Anti-war activist nuns to speak Sunday for 30 Days of Peace
ALPENA — As part of Alpena Peace Coalition’s 30 Days of Peace, Dominican Sisters Carol Gilbert, OP, and Ardeth Platte, OP, will present “A Time for Humanity” at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Anne’s Parish Hall of All Saints Catholic Parish. The pair has traveled the globe promoting peace, dignity, and justice, on the platform of nuclear disarmament.
The Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters have both landed in prison for their anti-nuclear weapons protests, but that won’t stop them from doing the work they are called to do. In the Dominican Order, the OP after their names stands for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers.
They joined the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a collaborative of hundreds of peace organizations dedicated to informing the world of the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of using nuclear weapons. The sisters were an instrumental part of ICAN’s delegation to the United Nations, leading to the July 7, 2017 adoption of a landmark global agreement to ban nuclear weapons, called the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Their work resulted in the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to ICAN.
Alpena Peace Coalition member and organizer of the 30 Days of Peace Carol Skiba knows Sister Platte personally, since they lived together in the convent.
“I was in that order,” she recalled of being a nun. “I was in the community for 20 years. And Sister Ardeth and I lived together … We’re real good friends.”
She said that, no matter what Platte has gone through, she maintains a positive attitude and keeps striving toward the goals God has called her to reach.
“Ardeth has spent six years in federal prison, at least,” Skiba said, adding that any letters she received from prison were focused on continuing their fight for peace. “With Ardeth, she was always on target about what her mission was. And they were ministers to the others there in prison. It was not wasted time.”
“The two of us have spent more than 15 years altogether in jails and prisons during these many years of working for justice and peace,” Gilbert and Platte said in a press release.
Gilbert was born in Michigan in 1947 and entered the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids in 1965. She taught junior high and researched at the Home for Peace and Justice. She spent five years living and witnessing at two of Michigan’s Strategic Air Command Bases until both closed and she moved to Jonah House in Baltimore, Maryland to continue anti-war work.
Platte was born in Michigan in 1936 and has been a Dominican Sister of Grand Rapids for 63 years. She has been a teacher and principal of an inner-city high school, administrator of an educational center and school for dropouts and expellees, elected city councilwoman for 12 years and mayor pro-tempore of Saginaw for two years, as well as coordinator and organizer for Advocacy for Justice and a Home for Peace and Justice.
International Day of Peace
Saturday is the United Nations International Day of Peace, and the theme for 2019 is “Climate Action for Peace.”
“Climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security,” a statement on the United Nations website notes. “Natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The salinization of water and crops is endangering food security, and the impact on public health is escalating. The growing tensions over resources and mass movements of people are affecting every country on every continent.”
“Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace. And it’s why I am convening a Climate Action Summit,” writes UN Secretary-General AntOnio Guterres.
“The United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 because they understood that it would not be possible to build a peaceful world if steps were not taken to achieve economic and social development for all people everywhere, and ensure that their rights were protected,” the UN website states. “The Sustainable Goals cover a broad range of issues, including poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice.”
Climate Action is Sustainable Development Goal 13, “a call for immediate action by all to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change. Affordable, scalable solutions such as renewable energy, clean technologies are available to enable countries to leapfrog to greener, more resilient economies.”
For more information about the International Day of Peace, visit un.org/en/events/peaceday/.
Alpena’s 30 Days of Peace is put on entirely by volunteers, and bringing in speakers and hosting events requires funding. The Alpena Peace Coalition appreciates any donations to help fund these programs. To donate, contact the church office at Grace Lutheran, where a fund has been set up for the 30 Days of Peace. The office number is 989-354-2640, and the church is located at 119 W. Dunbar St., Alpena.
More 30 Days of Peace events planned
¯ Today — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul Lutheran; Noon Peace Liturgy at Trinity Episcopal.
¯ Thursday — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul; 7 p.m. “The Fate of the Great Lakes” with Dave Dempsey at Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.
¯ Friday — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul.
¯ Saturday– United Nations International Day of Peace (No local events planned).
¯ Sunday — 2 p.m. A Time for Humanity with Sister Ardeth Platte, OP, and Sister Carol Gilbert, OP, at St. Anne’s Parish Hall of All Saints Catholic Parish.
¯ Tuesday — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul.
¯ Sept. 25 — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul; Noon Peace Liturgy at Trinity Episcopal.
¯ Sept. 26 — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul.
¯ Sept. 27 — 9 a.m. Prayer for Peace in Pastor Shipman’s office at St. Paul.
¯ Sept. 29 — 2 p.m. Youth Celebrate Life Concert at First United Methodist Church.