Jeff’s Corner: Peace Pilgrim’s Sister

Helene Young, now 105, joyfully rode her bike 10 miles a day until she was 98 years old.

香蕉视频app安卓On January 1, 1953, when Peace Pilgrim started her pilgrimage, she had entrusted her younger sister, Helene Young, who she described as her “friend,” to protect her anonymity. For more than 28 years, Peace regularly sent updates so Helene would know where she was going to be and then Helene faithfully forwarded all the mail Peace received at a Cologne, NJ, post office box which Peace gave as her “address” to those she met across the country. (All these years later, letters still periodically arrive at the post office for the beloved pilgrim.)

香蕉视频app安卓Helene is now 105 years old and still lives in the same house she did in 1953, a converted feed depot that her brother Alfred redesigned and rebuilt into a small but attractive home.

We have held the annual Friends of Peace Pilgrim board meeting at Helene’s house the last few years but unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to meet online this year. We truly missed her hospitality, her neat-as-a-pin home and especially the times Helene, an accomplished pianist, would spontaneously perform for the board members during a break. 

I visited her in 1992 and met her late husband Eugene, an avid historian who compiled what has become a treasured scrapbook of Peace Pilgrim’s 28-plus years of walking for peace. The scrapbook is now housed at the historical museum in their birth town of Egg Harbor City, NJ.  

At the time of my visit, Helene was riding her bike 10 miles a day for exercise. I had the pleasure on two different days to ride with her in the countryside for her 10 miles. We visited Peace Pilgrim's grave as well as the winery where Helene worked until she retired. Mildred (the future Peace Pilgrim) had also worked there and gotten her little sister the job. Helene often says with a smile, “I’m very lucky because I got my job through my sister and my husband through my brother” (who introduced the pair.)

Nearly two decades later, when Helene was 97 years old, we again rode 10 miles in the countryside around Cologne and Egg Harbor City. We stopped at the nearby community of Germania Gardens and visited with a man who knew Mildred before the pilgrimage and described a party that she had attended. He never met her as Peace Pilgrim.

香蕉视频app安卓During her pilgrimage, Peace Pilgrim would occasionally stay with Helene for a few days if she was passing through New Jersey. Helene told me that the woman who was Peace Pilgrim was not the sister she remembered. Peace Pilgrim herself had said she “died to her old self.” It was evident to Helene that “Mildred” was gone and she couldn’t resurrect her. She said Peace Pilgrim used the time during her stays responding to the many letters she received and to do some speaking engagements in the area.

Helene continued her practice of riding her bike 10 miles a day until she was 101 years old. When she was 99 and 100 she participated in an annual 12-14 mile bike ride fundraiser. While training for the next bike ride she fell off her bike and reluctantly made the decision to stop biking.
Different as their paths may have been, both siblings shared a deep desire to live peaceably. Helene has done much on her own and through her sister’s legacy to promote peace. She is quite a remarkable woman and we’ll share some more of her story in future blog posts!

The Three Living Compilers of the Peace Pilgrim book

香蕉视频app安卓Three of the five compilers of the Peace Pilgrim book, from left, Andy Zupko, Cheryl Canfield and Richard Polese.

After Peace Pilgrim's passing in 1981, about 50 people from around the U.S. attended a memorial gathering at the home of Richard Polese in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A decision was made to compile a collection of Peace Pilgrim’s words from letters, audiotapes and other sources. Five people ­– John and Ann Rush, Cheryl Canfield, Andy Zupko and Richard Polese – stayed to create what became the classic book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words 

香蕉视频app安卓John and Ann Rush made their transition to a freer life, but three of those compilers are still here: Andy Zupko, Cheryl Canfield and Richard Polese.

香蕉视频app安卓Each had spent much time with Peace Pilgrim. Peace stayed at Richard’s home while in Santa Fe and the book includes a news article about her written by Richard, a local newspaper reporter at the time. Andy and Cheryl followed Peace Pilgrim around on her pilgrimage, attending her different speaking engagements, and enjoying many one-on-one conversations with her. They also participated in Peace Pilgrim’s inspirational tours in Alaska and Hawaii. (Richard, too, went on the Hawaiian tour.) 

