Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on January 18, 1972 · Page 16
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page 16

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 18, 1972
Page 16
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SISTER ELIZABETH From 1C onstratkms and prayer vigils. ; All have agitated for peace in . dozens of different ways. Fi-j ; nally, in 1970, eight of the people wei indicted for conspir- ; ing in a plot to kidnap presi-dental adviser Henry Kissin- "ger. ', Between the lines of those i clips, however, is also another story that of the evolution ;of a quiet, apolitical girl from 'Montclair, N.J., who professed 'as a sister of the Sacred Heart of Mary in 1961 and a decade I later had become one of the 'country's most notorious anti-.war critics. ; In 1963, Elizabeth McAlister jhad obtained her Masters de-gree in Art History from iHunter College in New York land was preparing for aca- .reer in teaching at wary-Jmount College in New York. At the same time, the Second Vatican Council, which had been in session for three years, w as coming to a close. Across the globe in the opposite direction, increasing numbers of "military advisers" were pouring into South Vietnam under the auspices of John F. Kennedy. "The three events were, at the time, seemingly unrelated. A, year later, however, circumstances had pulled the three together to a focal point which was to prove pivotal to Elizabeth McAlister's outlook on life, the church and the world in general. Maureen McAlister, who was lgter to take the religious name of Elizabeth was one of nine children born of Irish 4?Man has the power oE : total destruction . . that can't be played with." parents who Immigrated to this country in 1920, Close knit, the family maintained a deep religious life in the old Irish tradition. She attended a small girl's high school, "Lacordaire" in Montclair. The school, across the street from the McAlister home had a senior class of 13 when Maureen graduated. A good student through high Bchool, she filled her free time with basketball, tennis, artwork and some thoughts of attending Marymount College for its well reputed art courses. Along with her twin sister, Katherine, Maureen applied at Marymount and caused something of furor among the members of the admissions board. The board wanted to accept Maureen but not Katherine, who had been a poorer student in high school. "We wanted Maureen because she was obviously a bright student with a lot of potential," recalled the former head of school admissions. "The family gave us an ultimatum that we could take both twins or neither one. So, we ended up taking them both just to get Maureen. Later that same year, Katherine flunked out." THAT FIRST COLLEGE year marked parting of philosophical ways for Maureen and Katherine . McAlister. Katherine is now married to a career Army man who has Just returned from his second tour of duty in Vietnam. The two sisters are still friends but make it a point never to talk of politics, the war or related ubjects. Toward the end of her freshman year, Maureen McAlister first thought seriously of becoming a nun. "I wasn't thrilled with the Idea of being a nun at first," she said. "It was a year and a half of agonizing within myself before I finally entered." At the end of her sophomore year, she entered the Novitiate of the Order of the Sacred Heart of Mary. For two cloistered years, she saw visitors only 12 brief times and was allowed no TV, magazines, newspapers or other communication with the out-side world. In June of 1961, Maureen became Sister Elizabeth McAlister, then devoted her full .energies to completing the last two years of study at Marymount. She did it in one year. By 1963, she had received her Master's Degree from Hunter and returned to Marymount to teach art history. "Up to that time, I never really had an interest in politics or world affairs. My family was essentially apolitical and in high school the climate of the country was much different than today. I knew virtually nothing of what was going on in the world." But as one of the new nuns at Marymount, Sister Elizabeth was given the assignment of keeping the current events bulletin board up to date. For the first time in her life, she began to read large numbers of news magazines. During her second year of teaching in 1964, she was lecturing on symbolism in art when a student offered, as an exampled of symbolism, the act of David Miller. Miller was one of the first to gain wide publicity by burning his draft card in public. 'I responded instinctively to that and said 'Yes, his act was a beautiful symbolic act I wasn't thinking of it in a political way, but simply as a concrete example of symbolism, which it was," Sister Elizabeth said. THAT CLASSROOM SES-sion, misconstrued by most students as an endorsement of draft card burning by Sister Elizabeth, sent the school buzzing. In the context of 1964, a religious sister taking a public stand for draft card burning was sensational gossip. During the following days and weeks, she was accused of being a pacifist by many around the school and was forced to deal with the term and all its implications political implications which she had never thought of before. Fellow faculty members and students who were pacifists began accepting her as one of their own. "I began to fully understand what