Megan Rice, nun who was imprisoned over nuclear weapons protest, has died at 91

Megan Rice, a nun and Catholic peace activist who spent two years in federal prison whereas in her 80s after breaking right into a authorities safety advanced to protest nuclear weapons, has died. She was 91.

Rice died of congestive coronary heart failure October 10 at Holy Baby Heart in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, based on her order, the Society of the Holy Baby Jesus.

“Sister Megan lived her life with love stuffed with motion and zeal,” mentioned Carroll Juliano, American Province Chief for the order. “Her dedication to construct a peaceable and simply world was unwavering and selfless.”

Rice was born in New York to activist dad and mom who would meet with well-known Catholic author Dorothy Day through the Nice Melancholy to craft options for societal issues, she mentioned in a 2013 interview with the Catholic Agitator.

Her activism was additionally closely influenced by her uncle, who spent 4 months in Nagasaki, Japan, after it and Hiroshima had been leveled by atomic bombs. Rice would later name the bombings the “best disgrace in historical past.”  

Sister Megan Rice, center, and Michael Walli, in the background waving, are greeted by supporters as they arrive for a federal court appearance in Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 9, 2012.
Sister Megan Rice, heart, and Michael Walli, within the background waving, are greeted by supporters as they arrive for a federal courtroom look in Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 9, 2012.

AP Picture/Knoxville News Sentinel, Michael Patrick

Whereas nonetheless a youngster, she entered the Society of the Holy Baby of Jesus to develop into a nun. She made her closing vows in 1955 and took on the non secular title Mom Frederick Mary. Rice later earned levels from Villanova and Boston College, the place she earned a Grasp of Science.

She taught at elementary colleges in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for greater than a decade earlier than being assigned to work in Nigeria.

Rice spent 23 years in West Africa working as a instructor and pastoral information. It was there that she began listening to in regards to the plowshares motion, a reference to a Bible passage that refers back to the finish of all conflict: “They are going to beat their swords into ploughshares.”

When she returned to the U.S., Rice started her involvement in anti-nuclear activism.

“I felt drawn to the peace movement,” she mentioned within the Catholic Agitator interview. “I felt very impressed by direct motion on nuclear points. My uncle was such a robust affect and he was nonetheless alive at the moment.”

Court docket information present she already had been convicted 4 occasions for protest actions when she and two fellow Catholic peace activists, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, broke into the Y-12 Nationwide Safety Complicated in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in July 2012.

The trio minimize by means of a number of fences and and spent two hours exterior a bunker storing a lot of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium, the place they hung banners, prayed, hammered on the skin of the bunker and spray-painted peace slogans.

Weapons Plant Incursion
On this Aug. 17, 2012, picture an indication warns in opposition to trespassing onto the Y-12 Nationwide Safety Complicated.

Erik Schelzig / AP

They had been arrested and charged with felony sabotage. Federal prosecutors described Rice and her codefendants as “recidivists and routine offenders” who would break the legislation once more “as quickly as they’re bodily able to doing so,” based on courtroom information

Rice’s attorneys sought leniency from U.S. District Decide Amul Thapar, arguing the nun’s devotion to Christian nonviolence posed little risk to the general public. Rice wrote a letter to the decide asking him to observe his conscience.

However the decide was unmoved, telling the defendants their ethical beliefs had been “not a get out jail free card.” Rice was sentenced to a few years in jail and Walli and Oertje-Obed every obtained greater than 5 years.

The sixth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals threw out the sabotage charge and the three had been freed in Could 2015 after serving two years. They had been later resentenced to time already served on a lesser cost of injuring authorities property.

Whereas testifying throughout her jury trial, Rice defended her resolution to interrupt into the Oak Ridge uranium facility as an try to cease “manufacturing that…can solely trigger dying,” based on a trial transcript.

“I needed to do it,” she mentioned of her resolution to interrupt the legislation. “My guilt is that I waited 70 years to have the ability to communicate what I knew in my conscience.” | Megan Rice, nun who was imprisoned over nuclear weapons protest, has died at 91

Aila Slisco

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