All three became founding members of the Friends of Peace Pilgrim board, dedicated to spreading the wisdom of their beloved friend and mentor. Cheryl, active as a wellness counselor, and Richard, a book publisher, remain on the FoPP board. Although Andy resigned and retired to a life of contemplation, we are regularly in touch with him.

The Peace Pilgrim book香蕉视频app安卓 they lovingly put together has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people around the globe for nearly four decades. FoPP offers the book for free as a print book in English and Spanish, an audio book and as a digital download in 18 languages. 

Print Book Ritual Deeply Rewarding


香蕉视频app安卓FoPP Board Member Richard Polese picks up the latest shipment of Peace Pilgrim books.

When we received our latest shipment of Peace Pilgrim books from the printer, we paused to reflect on the wonderful ritual this has become for Friends of Peace Pilgrim. 

After Peace Pilgrim’s sudden passing in July 1981, FoPP board member Richard Polese hosted a Memorial gathering at his home in Santa Fe, NM. About 50 people from around the country showed up and spent several days sharing stories and remembering their connections with Peace Pilgrim. Five friends of Peace stayed on afterward to compile her words into the book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

One of the five compilers, Andy Zubko, donated enough money to print the first edition. The group decided to offer the book in the spirit of Peace Pilgrim – free to any who ask for it. They planned to continue printing it as long as there were enough unsolicited donations to pay for the next printing. In 1982, the first shipment was delivered to the home of John and Ann Rush, a Quaker couple in Whittier, CA, who ran the first Peace Pilgrim Center.

Thirty-eight years after we received that first shipment of Peace Pilgrim books, it is a rare day that we don’t receive emails, calls or letters asking for a copy. The tradition of sending out books free upon request has continued, and there has always been enough funding for the next printing, primarilly through unsolicited donations.

Since 1982, we have taken delivery of about half a million copies of Peace Pilgrim's books, as well as over 2 million copies of Peace Pilgrim’s Steps Toward Inner Peace香蕉视频app安卓 (along with many audio and video cassettes, DVDs and other offerings.)

香蕉视频app安卓Though many people come to our website to download the digital edition of the Peace Pilgrim book (not only in English but in 17 other languages), in the spirit of Peace Pilgrim we continue offering the printed edition free to any and all who  ask – which we do joyfully!

Where is Friends of Peace Pilgrim located?

The late John and Ann Rush hosted the Peace Pilgrim Center in their California homes for over two decades.

香蕉视频app安卓The late John and Ann Rush hosted the Peace Pilgrim Center in their California homes for over two decades.

香蕉视频app安卓Many people wonder where Friends of People Pilgrim is based. Good question!

香蕉视频app安卓When we started out in 1982, our little organization operated out of the home of John and Ann Rush, a Quaker couple from Whittier, CA, who then purchased a home in Hemet, CA. Around 2004 they moved to Somerset, CA, to a property given to Friends of Peace Pilgrim by Cathy Miller. John and Ann retired due to health concerns and Cathy continued the Peace Pilgrim center in Somerset until her passing a few years later.

香蕉视频app安卓John and Ann each lived into their 90s, but ever since they retired and Cathy Miller passed we no longer have had a single location where people could come and visit. But we have continued to send out Peace Pilgrim's book and other offerings free to those who ask continuously since 1982.

At the present time our official mailing address is in Shelton, CT. Requests that come in through the mail are usually shipped from there, including the numerous requests for the Peace Pilgrim book from prisoners, in English and Spanish. Requests that come in from our website and by email are shipped from the home of board member Richard Polese in Santa Fe, NM. It was from his home that the Memorial gathering took place after Peace Pilgrim's passing and where the book was compiled shortly thereafter. Richard is one of the five compilers of the Peace Pilgrim book. 