a pacifist was and inside myself I said 'Yes, I agree with that. That is the way I feel, I just never had put a label on it before.' " Later that same year, Sister Elizabeth saw Father Danial Berrigan for the first time when he had a workshop on peace and society at the school. "What he said made so much sense," she said. "It wasn't as if he was opening my eyes to something new, but rather articulating these feelings which I had but couldn't put into words." Berrigan and other anti-war and social activist speakers had come to the school at the invitation of the college president. Sister Brendan McQuillan, who herself was an ardent pacifist. It was Sister McQuillan, a short time later, who took Sister Elizabeth to her first peace demonstration a prayer vigil against the Vietnam war held in Tarry-town, N.Y. At the time, it was not an unusual pursuit for Sister Elizabeth. Many other in her order had taken far stronger and more frequent actions against the just-mounting war. Around New York and the rest of the country, nuns as well as priests, inspired by recommendations of the Second Vatican Council to seek more social involvement, were getting involved at a prodigious rate. "The fact that someone is a nun has no bearing in this case . . . what matters is what a person should do as a Christian. A Christian should follow her conscience and speak out when speech is necessary. Maybe some people don't like the idea because it conflicts with their mental stereotype of what a nun 'should be'," said Sister Brendan McQuillan, the 50-year-old nun and president of Marymount College for nine years. SISTER BRENDAN, WHO holds a Ph.D in French and headed Marymount from 1960 to 1969, was one of the major influences in the life of Elizabeth McAlister. Presently, the former college president is leading a contemplative life at St. Marks, a ramshackle cottage which overlooks the Bay at Sag Harbor near the outermost tip of Long Island, N. Y. Like the rest of her order, she now wears street clothes and keeps her long black hair pulled back in a bun at the nape of the neck. Born in Ireland, her soft but authoratative voice has a brogue which is heavier even than that of Sister Elizabeth's. The two women first met in 1959 when Sister McQuillan was teaching French and Sister Elizabeth was a Novitiate student. "Even then, she stood out as a particularly dynamic person," Sister McQuillan recalled. "French was not her major, yet she was one of the best students in her group. That was typical of her. She had artistic talent which was quite obvious and an ability to grasp complicated subjects in a very short time. She was an excellent student." It was with Sister McQuillan's blessing and urging that Elizabeth McAlister and other members of the Order at Marymount became more involved in working for peace and social causes in the early 60s. "I don't believe in war of any kind in our day. Man has the power of total destruction . . . that is a power that can't be played with," Sister McQuillan said. The activity of the school's nuns as well as its president especially when she allowed a convocation for peace to be held at the school in 14 2C Tuesday, cism from the outside. Parents of students as well as residents of neighboring conservative Tarrytown who didn't think the involvement of nuns in peace demonstration was "proper." "I never thought that being a nun should curtail anything a person should do as a good Christian." Sister McQuillan said. "The gospel clearly condemns war and those who "I was reluctant to become a Berrigan fan. I was still make war. I encouraged people to become socially involved. As for those, like Sister Elizabeth who sought a real antiwar effort, I certainly encouraged them to follow their conscience in that direction. "I think Sister Brendan and her way of thinking had a much greater influence on Sister Elizabeth than even she is willing to admit now," said Sister Jogues Egan. A former dean at Marymount College, Sister Jogues also served as president of Marymount Manhattan College and was Provincial of the New York Province of the Order of the Sacred Heart of Mary until 1970. Since the early 60s, she has known Sister Elizabeth. Together, their anti-war sentiments have grown, nurtured by their own dislike for war and by the expressions of disgust from the Brothers Berrigan and others with whom they became involved. Sister Jogues, a 52-year-old doctorate of French, is named as a co-conspirator in the Kissinger conspiracy case and has spent three days in jail for refusing to testify against Sister McAlister before a grand jury in Harrisburg. SISTER JOGUES IS A grandmotherly-looking woman, somewhat more reserved and measured in her spoken sentiments than Sister Elizabeth. Friends say the two Elizabeth, who sometimes overreacts, and Jogues, the settled elder are good balance for each other. They are the deepest of friends and that friendship cannot but have had a profound influence on the thinking of both of them. "I has hardly aware of the Vietnam war and its implications until the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed in 1964," said Sister Jogues. "Shortly after that, I attended an Institute on the Humanities at which the question of war and peace was looked at in depth. It raised a lot of questions in my mind. I began to study the war and look into the political background of the conflict. I