Many people are familiar with Earth Day, an event that is celebrated
on April 22. Perhaps fewer are aware that John McConnell, who celebrated
his 91st birthday this year, was the brainchild of the original event
that took place on March 21, 1970 in San Francisco. The day also marked
John’s 55th birthday. John, who met Peace Pilgrim while she was
on her pilgrimage, is still working to help protect the planet. His
current project invites us all to become trustees of our beautiful earth.
-- The new idea that
Earth Day provided:
The nurture and renewal of Earth is our most urgent task. To this end
we, individually and with the help of others, seek in our jobs, buying
habits, travel, land use and other actions – at home, work and
play -- to respect and protect Earth's amazing web of life, its soil,
water, air, plants and living creatures, to act as trustees of our portion
of our planet.
We believe every individual and family should have an opportunity for
a stake in this planet, for a home, education and meaningful work; that
in their personal Earth-stake, or area of responsibility, they should
act, not as spoilers of Earth, but as stewards.
We invite you to seek with us ways of living that will not hurt the
Earth, but instead protect and nurture its beauty and bounty.
Spread the word to others. The more Earth Trustees there are the more
we can trust the future and each other. When enough people care for
the Earth and trust each other we will have a healthy peaceful planet.
John McConnell, founder of Earth Day
You can learn more about John, Earth Trustees, and his “Star of
Hope” project at www.earthsite.org
in Print (top)
"Waking in America: A Brief History," a fine
feature article by Stephen Altschuler, appeared in Common
Ground Magazine (the Bay Area’s magazine for conscious
community, San Anselmo, CA). Walkers from Edward Payson Weston in 1861
to Planet Walker John Francis were covered, "But perhaps the most
remarkable story of an American walker was that of Peace Pilgrim,"
Altschuler writes. He is the author of The Mindful Hiker. Altschuler
recommends Cheryl Canfield’s Peace Pilgrim’s Wisdom in a
reading list with his article.
Quotations and Aspirations is a lovely small gift book compiled
and edited by Tammy Ruggles this year. Four quotations from Peace Pilgrim
are among some 200 thoughts on peace from world figures ranging from
Gautama Buddha and Jesus to Albert Schweitzer and Martin Luther King.
Peace is available at $9.95 from Clear Light Publishing, 823 Don Diego,
Santa Fe, NM 87505. – Richard Polese
Letters and Email
From a friend in Canada:
I stumbled upon your web site this evening, while I was searching for
some meaningful words on the topic of inner peace. I have been feeling
a spiritual and emotional void in my life for some time and despite
useless efforts to fill those voids, they only seem to be becoming more
prevalent and harder to ignore. I had a few hours to myself this evening,
so I thought I would maybe find a few intelligent words to “digest”
on the internet. After spending about 2 hours reading about Peace Pilgrim
and absorbing excerpts of her truly amazing thoughts and message. I
feel as if a higher power has shown me where I should really start searching
for this inner peace I am craving.
I don’t know why I am writing so much, just to ask for her book,
but somehow I feel I need to.
I am 34 years old, a stay-at-home mother of three young children, happily
married and a professional accountant who teaches business courses at
a local college a few hours a week. From the outside looking in, I seem
to have the ideal life. Three beautiful, healthy, smart children, a
loving husband, a large new home, luxury cars, busy social life, a close-knit
successful family, etc..-the picture of thirty-something “success”.
The reality of it is that I have days where I feel depressed, sad, angry,
frustrated and empty. I get angry with myself for even daring to feel
this way. I know it is a sin to take so much for granted. I am catholic,
but I do not go to church all that regularly. I believe in God, but
I have had so many questions regarding my religion, which nobody has
been able to answer to my satisfaction, that I have begun to feel skeptical.
In turn, I have been feeling guilty for even daring to question.
I have asked those around me for wisdom and a way to a more meaningful
existence, but it seems that they are just as lost as I am. I have read
several books on spirituality and fulfilling our purpose in life in
order to find meaning, but after completing them I forgot their message.
