Mark Your Calendar
Good Friday Way of the Cross, April 3, 2015
Join us on Friday, April 3rd as we pray and meditate on the sacrifices Jesus made for us and on the sufferering being endured by so many today. The procession begins at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 8:30 a.m. All are welcome to participate.
Good Friday Way of the Cross
40-Day Fast for Christian Nonviolence
Feast of the Holy
Feast of the Holy
Peacemaking Through the Arts
Ash Wednesday Leafleting
Ash Wednesday Leafleting
Our tradition on Ash
Wednesday is to offer a Lenten Reflection to the
faithful outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Our tradition on Ash Wednesday is to offer a Lenten Reflection to the faithful outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Each year PCMNY organizes a weekend retreat, usually during Lent, facilitated by a noted spiritual leader to challenge and nurture participants in their commitment to Christian nonviolence.
by Rosemarie Pace, PCMNY Director
Seventy years ago, Pax Christi was founded in France to pray for reconciliation between France and Germany, two “Christian” nations that just ended a war with each other. Seventy years ago, the concentration camp at Auschwitz was liberated.
Both these events added significance to Pax Christi Metro New York’s presentation of Etty, a one-woman play directed by Austin Pendleton and performed by Susan Stein in St. Joseph’s Greenwich Village Church on Sunday, February 8th.
Etty Hillesum, the subject of the play, was a young Dutch Jewish woman who wrote extensive diaries and letters about her life under German occupation in Amsterdam from 1941 to 1943. Through her prolific writing, she provides an amazing eye-witness account of the gradual and strategic withdrawal of rights and freedoms and the increasing imposition of hardships and cruelty against an entire people. But this is not a story of self-pity or blame. Rather it is a story of love, joy, strength, and hope.
The entire one-act play is in Etty’s words, which Susan Stein magnificently brings to life. Combined with a subsequent talk-back, we learn much about this spirited young woman.
Etty came from a loving family, an intellectual and cultured family, but one in which both her brothers were afflicted with schizophrenia, which Etty feared for herself. Seeking a means to avoid the same fate as her brothers, she sought out the help of Julius Spier, a palm reader and “therapist” with very unconventional methods. Her relationship with him became intimate, but it also succeeded in helping Etty grow in self-worth, insight about people and the world around her, and her own faith. In addition, Etty had a large number of good friends, including those with whom she lived. They -- men and women, varied in age, ethnic background, and religion -- remained very important to her throughout her life.
Etty was a lover not only of people, but also of literature, especially that of Rilke and Dostoevsky. She read and taught Russian and found inspiration in Christian scripture and the Qur’an. She was actually more a secular Jew than a religious one; yet, it was her Jewish identity that caught her in the trap of Nazi malice. Despite it all, she generally relished life, repeatedly proclaiming that life is beautiful.
Etty did work for the Jewish Council, a creation of the Nazis to engage some Jews in their discriminatory policies. She struggled within herself about accepting this position, but then used it as best she could to help those she could, partially because it came with some privileges. Nevertheless, she never wanted to avoid the pain and suffering of her fellow Jews, nor, ultimately, did she. Etty died in Auschwitz on November 30th, 1943.
In introducing the play, PCMNY Director Rosemarie Pace noted that Etty’s diaries and letters from Westerbork were filled with prayers to God in which she openly addresses not only the reality in which she was living, but also her extraordinary devotion to God and humanity.
You are encouraged to read more about Etty. There are many publications, including Etty Hillesum: The Essential Writings of which the PCMNY has some copies (while supplies last), and Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork. You are also encouraged to book a performance of Etty. Find more information at www.ettyplay.org.
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