In heaven there are no nuclear weapons, so rest in peace Sr. Anne!
Sister Anne Montgomery of the Society of the Sacred Heart passed gently and sweetly into the kingdom of heaven on the morning of August 27.
She was this tiny little person, well under five feet, who, if she was carrying a 100-pound sack of flour still wouldn't weight 100 pounds. Born on Nov. 30, 1926, she made her profession into the religious life on March 5, 1951; she was a sister for over 60 years.
She was also an witness for the Gospel of Peace. She was an active member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, spending a good deal of time over several years ministering to the people in occupied Palestine and the other areas occupied by Israel. She did things like risk her life to get food to people that the Israeli army was keeping in their homes or churches by gunpoint. Arrested numerous times, she participated in six Plowshares Actions.
On Jan. 11, 2007 I had the honor of sharing a holding cell with her for the first Witness Against Torture action in the Federal Court House in Washington, DC. She carried a copy of the Christian Testament in her pocket (one of the small Gideon copies you find in hotel rooms), pulled it out and reminded us of our roots in peacemaking. She also regaled us with the behind the scene stories of the Plowshares action in King of Prussia, Pa., on Sept. 9, 1980. She and seven other went into the GE Re-entry Division, hammered on two nose cones of Mark 12A warheads, poured their own blood on warhead documents and order forms, and prayed for disarmament and peace. Seems the local constabulary didn't know how to handle having both male and female prisoners at their jail. And the contortions they went through to keep Sr. Anne and company there were pretty funny.
When I met Sister Anne, I was absolutely awed by her. I immediately felt in the presence of someone holy and sacred. I wanted to soak up her every word and everything she had to offer. They also taught us the larger lessons of God's Law vs the laws made by people. She often said of her Plowshares actions that she really had no other choice but to say stand and no to nuclear weapons and war - and take the consequences.
“Who’s going to do this if we don’t,” she told a reporter after her arrest in an anti-military demonstration in September, 2000.
“If anyone should take a risk, it should be the religious. That’s what many religious orders were set up to do, but we’ve lost that spirit through the ages.”
Thank you Sister Anne for not only keeping that spirit alive but for nurturing it - ans us - along the way.