Thursday, December 2, 2021

Megan Rice, a nun imprisoned in peace activities, dies at the age of 91

Rosemont, Penn. (NWN) — Megan Rice, a nun and Catholic peace activist who spent two years in federal prison in her 80s He has died after breaking into a government security compound to protest nuclear weapons. She was 91 years old.

By order of The Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Rice died of heart failure on October 10 at the Holy Child Center in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.

“Sister Megan lived her life with action and passionate love,” said US province leader for the order, Carol Juliano. “His commitment to building a peaceful and just world was unwavering and selfless.”

Rice was born in New York to active parents who would meet Dorothy Day, a well-known Catholic writer during the Great Depression, to find solutions to social problems, she said in a 2013 interview with the Catholic agitator.

Her activism was also strongly influenced by her uncle, who then spent four months in Nagasaki, Japan, and Hiroshima was leveled by atomic bombs to hasten the end of World War II, a bombing that Rice would later call “history”. I would say the biggest shame”. “

While still a teenager, she entered the Society of the Holy Child of Jesus to become a nun. She took her last vows in 1955 and took the religious name of Mother Frederick Mary. Rice later earned degrees from Villanova and Boston University, where he earned a Master of Science degree.

She taught elementary schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for more than a decade before being assigned to work in Nigeria.

Rice spent 23 years in West Africa working as a teacher and pastoral guide. It was here that he began to hear about the movement of the plow, a reference to a biblical passage that refers to the end of all wars: “They will beat their swords into plows.”

When she returned to the US, Rice began her involvement in anti-nuclear activism.

“I felt attracted to the peace movement,” She said in interviews with the Catholic agitator. “I was very inspired by direct action on nuclear issues. My uncle had such a profound influence and he was still alive at that time.”

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Court records show that when he and two fellow Catholic peace activists, Michael Vallée and Greg Boertje-Obed, broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee in July 2012, they had already been charged with four charges for protest activities. Was convicted once.

The trio cut down several enclosures and spent two hours outside the bunker storing most of the country’s bomb-grade uranium, where they hung banners, prayed, hammered outside the bunker and spray-painted peace slogans.

He was arrested and charged with a felony. According to court records, federal prosecutors described Rice and her codependents as “recurring and habitual offenders” who will break the law again “as soon as they are physically able to do so”.

Rice’s lawyers sought leniency from US District Judge Amul Thapar, arguing that the nun’s devotion to Christian nonviolence poses no threat to the public. Rice wrote a letter to the judge asking him to follow his conscience.

But the judge was adamant, telling the defendants that their moral convictions are “not a get-out-of-jail card.” Rice was sentenced to three years in prison, and Wally and Ortje-Obeid received sentences of more than five years.

The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the allegation of sabotage and all three were acquitted in May 2015. After two years of service. He was later reprimanded for having already served on the lesser charge of injuring government property.

Testifying during his jury trial, Rice defended his decision to break into the Oak Ridge uranium facility as an attempt to prevent “the construction … could only lead to death,” according to a trial transcript. In.

“I had to do it,” she said of her decision to break the law. “My crime is that I waited 70 years to be able to speak what I knew in my conscience.”

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