing work on Luke/Acts, the books of Samuel and Genesis. Wes and Sue live in the Issaquah Creek Watershed, next to Tiger Mountain, on unceded indigenous land of the Snoqualmie People, 15 miles east of Seattle.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

The Biblical Wisdom of William Stringfellow
with Bill Wylie-Kellermann

Saturday, June 8, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

William Stringfellow (1929-1985) was a theologian who influenced many people in the freedom struggle and the anti-war resistance, especially with his teachings that we are called against, as St. Paul said, “the principalities and powers.” Daniel Berrigan called him, “a keeper of the Word,” for his care and nurture of the biblical witness.

During his life, Stringfellow served a lawyer in Harlem, an author of 13 books which are still in print (see: www.wipfandstock.com) and an essayist and commentator on the Civil Rights movement, anti-war movement, and the ongoing crisis of American politics. In 1968, he nearly died from a series of health issues and moved to Block Island, Rhode Island. In August, 1970, Daniel Berrigan was arrested at Stringfellow’s house there after being underground for 5 months.

In 1962, when the great scholar Karl Barth visited the U.S., several theologians were invited to respond to his talk on a panel, including young Stringfellow. As TIME magazine reported, Barth said the only person people in the U.S. should be listening to is young Stringfellow.

“My task is to understand America biblically,” Stringfellow later wrote, that is, “to treat the nation within the tradition of biblical politics—to understand America biblically—not the other way around, not (to put it in an appropriately awkward way) to construe the Bible Americanly.” Stringfellow remains one of the most insightful Christian scholars in modern history, and his teachings remain valid and relevant today.

Bill Wylie-Kellermann was a friend and mentee of Stringfellow, and edited two great anthologies: “William Stringfellow: Essential Writings” (Orbis, 2013), and “A Keeper of the Word: Selected Writings of William Stringfellow” (Eerdmans, 1994). We encourage you to get one of these books and study Stringfellow in advance of the zoom.

Bill Wylie-Kellermann is also the author of “Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Reflections on Liturgical Direct Action” (Orbis, 1991; Wipf &Stock, 2009) and “Celebrant’s Flame: Daniel Berrigan in Memory and Reflection” (Wipf and Stock, 2021). He is a community activist, teacher, writer, sometimes poet, and Methodist pastor retired from St Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. He is now also based at Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Stroudsburg, PA. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary NYC, he was a co-founder of Word and World: A Peoples’ School; served as M.Div. Director for the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (Chicago); and has taught at Ecumenical Theological Seminary and the Marygrove MA in Social Justice. He has been engaged in resistance and direct action for justice and peace for 5 decades, beginning with anti-war and anti -nuclear actions, but also increasingly urban, for example with the Detroit water struggle and Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign. His teaching, writing, and action are generally framed by Stringfellow’s theology of the “principalities and powers.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

People Power Peacemaking with Rivera Sun

Saturday, June 22, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Author and activist Rivera Sun will speak on “People Power Peacemaking: How Civil Society Stops War”, a virtual talk on how everyday people have halted and prevented violent conflicts around the world. Contrary to common view, wars are not always won or prevented by military or even diplomacy. Sometimes, determined and passionate societies halt them – or keep them from breaking out in the first place.

While there has been growing awareness of the research by Prof. Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan that nonviolent strategies are twice as effective as violent ones—and that various stories of nonviolent resistance in war zones have increasingly surfaced—Rivera carried out systematic research collecting stories from every continent on the history of nonviolent strategies challenging war. The result is a compelling presentation that offers a powerful and comprehensive picture on how everyday people have stopped war. During her talk, she will present 30 examples of organized nonviolent action that has:

  • prevented war
  • replaced war
  • worked to win the war with nonviolent tactics
  • carved out oases of peace during war
  • pushed for an end to a war
  • dismantled pieces of the war machinery, or 
  • built long-lasting nonviolent infrastructure for “security” and “defense.”  

Rivera’s presentation—with cases of effective nonviolent people power from Bolivia to Estonia, from Algeria to Sweden, from South Korea to Niger, and from Ukraine to the United States—dispels the powerlessness we can feel facing the crushing challenges of war, violence, and injustice. As Rivera’s great work stresses, “We have more power than we think.”

