Louis Vitale

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Louis Vitale

Louis Vitale signs during arrest at Nevada atomic bomb test site(cropped).jpg
Vitale demonstrating against weaponized drones just before being arrested at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada c. 2010 to 2012
DioceseSanta Barbara, San Francisco
Personal details
Born1 June 1932
Occupationfriar of the Franciscan order
Alma materLoyola, PhD UCLA

Louis Vitale, OFM, is a Franciscan friar, peace activist, and a co-founder of Nevada Desert Experience.[1] His religious beliefs led him to participate in civil disobedience actions at peace demonstrations and acts of religious witness over forty years. In the name of peace, Vitale has been arrested more than 400 times.[2][3][4] Vitale stated that Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. provide him with inspiration.[2][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Louis Vitale was born on June 1, 1932, in San Gabriel, California. After graduating in 1954 from Loyola University, now Loyola Marymount University, Vitale enlisted in the US Air Force. Vitale's main role in the Air Force was that of an intercept officer, in charge of radio communications.[3] Vitale took his vows as a Franciscan friar in 1960 when he was 28 years old.[5] He was awarded a PhD for original research in sociology, September 1972, from University of California, Los Angeles.[2] From 1979 to 1988, Vitale served as the provincial superior of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara. He served as the pastor at St. Boniface Catholic Church for twelve years in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, California.[6]

Pace e Bene[edit]

Louis Vitale was one of the founders of Pace e Bene, a nonviolence service, in 1989.[7] The name means Peace and all good. Other founders included: Sr. Rosemary Lynch, Alain Richard, Peter Ediger and Julia Occhiogrosso, who were all experienced peace activists.[3][6] Pace e bene developed educational programs for nonviolent living with an emphasis on spirituality.[8][7][9] In 2005 Pace e Bene published a book Engage,[7] which described Pace e Bene's programs. The programs, as described in the book, were designed to encourage: the discovery, internalization and use of the power of nonviolence for personal and social change.[7][8] Hundreds of nonviolence study groups were organized by Pace e Bene between 1989 and 2010.[6][10]

Nevada Desert Experience[edit]

In 1981 Vitale received a letter from Rome asking Franciscans to do something creative in 1982 to honor the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis. Vitale took this to heart.[11] The First Nevada Lenten Experience was held at the Nevada test site,[11] a series of witness and protest actions held at the atomic bomb test site near Las Vegas, Nevada. This was the precursor to the Nevada Desert Experience.[11] Louis Vitale with Anne Bucher, Michael Affleck, Duncan MacMurdy, and two Franciscan friars, Ed Dunn and Terry Symens, founded the Nevada Desert Experience in 1984.[11][12] Over the years Corbin Harvey and the Shundahai Network[13] worked with NDE holding many protests of the government's continued nuclear weapons work. NDE worked with Corbin Harvey[11] in protests against establishing a repository for radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, 100 mi (160 km) from Las Vegas.[14]

Arrests and protests[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  1. 1999 Doctor of humane letters honorary degree: Quincy University in Illinois
  2. 2001 Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace award given by PAX Christi USA[3]
  3. 2003 Human Rights Award from Global Exchange[25]
  4. 2003 The Voice of Peace Award awarded by School of the Americas Watch (March 9)
  5. 2004 Dignity: Pax e Bonum Award: given by St.Boniface Church San Francisco (March 23)
  6. 2004 Peter J Sammon Award: given by Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.[26](October 14)
  7. 2006 Jefferson Award for Community Service from KTVU Channel 5 San Francisco
  8. 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award To Pace e Bene Co-Founder Louie Vitale[25]

See also[edit]


Wittner, Lawrence S, Confronting the Bomb 2009 Stanford University Press [1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wittner, Lawrence S. (2009-05-12). Confronting the bomb : a short history of the world nuclear disarmament movement. Stanford, Calif. ISBN 9780804771245. OCLC 469186910.
  2. ^ a b c "Protesting priest's path leads repeatedly to jail". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  3. ^ a b c d McGee, Max (14 May 2019). "Evangelization of Peace: The Radical Life of Father Louis Vitale". Nations. Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b Riegle, Rosalie G. (2013). Crossing the line : nonviolent resisters speak out for peace. Eugene, Or.: Cascade Books. ISBN 9781610976831. OCLC 825735867.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Paddock, Richard C. (9 April 2009). "His spirit won't be confined Pursuing evangelization of peace". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 18 July 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Dear, John (2013-09-15). The nonviolent life. Pace e Bene Franciscan Nonviolence Center (Las Vegas, Nev.). Long Beach, CA. ISBN 978-0966978322. OCLC 868026801.
  7. ^ a b c d Slattery, Laura (2005). Engage : exploring nonviolent living. Oakland: Pace e Bene Press. ISBN 0966978315. OCLC 64179247.
  8. ^ a b Butigan, Ken (1999). From violence to wholeness. Bruno, Patricia. Las Vegas, Nev. ISBN 0966978307. OCLC 43326283.
  9. ^ Preston-Pile, Cindy (2006). Traveling with the turtle : a small group process in women's spirituality and peacemaking. Woodward, Irene. Oakland, CA: Pace e Bene Press. ISBN 9780966978377. OCLC 84622237.
  10. ^ "Notre Dame de Namur University's Catholic Scholar Series with Father Louie Vitale, O.F.M." Notre Dame de Namur University. 17 March 2009. Archived from the original on 20 October 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e Butigan, Ken (2003). Pilgrimage through a burning world : spiritual practice and nonviolent protest at the Nevada Test Site. Nevada Desert Experience (Organization). Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 1417506695. OCLC 55205572.
  12. ^ Epstein, Barbara (1991). Political protest and cultural revolution : nonviolent direct action in the 1970s and 1980s. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520914469. OCLC 44965693.
  13. ^ "Our Founder, Corbin Harney Dies July 2007". Shundahai Network. July 2007. Archived from the original on 2010-04-20.
  14. ^ Harney, Corbin (2009). The nature way. Purbrick, Alex (1st ed.). Reno: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874178043. OCLC 489213600.
  15. ^ a b "The Nevada Desert Experience:: Ft. Huachuca Torture Protest Update". nevadadesertexperience.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  16. ^ Effron, Lauren (17 March 2012). "US celebrities arrested crusading for causes". ABC News. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  17. ^ "VCNV". Archived from the original on April 7, 2011.
  18. ^ a b Hartsough, David. Waging peace : global adventures of a lifelong activist. Hollyday, Joyce. Oakland, CA. p. 187. ISBN 1322063133. OCLC 888349175.
  19. ^ Joyce, Bill (26 February 2016). "Love is what matters". Oakland Voices. Archived from the original on 19 October 2019.
  20. ^ Walter, Nicolas (25 August 2009). "Two arrested at base protest arrests mark another successful missile launch at Vandenberg". Santa Maria Sun. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Gaza protest planned on Cast Lead anniversary". Egypt Independent. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30.
  22. ^ HNP Communications (23 February 2011). "St. Barbara Province to Honor Activist Louis Vitale". Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  23. ^ Toplikar, Dave (27 January 2011). "'Creech 14' found guilty of trespassing, judge says 'go in peace'". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  24. ^ Benjamin, Medea (13 August 2012). "At Drone Convention Zero tolerance for peace". Global Exchange. Archived from the original on 7 November 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Lifetime Achievement Award To Pace e Bene Co-Founder Louie Vitale". Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service. Archived from the original on 2019-10-19. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  26. ^ Lanuza, Magda (Fall 2010). "Faith communities stand with immigrants" (PDF). Network Connection. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 October 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.

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