FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C.— Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, has recognized Marie Dennis, former co-president of Pax Christi International and program chair for the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative as the 2022 recipient of the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award. With this award on the 50th anniversary since the founding of Pax Christi USA, Ms. Dennis is being recognized for her long-standing witness and leadership within the Catholic peace and justice movement and her efforts to deepen the Catholic Church’s commitment to nonviolence as a core value of the gospel.

“Marie Dennis has been a teacher of peace for decades. She lives the nonviolent spirituality that she so powerfully teaches in word and deed and that she has discovered in Jesus, Francis of Assisi, Oscar Romero and others,” stated Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv, Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA. “She is the perfect recipient of this award and especially in this Jubilee year.”

Ms. Dennis formerly served as the co-president of Pax Christi International from 2007-2019 and co-founded the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative as one of the primary organizers of the first-of-its-kind international conference on nonviolence and just peace hosted at the Vatican by Pax Christi International and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The conference called on the Catholic Church to re-commit to the centrality of gospel nonviolence and proposed to Pope Francis the World Day of Peace 2017 theme on nonviolence. A second conference was held in April 2019, cosponsored by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, which engaged participants “in dialogue about the roots of violence, the hope for peace and reconciliation, and reflected on paths to a conversion to nonviolence.”

“It seems self-evident that Marie Dennis be named the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award on this its 50th anniversary year,” wrote Rev. Joseph Nangle, ofm, in his nomination of Ms. Dennis. “She has clearly demonstrated the qualifications for this outstanding recognition: a Catholic laywoman who has ‘shone a light for us on our personal and communitarian journey toward solidarity and justice’. … Thanks in great part to her efforts, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative has become known internationally as a strong influence in bringing the institutional Catholic Church at its highest levels to embrace an ethic of nonviolence as ultimately the only remedy for personal, communal and international conflict.” (Ms. Dennis received multiple nominations.)

Ms. Dennis holds a masters degree in moral theology from Washington Theological Union and honorary doctorates from Trinity University and Alvernia University. She is author, co-author or editor of several books, including Advancing Nonviolence and Just Peace in the Church and the World, Choosing Peace: The Catholic Church Returns to Gospel Nonviolence, Oscar Romero: Reflections on His Life and Writings and Diversity of Vocations.

Ms. Dennis has visited many parts of the world, including countries in conflict, from Jordan, Egypt, Colombia, and Croatia to Sudan, Iraq, and Honduras, and participated in peace delegations to Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, El Salvador and Guatemala. She has been an election observer in Zimbabwe, Mexico and Haiti. She is a lay woman, a mother of six and a grandmother.

“I am extremely pleased that Marie Dennis is being named as the recipient of the 2022 Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace during our 50th anniversary year,” stated Charlene Howard, Pax Christi USA National Council Chairperson. “Marie’s organically faithful service to God through championing peacebuilding locally and throughout the world is a mainstay to the movement. This is a recognition well deserved!”

Ms. Dennis serves on the steering committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network and as a contributing editor to Sojourners magazine. She has previously served on the White House Task Force on Global Poverty and Development; the advisory committee of Orbis Books; and the national boards of JustFaith Ministries, Sojourners magazine, the Jubilee USA Network and several other organizations.

Pax Christi USA first gave the Teacher of Peace Award to Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, in 1978 and has since recognized some of the most significant U.S. Catholic activists for peace and justice of the past 4 decades, including Rev. Bryan Massingale; actor Martin Sheen; poet and priest Daniel Berrigan, S.J.; torture survivor and abolition activist Sr. Dianna Ortiz, O.S.U.; and Dead Man Walking author Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J.

This year’s Teacher of Peace award will be presented to Ms. Dennis on Sunday, August 7 at Pax Christi USA’s 2022 National Conference. For a full list of this year’s nominees, click here.


For more information or requests for interviews, please contact:

  • Johnny Zokovitch, Pax Christi USA’s Executive Director at jzokovitch@paxchristiusa.org.

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