Author/Activist Rivera Sun has written numerous books and novels, including The Dandelion Insurrection and the award-winning Ari Ara Series. She is the editor of Nonviolence News and the Program Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence. Her articles are syndicated by Peace Voice and published in hundreds of journals nationwide. Rivera Sun serves on the Advisory Board of World BEYOND War and the board of Backbone Campaign. Visit: www.riverasun.com

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

Mary Lou Kownacki’s Spirituality of Nonviolence” with Anne McCarthy

Saturday, July 13, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Benedictine Sister Mary Lou Kownacki, who died in early 2023, served as one of the early leaders of Pax Christi USA and became a teacher of nonviolence and friend to many of us. One friend called her “the mother of the spirituality of nonviolence.”

In her honor, I’ve invited our friend, Benedictine Sister Anne McCarthy from Erie, PA, another former director of Pax Christi USA, to reflect with us on Mary Lou’s spirituality of nonviolence.

For Mary Lou, a spirituality of nonviolence meant a life of public service for the poor and needy, as well as prophetic speaking against the structures of violence, injustice and war, and steadfast movement organizing in the tradition of Gandhi and Dr. King to create a new culture of nonviolence—but also then a whole other world of inner and interpersonal nonviolence, which she learned from her Benedictine tradition. 

Mary Lou practiced faithful, devout prayer and contemplation every day of her life, which rooted and grounded her peacemaking work in the God of peace. She taught, organized, envisioned new projects, gave speeches, held countless meetings and zooms with “Monasteries of the Heart,” while serving inner-city kids and their mothers in Erie. A spirituality of nonviolence for her meant that she was always building community, forming friendships, and making life easier and better for everyone everywhere. It was as simple—and as difficult—as that. 

Mary Lou’s teachings a basic every day spirituality of nonviolence: reverence and loving kindness toward every human being and all creation; forgiveness toward everyone who ever hurt you and healing and reconciliation with broken relationships; pondering God as unconditional love and infinite mercy; reliance on God with steadfast service to the poor and needy; pitching in to help the grassroots movements for justice, equality, disarmament and creation; building good friendships and widening the beloved community in everything you do; living in the present moment of God’s peace; and cultivating wonder, beauty, gratitude and joy so that you are always on the side of resurrection.  

She was clear too: never harm another human being ever again. Instead, try to love yourself and every human being, and show that love in concrete deeds, especially toward those being marginalized or killed by our nation. Speak out publicly for justice and disarmament; don’t give up on peace and justice work; and make every day a living prayer for peace. Take risks for justice and peace, and envision new ways to build a culture of nonviolence. Keep at it till the end. 

Her spirituality of nonviolence was not overly pious, but it was seriously practical. This is where her Benedictine monasticism flavored her approach to nonviolence so that her pursuit of nonviolence led to new projects, programs, movements and visions that actually helped people. Join us as Sr. Anne McCarthy reflects on the spirituality and practice of Gospel nonviolence.  She writes, “The feast of St Scholastica is a perfect time to reflect on Mary Lou Kownacki, who, above all, loved monastic life.”

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

Philip Berrigan’s Prophetic Life & Writings for Peace and Disarmament”: Brad Wolf, editor of Phil Berrigan’s writings

Saturday, August 3, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Philip Berrigan was one of the foremost Christian peace activists of the Twentieth Century. A former priest, he helped lead the movement to end the Vietnam War by launching the Baltimore Four action in 1967 and the Catonsville Nine action (with his brother Daniel) in 1968, when they poured homemade napalm on draft files, burned them and awaited arrest. Later, Phil founded Jonah House as a community of permanent resistance to war and nuclear weapons, and founded the Plowshares movement. He participated in the Plowshares Eight, the Pax Christi-Spirit of Life Plowshares (with John Dear), the Depleted Uranium Plowshares, and spent over 11 years of his life in prison. He died from cancer at Jonah House in Baltimore on Dec. 6, 2002.

