Pax Christi USA extends condolences to the friends and family of Fr. Louis Vitale, OFM, who died on September 6, 2023 at age 91.

Father Louie was a well-known and beloved Franciscan friar who embraced the call to nonviolent civil resistance as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and was a fierce advocate for justice and care for homeless persons and others on the margins of society.

“My memories of Louie Vitale center on his joyful Franciscan spirit,” shared Joe Nangle, OFM, Pax Christi USA’s 2023 Teacher of Peace, and longtime friend of Fr. Louie. “Unlike the doomsday attitudes of some social activists, Louie always demonstrated that this serious work brings deep happiness. As his brother friar, I will forever be grateful for his wonderful Italian optimism – much like another Franciscan who even sang to the birds.”

Co-founder of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service and the Nevada Desert Experience (which organizes public witnesses against nuclear testing), Father Louie shared the 2001 Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace award with Phil Berrigan and Liz McAlister.

Watch this video of Fr. Louie from the Circle of Peace Speaking Tour Spring 2009, on the topic of loving ones’ enemies:

10 thoughts on “Louis Vitale, Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace, presente! 1932-2023

  1. We have lived with a saint and truly blessed. Enjoy the table of the Lord dear friend. Sr. Celeste

  2. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un! We belong to God, and to God we all return! I saw Fr. Louis several times in the last few months – he had the room next to mine at the rehab center I was in from 8 May to 23 July after I had a fall… May Allah Most Merciful grant Mercy to his soul, forgive his sins, erase his errors, and grant him an honored station in His Garden! Amin! May Allah send Peace and ease to the hearts of all his family and friends, and strengthen their faith in the life to come! Amin!

  3. What a holy man! I had the privilege of knowing him for so many years. He touched my heart
    by his actions that really moved my own. I feel so blessed to have him as a part of my life.
    Via con Dios, mi Amigo.
    Sister Stella Marie Goodpasture, OP

  4. Louie was friend and mentor. As a young priest, he was joyful and challenging and affirming in our arrests and reflection within church structures. Louie was one of those prophets of justice whose Franciscan spirit called me and all into actions for all and Gods Crestion Presente!!!

  5. A true Franciscan who stood with the minores. I knew him from School of the Americas Watch demonstrations. RIP

  6. Rest in peace, dear “Fr. Louie.” My life was enhanced by your presence and I will remain forever grateful.

  7. I met Father Lou when I was in high school. He was an amazing man and was a great comfort to me when I was struggling.

  8. Concelebrated by El Paso Diocesan Father James “Buzz” Hall and distinguished visitor and teacher Louis Vitale OFM, one annual Peace and Justice Mass sponsored by Pax Christi El Paso and (then) Diocesan Peace and Justice had an especially memorable sense of purpose.
    When one is so fortunate to see sainthood embodied in calm purpose, the memory is clear.

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