Posted on December 6, 2013“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela
Pax Christi USA, upon learning of the death of Nelson Mandela, joins with people all over the world who are mourning his passing and celebrating his life. His extraordinary personal witness to the power of justice and reconciliation serves as a model for political leaders everywhere. His leadership in uniting the people of South Africa and overcoming apartheid displayed the power of truth and nonviolence to transform fear and conflict in individuals and a nation.
“The arc of Mandela’s life is one of a man who grew into a deep understanding of the transformational power of nonviolence and forgiveness,” stated Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA. “The choices he made and the actions he took led not only to his own personal transformation but to the transformation of an entire nation, his beloved South Africa.”
Mandela’s dignity and honesty impacted not only his opponents and jailers but won him the respect and admiration of people all over the world, inspiring revolutionary movements rooted in the same commitment to truth and reconciliation that he instituted as the president of South Africa following apartheid. His unwavering support for human rights and racial equality touched the hearts and lives of millions of people the world over.
“In many ways, Nelson Mandela became the conscience of our world,” said Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, Pax Christi USA’s National Council Chair. “His own personal example showed people everywhere that political leaders could act out of the deepest, most profound experiences of humanity and lead with compassion, forgiveness and a commitment to peace with justice.”
Pax Christi USA gives thanks for Nelson Mandela’s life—for his courage, his leadership, his personal testimony to the power of redemptive suffering and forgiveness over vengeance and retaliation.“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” ~ Nelson Mandela