For the first time, Phil’s writings have been gathered in a magnificent new collection called “A Ministry of Risk: The Writings of Philip Berrigan on Peace and nonviolence” edited by Brad Wolf. It was published this spring by Fordham Univ. Press and includes a foreword by Frida Berrigan, introduction by Bill Wylie-Kellermann, and afterword by John Dear.

Brad is a lawyer, former prosecutor, director of Peace Action Lancaster, and leader of the “Merchants of Death” War Crimes Tribunal (visit www.merchantsofdeath.org). He lives with his family in Lancaster, PA. He spent the pandemic researching and reading all Phil’s writings at his archives at Cornel and DePaul. Brad will review the life and message of Phil Berrigan, and share some of the lessons and wisdom Phil learned over the course of his heroic life as he followed the nonviolent Jesus and resisted U.S. warmaking full-time. (See www.philipberrigan.com and www.danielberrigan.org

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

“Lessons from a Lifelong Activist: From Advocating for Nuclear Disarmament to Saving Elephants” – Kristal Parks

Saturday, August 17, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

To be a Christian and a peacemaker in a world of injustice, violence and war is to be a public activist who stands up, speaks out, and takes action, like Jesus and the early church, to Francis and Clare, to Gandhi and Dorothy Day, to Rosa Parks and Dr. King. My friend Kristal Parks is one of the best peace activists I know. Recently, our mutual friend Rev. Matthew Fox urged me to invite her to speak at the Beatitudes Center, to share her story and lessons. What a great idea! Mark your calendars for an inspiring session!

Kristal grew up in Mexico City where her dearest friend was an Indigenous girl who, with her family, lived down the street under a large piece of cardboard that hung from a rope between two trees. Witnessing the injustice of such poverty, Kristal vowed at age 10 to use her life to make a better world.

While in college, she was privileged to study under the Black nationalist, Dr. Ron Karenga, founder of Kwanzaa, who did not advocate for nonviolence. However, at that impressionable age, she also met the activist priests, Philip and Daniel Berrigan, who taught the nonviolence and compassion of Jesus. Wrestling with the two opposing views on how to make a better world, Kristal chose to bet her life on nonviolence. She became active in promoting peace, social justice and ending apartheid in South Africa.

Inspired by the writings and examples of Gandhi and King, and interpreting Jesus as a nonviolent revolutionary, Kristal spent 10 years witnessing for peace and an end to war at nuclear weapons sites. Her prayers and actions for peace and disarmament landed her in jail numerous times including solitary confinement. Her time behind bars made it clear that a deep, inner spirituality was required if she was going to survive the demands and personal cost of nonviolent social change.

Kristal began to study meditation under the guidance of Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, who taught an “engaged” Buddhism. In the 80’s Kristal worked as a nonviolent “human shield” in Guatemala to protect female Maya activists who were in the crosshairs of the death squads of the government’s genocidal war. Later, she went to Southeast Asia and volunteered in refugee camps, helping orphaned children, abandoned by their America soldier fathers, to find sponsors in the US. She weekly visits immigrants in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detention.

After a two year retreat, she began to take action on behalf of creation. She started with a 12 day water only hunger strike to awaken the public to the torture of elephants by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. After 12 years of active work to get elephants out of the circus, she, along with others, succeeded! In 2005 Kristal went to Africa, and started Pachyderm Power! Love in Action, which worked in Kenya for 10 years. Elephants are now going extinct due to the climate caused droughts and poaching. Kristal continues to work passionately to stop their extinction.

In October 2024, she will speak to 700,000 people in India about launching a new movement to save all the elephants in India! Join us to hear Kristal’s amazing story and some of the lessons and wisdom she has learned along the way. Visit www.kristalparks.com Please tell your friends to listen in to!

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

“We Are All One: Honoring Sacred Wisdom, Women of Color & Environmental Justice” with Dr. Melanie Harris

Saturday, September 7, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Dr. Melanie Harris is the Director of Food, Health and Ecological Well Being and Professor of Black Feminist and Womanist Theologies jointly appointed with Environmental Studies, African American Studies and the School of Wake Forest Divinity at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Formerly Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Texas Christian University, her leadership, teaching, research, and scholarship focus on the areas of Religious Social Ethics, Environmental Justice, Womanist  Ethics, and African American Religion.