Until tonight, nothing has ever struck such a cord in me. I read the
excerpts from the newsletters, with tears streaming down my face. After
reading the words of Peace Pilgrim, I came to a big realization. Inner
peace, a meaningful existence, is not limited to any one religion. It
is about so, so much more.
I feel a sense of relief, that I have discovered that such an inspiring
soul has walked this earth so recently. I so want to know more about
Peace Pilgrim’s message and I would be very grateful if I could
receive a copy of her book.
I thank you in advance for providing me with, what I believe, will be
“There is never really anything to be discouraged
about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth,
and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for
Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim,
"Steps Toward Inner Peace" is a truly powerful and inspiring
book. I have probably read every saying ever written, and many spiritual,
religious, and philosophy books through the years, but none so touching
as this simple little book. I plan to keep re-reading it and sharing
this little book with everyone I feel could be touched by her message.
P.S. I will be giving away almost all of my other spiritual books.
How closed in and out of touch I feel to never have
known about "Peace Pilgrim", until watching PBS presenting
Dr. Wayne Dyer's "Inspirational".
I visited this website and was absolutely brought to tears. Maybe it's
because I had just watched Dr. Dyers moving presentation. I'm 57 years
old and as long as I can remember, because I was sensitive to abuse,
pain, desperation, in the world outside mine, I was a crazy "liberal".
All my life I have tried to alter my thoughts and behavior to "fit
in". What a late in life validation to learn I was really trying
to live "in spirit".
I wish I could have met and known the "Peace Pilgrim" earlier
in my life or at least been able to read about her.
For those of you who have been moved and touched by what this wonderful
woman represents, bless you. Your cause of trying to let everyone else
learn and feel this Peace Pilgrim’s message is so wonderful.
I would love to receive a copy of her book. I will forward back to you
a donation, as best I can.
I have been walking this earth for 42 years, many of
them in great unease and pain, hurting myself and others. Deeply thankful
already for the path of inner peace that I am on, Peace Pilgrim's love
has found me and somehow we have fallen into perfect step. I am deeply
thankful for my life and all things and am every day and in every way
experiencing deep fulfillment in giving freely of the joy that fills
me. I have no material means with which to support you, Friends of Peace
Pilgrim, but the waves of love and peace received from Peace Pilgrim's
message have definitely hit my shore and are rolling back to you!
From Wild Bill’s letter:
I’m writing today in the hopes of obtaining a copy of
the Peace Pilgrim book. The wisdom of Peace Pilgrim is something
I’ve grown to cherish and would greatly love to once again
seek comfort and wisdom in her beautiful words!
...Peace Pilgrim will always be a source of inspiration and
an example of how our simple actions carry the overwhelming
power of the truth! She walks in grace I can only hope to aspire
to! And there could not be a time that we, as a society, need
to hear her message of peace more than we do now. Fear, greed,
and social insanity have been rampant, and our own destruction
as a nation seems at hand, but not from outside forces or terrorists,
but instead from within. What better time than now to bring
us back to the basic truths of peace and love?
...May the abundant blessing of peace and love be upon you always
– keep up the good work!
Sincerely, Wild Bill
Peace Pilgrim Portrait by William "Wild Bill"
a prisoner in Texas
From a former Canadian convict:
I came into contact with the Peace Pilgrim's writings
in a Canadian Federal Penitentiary. She really gave my spiritual journey
a boost and helped me understand a lot of things and helped me tolerate
and love some of the more hated convicts in the prison. I used to pass
out the little blue booklet to fellow convicts (prisoners). Thanks to
you I usually had an extra book or booklet to give away.
As of today I have been out of prison for eleven years and six weeks.
