Ardeth Platte

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Sister Ardeth Platte, O.P. (born 1936) is an American Dominican nun and anti-nuclear activist.

Platte was born in Lansing in 1936. She studied at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids before joining the Dominican Sisters in 1954. In 1967, she founded the St. Joseph Alternative Education Center in Saginaw, a school for children who had been denied access to other institutions. In 1995, Sister Platte moved to Jonah House in Baltimore, Maryland and took part in Plowshares actions. She was inducted in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1999.[1]


In 2000, Platte and two fellows nuns, Sisters Jackie Hudson and Carol Gilbert, illegally entered Peterson Air Force Base and sprayed a fighter plane with their own blood. The three women were arrested and held in prison until the charges were dropped. In 2002, the same group of nuns broke into a Minuteman III missile silo in Colorado. They wore white jump suits bearing the words "Citizen Weapon Inspection Team", and proceeded to pray in front of the silo as they poured their own blood on it in the shape of a cross. The nuns were arrested and had to wait lying on the ground for hours. They continued protesting into their pre-trial hearing; wearing full habits, the nuns answered the judge by nodding without speaking. At the start of their trial, Robert E. Blackburn, the presiding judge, granted an in limine motion to the prosecutor, which prevented the nuns from arguing that their actions were legal under international law and the Nuremberg defense. The nuns were sentenced to between 30 and 41 months in prison.

Platte was released from prison on December 22, 2005. She was not due to be released until May 31 of the next year, but a judge took into consideration the time she had already served, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She then served three more years of probation.[2] She is considered a terrorist by the Maryland State Police.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

Ardeth Platte was the inspiration for the character of Sister Jane Ingalls (played by Beth Fowler) on the television show Orange Is the New Black.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ardeth Platte". Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Matt Apuzzo (December 22, 2005). "Nun Who Defaced Missile Silo Released from Prison". [dead link]
  3. ^ Tom LoBianco (October 10, 2008). "Protesting nuns branded terrorists". 
  4. ^ Doug Barry (August 4, 2013). "Real-Life Sister Ingalls Even More Awesome Than She Is on OITNB". Jezebel.