Peace Abbey Donates Educational Materials to UMass Boston’s Healey Library
Lewis Randa, founder and director of the Peace Abbey, donated the interdenominational center’s educational materials and peace and justice displays Monday to the Joseph P. Healey Library’s University Archives and Special Collections Department.
The materials are the foundation for UMass Boston’s new Center and Archives for Peace, Social Action, Public Policy, and the Arts.
“In the course of these 25 years, the Peace Abbey sought to reduce misunderstanding and its consequential violence by bringing religions together – religions being one of the major causes of war, hatred, and societal dysfunction,” Randa said.
“May this new Center and Archives for Peace, Social Action, Public Policy, and the Arts put [the materials] to good use in educating students and faculty and the general public in the ways of peacemaking and the power and moral authority of nonviolence. We are profoundly honored to have these gifts at UMass Boston. There could be no better place.”
Randa first began thinking about a new home for the Peace Abbey’s displays and materials a couple of years ago. He said the presence of the university’s William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, and its proximity to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, were key factors in his decision.
The materials, which were previously kept at the Peace Abbey’s property in Sherborn, are now easily accessible at the Curriculum Resource Center on the fifth floor of Healey Library. Those materials include stored archival material from the Vietnam War, a grandfather clock, and commissioned art pieces of Mahatma Ghandi and Mother Teresa. A peacemakers table, around which Mother Teresa and other members of the peace movement once sat, is also part of the Peace Abbey’s gift to UMass Boston.
“We’re hoping that this seed that we are planting today will continue to grow and bring to fruition a major center under the auspices of the provost’s office,” University Librarian Daniel Ortiz said.
“The individual items that we have here are significant, symbolic, and substantive, but I think far more significant is the spirit that animated their collection, their conservation. It’s a blessing to be a part of this activity,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley said.
The Peace Abbey was created after Mother Teresa visited the Life Experience School in 1988. Located in Millis, the Life Experience School provides people with developmental disabilities the chance to be actively involved in the community. Randa is the school’s founding director.
There will be a celebration of the Peace Abbey on October 20 at 7 p.m. at the JFK Library.
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