Mercy Mondays: Celebrating nonviolence and the heart of antiracism work
As Salve Regina celebrates MLK Week, the work of nonviolence espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the most profound principles that speaks to the transformational power of mercy.
Nonviolence lays a foundation for the work of the spirit, as it allows one to grow in compassion for the other.
In his book “In Peace and Freedom: My Journey in Selma,” Dr. Bernard Lafayette writes of a moment when he looked deep into the eyes of someone who was beating him. As he looked into his eyes, he saw a common humanity with the person, and he hoped that this act of nonviolence would help his attacker see his humanity as well. Dr. Lafayette’s work in Selma and his very life tell the story of a commitment to the movement and a commitment to mercy.
My experience with nonviolence has transformed my understanding of what it means to respond in love, especially in moments when love seems the hardest emotion to reach. A year ago this January, I participated in a virtual nonviolence training with the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence.
Similarly to the Institute for Nonviolence in Providence, the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence was established to promote and educate the Kingian nonviolence training of Dr. Lafayette. This training is one built in the principles of nonviolence and mercy. It’s about transformation of the heart, radical vulnerability and a willingness to presume the goodwill of the other. They believe that these principles lead one into work of nonviolence.
I was deeply impacted by the experiences at this training, and I believe these principles will also guide Salve Regina into the future.
This year at Salve Regina, we continue to work to espouse the critical concern of nonviolence, and we are afforded the opportunity to practice love in action.
We are afforded the opportunity to gather in the negative, the anger, the pain of the world and respond by transforming it into mercy and nonviolence.
We are afforded the opportunity to look at systems of racism and oppression and ask, “How can I respond in love? What is the most important action I can take to move justice forward?”
We are afforded the opportunity to step off the shoulders of those who have gone before us and forge our own path forward toward justice and equity.
As we forge this path together as one community, come learn and pray with the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life at our virtual Vigil for Nonviolence during MLK Week on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 1:45 p.m. The event will be held online here.
This article was by MaryAnne Davey, Director of the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina