Pax Christi USA honors Erie Benedictine sisters and oblates

Jo Clarke, Anne McCarthy, Barbara Richardson, new Ambassadors of Peace

Erie Benedictine Oblate Jo Clarke, Sister Anne McCarthy, and Oblate Barbara Richardson were named Ambassadors of Peace at the Pax Christi USA 50th Anniversary Conference the weekend of August 5-7 in Washington, DC. They joined 17 other new ambassadors being recognized for contributions they have made toward furthering the practice of Gospel nonviolence. Sister Anne, who is also a former national coordinator for Pax Christi USA, said, "Our community’s relationship with Pax Christi USA is deep and long. To receive this honor along with two of our oblates and following Sister Mary Lou Kownacki and oblates Nancy Small and Phyllis Jepson as Ambassadors of Peace is confirmation that the Benedictine charism of pax is a gift we offer, and a connection we share with Pax Christi and the movement for peace and justice. I treasure my time working with Pax Christi USA." Sister Anne currently coordinates Benedictines for Peace in Erie.

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki served as the honorary co-chair of this year's 50th Anniversary celebration with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired Detroit auxiliary bishop. She was national coordinator prior to Sister Anne and was named a Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace by Pax Christi USA in 2006. 

In a recent article about the history of the organization posted on National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Gumbleton said that the organization had a difficult start until Sister Mary Lou became executive director. He said the Benedictines built Pax Christi USA into "a strong movement." "Without that change, we would have just sputtered out, I think," he said.

In a related article Bishop Gumbleton reflected on the past and future of Pax Christi USA.