Ardeth Platte

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Ardeth Platte
Born 1936 (age 79–80)
Alma mater Aquinas College
Occupation Religious Sister
Organization Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids
Known for Anti-war/anti-nuclear activism
Movement Plowshares Movement
Religion Roman Catholic (Dominican)
Criminal charge Obstructing national defense and damaging government property
Criminal penalty 41 months of imprisonment at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution
Criminal status released

Ardeth Platte, O.P., (born 1936) is an American Dominican Religious Sister and anti-nuclear activist. She was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in 1999.[1]

Early life[edit]

Platte was born in Lansing in 1936 and grew up in Westphalia, Michigan. She entered the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids in 1954, at the age of 18, and after her novitiate studied at Aquinas College operated by them in Grand Rapids, Michigan to train as a schoolteacher. In 1967, she founded the St. Joseph Alternative Education Center in Saginaw, Michigan, a school for children who had been denied access to other institutions. In 1995, Platte moved to Jonah House in Baltimore, Maryland, where she took part in Plowshares actions.


In 2000, Platte, along with two other members of her religious congregation, Sisters Jackie Hudson, O.P., and Carol Gilbert, O.P., 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 trio 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 sisters were arrested and had to wait lying on the ground for hours. They continued protesting into their pre-trial hearing; wearing full religious habits, the Sisters 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 sisters from arguing that their actions were legal under international law and the Nuremberg defense. They 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]

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". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. 
  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.