became convinced that we had no justification for doing what we were are doing in Vietnam. "At that time, there were many others within the order who were beginning to think along the same lines as I about the war. We began to do the normal things . . . marches, prayer vigils, signed petitions and so forth." In 1965, when the newly formed Clergy Concerned about Vietnam expanded their ranks, Sister Jogues was one of the first to join. She opened Marymount College to the group for meetings a move that kept the students and nuns of in broadening contact with spokesmen of the gathering peace movement. At the same time, within the order, which was reorganizing along more liberal lines as a result of the Second Vatican Council decrees, heated debate was going on among nuns who had never before considered political activism. "The Vatican Council was an extremely strong influence in all our lives, I think," said Sister Jogues. "The turmoil within the church today is something of a direct result of the council. Many people are finding the changes ara hard to cope with. The questions of nuns involved in peace action, for instance. Nuns in the old tradition were non-persons ... a woman in long robes with Rosary beads and eyes cast down, gliding about the corridor, that was the stereotype. Sister Jogues first came in contact with the Berrigan brothers in 1964, when she met Daniel. The Jesuit priest had already become a hero of the fledgling peace movement and had been assigned to the Jesuit mission near Marymount College, where he frequently said Mass. "Everyone talked about this Father Berrigan. I was reluctant to become a Berrigan fan. I was still very skeptical the first day I went to his Mass. He gave a homily, which was unheard of at t weekday Mass. All of a sudden, despite myself, I was listening to him intently. I don't January 18. 1972 remember exactly what he spoke of that day, but the experience was a very profound one for me," she said. As superior, Sister Jogues had the duty of greeting the new priest. She found Dan Berrigan to be a very engaging person and shortly thereafter found hereself not only a Berrigan fan, but attending his controversial home liturgy experiments. Berrigan be- skeptical." came a good friend of the nun and often came for dinner at the convent Throughout the nation, the anti-war effort was escalating along with the war itself. The Berrigans had increased their involvement as had Sister Jogues and Sister Elizabeth and many of their mutual friends. Acts of civil disobedience had begun to be seriously discussed and were acted out within the next year. "Philosophically," Sister Jogues said, pushing a hand at her gray hair and lighting up a cigaret, "the destruction of draft files doesn't offend me. I had a little trouble with Phil's first action with the blood pouring on draft files. But when I understood the action fully, it didn't bother me. In the case of this war, civil disobedience is called for. "I'M PROUD OF WHAT the Berrigans and others have had the courage to do. I think the church has been silent for too long on the subject of the war and these individual acts of protest at least got us out of that shady atmosphere." In 1966, Sister Jogues was made provincial of the order and involved herself with the ponderous task of updating and re-organizing the order. She needed a young energetic provincial secretary to help with the load. Sister Elizabeth, known to be a very efficient worker as well as a good typist, got the job. In close contact with Sister Jopes, Sister Elizabeth had an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with the Berrigans, who until that time, she had known only from a distance. I ' II A i , f I -q VM n The White Gloves A 1 LJ and Party Manners S' A 1 M 1 Course in etiquette ' foryoung ladies ' L, to : : : : Mi4 ' A r t 3 I : : : : "White Gloves and Party Manners" is a Jsl-- . . 'z&s&tsA m ' ' widely acclaimed, delightful course pre- '"sr - l-t.s ac 2 ; ; sented for young ladies 5 to 12 years N 0 o 0 ft r' P - ' '. '. of age who desire to be pretty, grace- Offl ' Jt Jks."- c ' ' " ' ful, well-mannered, and admired. fyW offisf sY w a : : ,: ' The course is based on the best yS2k g$ '' ' yrfy-'of ! ' ' ' f v" i d " ' selling book "White Gloves and Party XJ&rW . '' ?: ShVSi ' ' ! Manners" by Marjabelle Young Stewart, 7 O I M O "q. " o Washington, D.C. socialite, and is IJfl - . ; ;.-. , ; . jf ; '. nationally supervised by Mrs. Stewart. J ii J I (j - '. '. Our program instructor will be Miss I r.S ' ' ' 1 if' ' lV'' ''x I 52 0 .' '. ' Joan Spadaro, McCurdy's Youth n fL " ' ' ' I Ii v 1 - " " ' Coordinator. Miss Spadaro has I j Jr '. . ' i , d J) '. been personally trained by ill ' X .,'. i.i, ii.Vv . t 0 Mrs. Stewart at the White W ' , 1 1 Z Q Gloves headquarters in IV"& ' Ut M K' t Kewanee Illinois. - jdr 'i&uioiMjM2MtieHKm immm " I THIS PRESTIGE COURSE WILL INCLUDE . . . 7 NT JT I t . When You Are Served ' I Jf ' : f'i When to Begin Si yjf j . ' Being a Good Dinner Partner 5bCm I Avoid Embarrassment 'XO'J ' ' fi-t' A ' Basic Courses ! Complicated Foods Dance . r ,-' i' - .. ' ' - - t . i . V ' i ,v X ... . v . V ' f Patricia Beatty teaches GLICK I ' I t -..