Requests for multiple copies of our various offerings are generally shipped from Oklahoma City, OK, where we rent space in a church. Oklahoma is the home of board member Maurice Hoover, and much of the work is done in Oklahoma City by Jackie Newcomb. Our phone, though a Connecticut number, is now answered in Santa Fe.

So unlike in the days of having our Peace Pilgrim center in the home of John and Ann Rush, our volunteers now send out Peace Pilgrim offerings from three different locations: Shelton CT, Santa Fe, NM and Oklahoma City, OK, which we joyfully do!


FoPP board member Richard Polese called the memorial gathering from which the Peace Pilgrim book resulted; He is one of the five compilers of the book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.

New Newsletter for Translators

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Mayte Picco-Kline is our board member in charge of coordinating the translations of Peace Pilgrim's words and we believe that she has done a spectacular job. At the present time, you can find on the Peace Pilgrim website translations of the book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, in 18 languages and her Steps Towards Inner Peace in 32 languages, all available in easily downloadable free editions. This was possible because of the great efforts of numerous people, for whom we at Friends of Peace Pilgrim feel great gratitude.

香蕉视频app安卓We first met Mayte around 1989 when she offered to help create a Spanish language edition of the Peace Pilgrim book. We have kept this Spanish language edition in print ever since.

We currently offer the Peace Pilgrim book as a digital download in the following languages in addition to English:
Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish and Tamil. 

Friends of Peace Pilgrim has actually produced three printed language editions of the Peace Pilgrim book. In addition to the English and Spanish printed editions, we also produced a Russian language edition, of which we printed 20,000 copies (and 50,000 copies of the Russian language Steps香蕉视频app安卓). These were printed in Moscow and how that came about will be the subject of a future post. 

We also currently offer printed editions of Steps Toward Inner Peace in Arabic and Hebrew. It is available for download in 32 languages:
Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Nepali, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.  

If you are interested in Mayte's Peace Pilgrim translation project and would like to receive the newsletter for translators, let us know!

Friends Celebrate Peace Pilgrim's Birthday

Stormy weather could not dampen the joyful celebration of Peace Pilgrim’s birthday on July 18, 2019. Friends new and old gathered in her hometown of Egg Harbor City, NJ, at the Historical Museum across from Peace Pilgrim Park.

香蕉视频app安卓Originally intended to be outdoors, the gathering, planned by FoPP Board Member Barbara Reynolds, was filled with love and laughter. Everyone was thrilled to chat with Peace Pilgrim's “baby” sister, Helene Young, age 104, who blew out the candle on the birthday cake. 

When the weather cleared a little, the party moved across the street for a quick tour of the Park, which looked beautiful thanks to the efforts of local master gardeners and neighborhood children. “I enjoy connecting the children in the community to the nature found the Park,” said master gardener Candace Negron. “We planted native plants for our bees and butterflies visiting the gardens and educated our students on the importance of them to the garden”. 

After visiting the Park, which features a Peace Pilgrim statue surrounded with colorful tiles made by local school students and a garden in the shape of a peace sign, the group returned to the museum. Accompanied by three guitars, they sang peace songs until about 10 pm.

香蕉视频app安卓“It was a most wonderful evening in the company of many Friends of Peace Pilgrim and Peace's most amazing sister, Helene,” said FoPP Board Member Bruce Nichols.

Remembering Peace Pilgrim's Glorious Transition


Even though she had wandered the United States for more than 28 years and was in the middle of her seventh pilgrimage, Peace Pilgrim’s travels still took her to new places. Such was the case in Knox, IN, where she arrived on July 5, 1981. A friend she met many years earlier had moved to the small midwestern city and invited her to visit.

As usual, Peace was featured in the local paper, interviewed on the radio and had several talks lined up. One of her first was at a crowded church hall. As she spoke, Peace kept looking skyward. Then she surprised her audience by walking off the platform and slowly making her way around the silent room. She reached out to individuals one-by-one and touched each of them, saying “bless you.” She returned to the podium, looked upward again and remarked, “I never usually say goodbye, but this has been a very special night for me and I just want to bless all of you and say goodbye.” Afterwards, as always, she took time to chat with those who sought her out.