She is the author of Ecowomanism: African-American Women and Earth Honoring Faiths, along with Gifts of Virtue: Alice Walker and Womanist Ethics and co-editor of the volume Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. She has published widely in the field of leadership ethics, access in higher education, diversity, equity, inclusion, and ecowomanism.

She is currently writing two books engaging Black interfaith contemplative thought and climate Justice, and the activism of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer. Dr. Harris has served on a number of boards including the board of directors of the American Academy of Religion and cofacilitates teaching and pedagogy workshops with The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion incorporated with the Lilly Foundation.  

In this time of catastrophic climate change, Dr. Harris teaches about “Ecowomanism,” a fresh, new emerging approach to ecology and religion, to honor the voices of women and communities of color whose sacred connection with the earth “roots” their approach to environmental justice. Recognizing the importance of intersectional analysis, Ecowomanist methodology connects social justice concerns with environmental justice solutions. Revealing new ways of incorporating contemplative and spiritual traditions influenced by African and African American religious thought, Ecowomanism offers a new perspective on how to dismantle systems of hierarchy and oppression to create peace and justice for all beings of earth. 

In her presentation, “We Are All One: Honoring Sacred Wisdom, Women of Color & Environmental Justice,” as in her book, she will ask “What are the relationships between human communities and the Earth? In what ways do religions contribute to, or deprive, communities of Earth knowledgeWhat do African-American women, indigenous women and earth-honoring faiths teach us as we strive for social, economic, racial, gender and environmental justice?” Join us for this important presentation!

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!

“Cherished Belonging: Love in Divided Times” with Rev. Greg Boyle

Saturday, September 14, 2024

11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Rev. Greg Boyle is one of the most well known and beloved religious leaders in the nation. A Jesuit priest, he has spent decades accompanying and working with young people and gangs in Los Angeles, California, and creating alternative ways to rebuild their lives. Father Greg will be with us to reflect on the themes of social belonging, tenderness and love as a way to survive, heal and thrive in this difficult, divided and violent time.

Father Greg is the founder and director of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program, and former pastor of Dolores Mission Church in East Los Angeles, the poorest church in the city. Between 1988-1998, there were close to a thousand people per year killed in that area of Los Angeles from gang-related crime.

By 1988, in an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Boyle, the parish and other community members began to develop positive opportunities for them, including establishing an alternative school, a day care program, and legitimate employment through their project, “Jobs for a Future.” Following the 1992 riots in L.A., they launched their first social enterprise business, Homeboy Bakery. Their great success laid the groundwork for many other social enterprise businesses which led to the creation of their independent nonprofit organization, Homeboy Industries (please visit and read: www.homeboyindustries.org).

Homeboy offers an “exit ramp” for those stuck in a cycle of violence and incarceration. The organization’s holistic approach, with free services and programs, supports around 10,000 men and women a year as they work to overcome their pasts, re-imagine their futures, and break the inter-generational cycles of gang violence. Therapeutic and educational offerings (case management, counseling, and classes), practical services (such as tattoo removal, work readiness, and legal assistance), and job training-focused business (e.g., Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café, and Homeboy Silkscreen & Embroidery) provide healing alternatives to gang life while creating safer and healthier communities.

Father Greg’s best-selling books include: Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion; Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship; Creating a Culture of Tenderness: Embracing Our Kinship with All of Life; The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness; and Forgive Everyone Everything.

Please join us for this special time with this well-respected, wise and brilliant Christian, and invite other friends and colleagues to join as well.

This session will last an hour and a half; Cost: $30. Scholarships are available!

You will be sent a zoom link for the event on the Wednesday before the event. Please be on the lookout for it!

You will receive a recording of the event two days after it, in case you were not able to attend the live program, or want to watch it again. 

Cancellation Policy: Refunds will not be honored after the zoom link is sent out. If you have any questions, please email Kassandra at:

beatitudescentermb@gmail.com See you then!