Sister Mary Lou Kownacki honored

Bishop Tom Gumbleton and Sister Mary Lou Kownacki in the foreground.

Sister Mary Lou Kownacki is serving this year as an honorary co-chair of the Pax Christi USA 50th Anniversary Committee with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired Detroit auxiliary bishop. During the organization’s national assembly in Washington, DC, this August she will receive special recognition for her many years of dedicated leadership. Sister Mary Lou served as national coordinator of Pax Christi from 1984-1991 and her leadership was instrumental in not only growing the organization’s membership base but also in increasing its reach through publications and newsletters. Sister Mary Lou was named a Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace in 2006.

This Pax Christi archive photo was taken May 5, 1987, at the Nevada Test Site where two bishops—Tom Gumbleton and Charles Buswell, and 96 others—including Sisters Mary Lou Kownacki and Anne McCarthy—crossed the line barring entrance to the nuclear test site on the fourth anniversary of The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response, the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral letter on war and peace. It was organized by the Nevada Desert Experience and Pax Christi USA while Sister Mary Lou was National Coordinator. Bishop Gumbleton sent letters of invitation to the Catholic community and over 300 people showed up and 98 were arrested. This was only the second time in the history of the Church in the U.S. that a member of the hierarchy had committed civil disobedience. In 1986, Bishop Emerson Moore of New York was arrested for protesting apartheid.

In this photo Bishop Tom Gumbleton and Sister Mary Lou Kownacki are in the foreground.