The next day, Peace rose with the sun and watched the dawn blossom into daylight. Later, she was interviewed by local radio broadcaster Ted Hayes. The following afternoon, July 7, Peace had another speaking engagement at a senior center in Elkhart, IN, and had accepted the offer of a ride from Ewell Ward. For the first 25,000 miles of her pilgrimage she refused transportation and strictly kept to walking. But once she stopped counting the miles and had many engagements to meet, she didn’t mind the lift. As his car pulled up, she said a warm good-bye to her friend, offering an extra hug.

香蕉视频app安卓Just outside the Knox border, the vehicle was in a head-on collision near the home of. Tony and Terry Bau. The couple ran to the road when they heard the explosive crash. Terry held Peace in her arms as she made her transition. Ewell, the driver, passed a few hours later. The young lady driving the other car was not seriously injured.

Thousands of her friends – old and new – were deeply shocked and saddened when they learned of Peace Pilgrim’s sudden passing. The irony was not lost on anyone that the amazing woman who spent nearly three decades moving on foot met her earthly end in an automobile. But Peace was most likely rejoicing on that day, July 7, 1981, when she made what she often called a “glorious transition to a freer life.”

香蕉视频app安卓Twenty-eight years later, in 2009, Friends of Peace Pilgrim board member Richard Polese joined Tony and Terry Bau to help erect a Peace Pilgrim Pole that still stands just across the road from the accident. Radio broadcaster Ted Hayes, who recorded her last interview the day before she died, joined the celebration as well.

The Baus keep a small box by the pole where passersby can pick up a copy of Peace’s Steps Toward Inner Peace香蕉视频app安卓. Recently, friend Jason Brown sent a note with links to photos of the Peace Pilgrim Pole in Knox. “I have been a big fan of Peace Pilgrim for many years. She changed my life tremendously,” said Jason, who also noted that photos from the crash are shown 52:30 into the wonderful documentary, .

NOTE: This article appeared in the latest issue (Number 64) of the Friends of Peace Pilgrim newsletter.

In 2009, Tony and Terry Bau, Richard Polese and radio broadcaster Ted Hayes help dedicate a Peace Pilgrim Pole that still stands near the site of her transition.

In 2009, Tony and Terry Bau, Richard Polese and radio broadcaster Ted Hayes help dedicate a Peace Pilgrim Pole that still stands near the site of her transition.

Peace Pilgrim honored as Visionary Champion of Peace and Nonviolence

We might not know them. And we rarely get a chance to truly understand or appreciate their courage, conviction and compassion. But visionary women have been behind centuries of work toward nonviolent change, from women’s rights and racial justice to disarmament and gun control. Peace Pilgrim was among 12 of these remarkable people honored by the National Women’s History Alliance as Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence香蕉视频app安卓 at a special program in Washington, D.C. on March 30.

香蕉视频app安卓Friends of Peace Pilgrim Board member Bruce Nichols was thrilled to accept the award from Martha Wheelock, an NWHA board member who actually met Peace Pilgrim in the 1970’s and happily held up one of the last navy blue tunics that Peace wore during her 28-year pilgrimage. Although no longer able to attend these kinds of events, Peace’s 104-year-old sister, Helene Young, expressed deep gratitude through Bruce for the posthumous recognition of her sister’s life and work towards a more peaceful world. in addition, Bruce shared a few words of Peace Pilgrim’s wisdom and also offered deep appreciation to all the extraordinary women recognized that day.

Other posthumous honorees were:
Elise Boulding, a Quaker sociologist and author who was a major contributor to the development of the field of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Sarah Brady, a leading gun control advocate who helped pass important legislation after her husband was permanently disabled in the failed assassination attempt on President Reagan.
Dorothy Cotton, the only woman in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s inner circle and one of the most influential women in the civil rights movement.
Mary Burnett Talbert, a founder of both the Niagara Movement in 1905 and its successor the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910.  