-. s ' i, ,. r " I I iff y i N ; ' ' ' I Hi It X4 i - . , 1 I , ' 4 " ' x " ' I 1 I (S , " f 4 i ' - - f $ - - - - Hi '- ' ' " 1 " - ' i .r ' -v, i - y . i i i -' ' - , From 1C the letters were sent are in any doubt in the governmenfs mind," Boudin said. Boudin said the government knew Sister McAlister was in New York City at the time of the alleged exchange of letters, because she was under surveillance by U.S. agents. On one occasion, Boudin added, FBI agents visited her home. The other defendants are former nun Mary Scoblick' and her husband Anthony, a former priest, both of Baltimore, Md.; the Rev. Neil R. McLaughlin, Baltimore; the Rev. Joseph D. your daughter -foT ? fllx : : : 2 ' ; h V1' I tn attend A .! - ' l ) 8 JX J j Meeting & Greeting Sending the Invitations X I Art of Conversation The Party J J Doorway Manners Saying Good-bye I I Telephone Manners I I Letters i GOOD TABLE MANNERS GOING PLACES AND - M R!in RMnr Mpnk DOING THINGS J n Napkins 'Enriches Your Life' class at SUNY Geneseo. j GOOD MANNERS PARTIES Getting Along Accepting the Invitation CAN BE FUN The 7 week course, which includes a graduation party, begins on Saturday, February 5, and will meet on successive Saturdays at McCurdy's Third Floor Community Center (White Gloves Room). Ages 5-6-7-8 will meet at 9:30 a.m. Ages 9-10-1 1-12 will meet from 1 1 a.m. to 12 Noon. Admission is bv mail only. Please, no phone calls. By LINDA CIOAYAROLI "Please don't make this ar-. tide about me," said Trish Beastty of Toronto Dance Theatre. "We're a very democratic outfit and I wouldn't want anyone to get the impression I run the whole thing." Trish is one of three directors of Canada's most well-known modern dance company, which is resident at SUNY Geneseo this week. Tomorrow night the 11-member troupe will perform at 8:15 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the Geneseo campus. Trish met her co-directors Brooklyn-born Peter Ran-dazzo and Canadian David Earle when they were all studying with Martha Graham in New York City. "New York was stagnant at least for me," says 35 year-old Trish. "I knew' I would develop there. I would go from company to company an d repeat myself. I'd be a good little girl and do what I was told. "And there was so much great moedrn dance in New York already. I knew I woul d never choreography anything myself, if Martha Graham was right down the block. I'd rahter go see her work. "At that time there was no modern dance in Canada. Nobody knew how to move that way. We thought maybe once they did, they might want to." PIANO From 1C and one left at one keyboard brought back the lingering vision of a picture on a record Wenderoth, Baltimore, and Eqbal Ahmad, a Pakistani graduate student living in Chicago. William S. Lynch, the chief U.S. attorney in the case, disputed Boudin's contention that the government knew Sister McAlister's letter was sent from New York City. "The government does not know from what district the letter was posted and neither does Mr. Boudin," Lynch said. The prosecutor added that if the defense knows where the letter was sent from it should produce an affidavit or a witness to produce the evidence. FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW AND MAIL TO: McCURDY AND COMPANY SPECIAL EVENTS DEPARTMENT MIDTOWN PLAZA ROCHESTER, NEW YORK 14604 PLEASE, NO PHONE CALLS W.' V,". r At the Movies n Church Theater, Ballet, Concerts Eating Out Visiting Trish does no consider the move to Toronto particularly courageous. "It was the right time for it," she insists. "I knew the interest was there. Toronto is just trying to grow out of being a provincial town. It's on the verge and that's excitingthe feeling that you're helping to change something." The 4-year-old company receives aid from both the federal and provincial governments. They see the recent establishment of a degree-gran-tin g program in dance at Toronto's York University as a signal recognition of their art. "It means dance is no longer considered just a diver-tisement, but something you do to enrich your life," says Trish. "When I was in school and wanted to study dance, I had to come to the United States to do it" The performin groups comes out of the company's school, but there are no auditions to join it. "I fyou want it to happen, it will happen," says Trish. All company members take part in decisions affecting the school because they all teach. The directors plan the programs for performances, but anyone who wants to choreograph can. Wednesdya night's performance will include works by several company members. "It's a very varied program because we're all different personalities," says Trish. jacket which which two left hands seemed to be Playing on a candelabra-lit piano. In the "Hexameron" Madame Faini, Messrs. Cerny, Glazer, List, Smith and Snyder assumed the roles of the composers (Liszt, Thalberg, Pixis, Herz, Czerny and Chopin) who wrote the artifice-laden variations on a Bellini march. It was the case of un-mistaken identity throughout except for the grand finale in which all six pianists played the highly ornamented theme with brilliant concentration. All of which raises one of the more joyous questions raised all season; What time does the next "Monster" arrive, sirrah? o 4- o 8 -o U O 3 u D C O CD T! n c "2 : o "2 : ? : o 5 E : - : 0 1 : : 1 S u o : . R : - : O) Q) '. 0 o u ; I I s I I I I I I GOOD GROOMING Your Hair Your Daily Bath Your Teeth Your Fingernails How to be Well Dressed FASHION MODELING To Develop Poise, Posture, and Self-confidence.

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