Pilgrimage Through a Burning World: Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site

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Nuclear Dream - A Las Vegas Burning Man Community Project

Butigan earned his Ph. Are you interested in learning more about non-violence and how you can get involved in this powerful and important movement? Marion Nguyen, OSB. Skip to main content. Spiritual Community. Benedictine Institute Lecture Series. Ken Butigan.

Ken Butigan

Brother Martin introduces Dr. Hitting the ground running.


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Blessed are the peacemakers. Honing in. Butigan connects with audience. Audience members receive the message. She thus became conversant with church law. In time she became a resource for other congregations who drew on her expertise as they sought to renew and transfigure their mission and practice of religious life. She recalls now the enormous transformation those journeys wrought in her, especially her time in Africa where she had come face to face with the misery of leprosy and the stark poverty, sharply etched in her mind as she saw, for example, a poor woman with a baby on her back scratching at the ground in search of edible grass.

In California Lynch had witnessed the difficulties faced by her low-income African-American and Mexican-American students, and in Montana she had seen the struggles that the Native American students underwent. These experiences had sensitized her to social inequity. Her exposure to unspeakable misery around the world incalculably deepened her awareness of systemic injustice and violence. This growing conscientization was reinforced by the work of a fellow Franciscan, Sister Klarita, who worked for the Pontifical Commission of Justice and Peace during those years.

Through the work of the commission, Lynch became more aware of specific examples of social-structural injustice and an emerging theology that emphasized the sacredness and dignity of all human persons coupled with systematic social analysis and strategies for social change. After finishing her assignment for her congregation in , she spent an additional year in Rome working with an international education association. Soon afterward, news was leaked that the neutron bomb had already been developed and tested at the Nevada Test Site. Lynch decided to do some research on this program and the test site in general.

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In the course of her exploration, she discovered that a group of Quakers, including Larry Scott and Albert Bigelow, had held the last demonstration at the test site on August 6, Spurred by this, she and a group of friends in Las Vegas organized an event at the gates of NTS to mark the 20th anniversary of this activity, to protest the impending production of the enhanced radiation weapon developed there, and to remember the bombing of Hiroshima thirty-two years earlier.

Nineteen people met at the main gate of the NTS before dawn to hold a prayer vigil and conduct a teach in about Hiroshima.

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The vigilers held signs along the road that led into the Test Site and they were very careful to make signs that supported the workers but objected to testing. The vigilers went directly to the guard house at Mercury Station.


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The Japanese approached the gate house but the guards refused to accept their book. An older Japanese lady, a Hibakusha, extended her hand to the guard and he refused to shake her hand.

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Take her hand. For the next several years, Lynch would visit the test site.


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  8. More often she would simply go with her friend, Fred Landau, to the site. They would wander off together or alone into the desert.

    http://gelatocottage.sg/includes/2020-05-12/3512.php She would often find a place to sit and pray for hours.