Living honorees, who all attended the event, were:
Kathy Kelly, a dedicated peace worker in international conflict zones, a founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  
Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, a grassroots humanitarian and development organization dedicated to serving women survivors of wars.
Graciela Sanchez, a neighborhood activist and cultural worker who co-founded the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio, TX.
Deborah Tucker helped write and pass the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and is currently President of the Board of Directors of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Dr. E. Faye Williams, an active civil and human rights leader who is National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women.
Sister Alice Zachmann香蕉视频app安卓, founder and former director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA.



Beautiful new audio of Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim in Buffalo New York 1972

Peace Pilgrim in Buffalo New York 1972

Here at Friends of Peace Pilgrim we recently received a link to an interview with Peace Pilgrim made in Seattle at radio station KRAB. It was sent to us by Charles Reinsch, the KRAB archivist, who said, “Peace Pilgrim visited KRAB on July 20, 1973. She was interviewed for about 60 minutes, and the interview was aired the next day, again on Aug 30, 1973, July 8, 1975, and on Aug 4, 1978”.

香蕉视频app安卓The interview was particularly interesting to me because I first met Peace Pilgrim in Seattle in 1973, during her visit to that city when she did this interview. At the time I was an attender of the University Friends Meeting (Quaker) and on one Sunday it was announced that there would be a speaker after the meeting. I remember after hearing a description of this "wandering pilgrim" who went around wearing a tunic and talking about peace, wondering just what kind of person she was. Immediately upon hearing her, however, it was clear to me that she was a very genuine person. I can honestly say that this meeting with Peace Pilgrim in Seattle in 1974 profoundly changed my life. But that is another story.

Anyway here is a link to Peace Pilgrim's interview at KRAB - enjoy!

Link directly to Peace Pilgrim interview:

Link to KRAB archive page that has some information about the interview, along with two other interesting links related to Peace Pilgrim:

Peace Pilgrim in Her Own Words - Free to Those Who Ask

 Peace Pilgrim started her pilgrimage journey on January 1 of 1953 and continued on the road, homeless, without accepting money or asking for food or shelter, for over 28 years. After her passing there was a memorial gathering to remember and celebrate her life and witness. Five attenders of that gathering stayed afterwards to compile her words into a book.

When the question came up about how to distribute the book, these five people made a decision that they would offer Peace Pilgrim -- Her Life and Work in Her Own Words香蕉视频app安卓 in the spirit of Peace Pilgrim, free to those who ask. One of the five compilers donated enough money for the first printing and together they made the decision that they would distribute the book freely, without charging  for it or ever soliciting donations, and that when they ran out of books if there were not enough funds for the next printing, they would cease publishing the book.

Well, that was about 35 years ago and, after offering over 2 1/2 million pieces of Peace Pilgrim literature: books, booklets VHS video tapes, DVDs, audiocassettes etc. there has always been enough money for the next printing.

John and Ann Rush with their three children: Heath, Pamela and Erica

John and Ann Rush with their three children: Heath, Pamela and Erica

The non-profit foundation that these five compilers of the Peace Pilgrim book formed is an all volunteer organization and to this day, we operate without a paid staff or ever soliciting donations. How do we manage to pull that off? The Friends of Peace Pilgrim Foundation and its operations and efforts is one of the three areas to be covered by this blog. The other two are: Peace Pilgrim, her life, pilgrimage and witness, and what people are doing who are inspired by Peace Pilgrim.

We will leave you with a photograph of two people who can in a sense be considered the founders of Friends of Peace Pilgrim, John and Ann Rush, a Quaker couple. For years after the book came out, Friends of Peace Pilgrim operated out of their home, first in Whittier and later in Hemet, California and finally in Somerset, California. Their extraordinary life is a subject in itself. More about them in future posts in this blog.