I was doing life on the installment plan before - a deuce, a triple,
two sixes back to back and many years of pre-trial. My appreciation
goes out to people like you, Peace Pilgrim, Bo Lozoff, the Catholic
Chaplain Joan Palardy, and most of all, my buddy Greg who introduced
me to the Peace Pilgrim by leading me a book already sent to him. I
guess I should be thanking The Big Guy the most or whatever Spiritual
Power is out there and in here (my heart). Again, keep on keeping on.
You are doing something most worthwhile and I wish I could get involved
in such a tremendous force for peace, The Peace Pilgrim's message.
Thanks again, D.C.
From Washington State:
Peace Pilgrim has certainly inspired me. In my late
teens and early twenties I was a pretty gung ho soldier, serving eight
years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
I was never very happy in my role of studying for war. At the age of
fifty I began thinking about the effect my life was having on humanity
and the planet and decided I had already taken more than my share of
the earth’s abundance. I stopped owning automobiles and gave away
my possessions. I began carrying a peace sign on my shoulder, replacing
the rifle that had once been there. I am now living a life of voluntary
simplicity. I have never been happier and it keeps getting better.
Peace, Love, and Joy, John
An Email From Michigan:
I have just spent the last hour reading the insights
on receiving INNER PEACE by the Peace Pilgrim. They were the most beautiful
passages I have read. Lately, I have been feeling that I need to find
my purpose, so I have been in the process of finding out what it is.
I was amazed to find that I had already started some of the steps that
she mentioned. My desire for PEACE gets greater everyday. I have committed
myself to be LOVING and sharing LOVE with everyone I come in contact
with. Sometimes on my road to inner PEACE I do stumble, and the bad
feelings are so overwhelming that I pick myself up and start all over
All I think about is doing GOOD, I want to help others, but many days
I fall into the trap of my old habits. Thank you so very much for this
website!! I am sending you this e-mail with tears in my eyes, because
GOD has directed me to you!! Our paths cross because this is truly the
journey I must be on. In closing, could you please send me a copy of
the book by the PEACE PILGRIM, I am going to use it to help guide me
on my daily journey to PEACE!!
Peace Pilgrim in History (top)
25 years ago - July 8, 1981
Peace Pilgrim killed in car crash
By MARY KRAMER – Post-Tribune Correspondent
KNOX – The blue eyes never will make
contact with another individual again. The voice which carried
across a room so clearly, reaching her listeners with an unwavering
conviction in the power of love and truth, is stilled.
Peace Pilgrim, who wandered the
North American continent as a witness to peace for more than 27
years and had spoken in Valparaiso Sunday, was killed in an automobile
accident Tuesday afternoon east of Knox.
She was a passenger in a car driven
by Euwell Ward of Bass Lake, who had offered her a ride to her
next speaking engagement in Elkhart. Peace Pilgrim, 72, died at
the scene. Ward died a few hours later at Memorial Hospital in
Peace Pilgrim spoke at three services
at United Methodist Church in Valparaiso Sunday. The Rev. John
Wolf, pastor of Valparaiso United Methodist Church, had known
Peace Pilgrim since the late 1950s. He found after her death her
“contact point” in Cologne, N.J., which was her mailing
address while she wandered the country, was in fact her younger
sister, Mrs. Eugene Young.
Peace Pilgrim’s real name
was Mildred Norman. She was born July 18, 1908, in an area near
Cologne, according to her birth certificate, which she carried
among letters in her pockets.
Memorial services aren’t planned
locally but it is expected people across the nation will observe
her wishes for anonymity with personal services of their choice.
is a beautiful liberation into a freer life. The limiting clay
garment, the body, is put aside. The self-centered nature goes
with you to learn and grow on the disembodied side of life, and
then returns here into a suitable clay garment and suitable circum-stances
to learn the lessons we need to learn. Could we but see a bit
deeper into life, we would grieve at birth and rejoice at death.
If we but knew how short is the earth life in comparison with
the whole, we would be less troubled with the difficulties of
the earth life than we are troubled now with the difficulties
of one of our days.”
Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Works
in Her Own Words - Pg.84
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