UB to Co-Sponsor Talk By International Peace Activist

By Arthur Page

Release Date: October 13, 1997

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- James H. Forest, international peace activist, author and friend of the late Catholic writer Thomas Merton, will give a talk titled "Merton, Mysticism and Me: Crafting Peace in a Violent World" at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 20, in Sacred Heart Academy, 3860 Main St., Eggertsville.

The talk is free of charge and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsoring the event is the Department of American Studies, Catholic Campus Ministry and Newman Center, and the Office of Student Life, all at the University at Buffalo; the Western New York Peace Center; the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Erie Community College; the Reverend A. Joseph Bissonette Foundation; the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ.

Folk musician Nan Hoffman, a 1985 graduate of the UB master's program in American studies, will open the evening with a three-song performance.

Forest was on staff at the Fellowship of Reconciliation from 1967-69, responsible for Vietnam program activities. In 1969, he was imprisoned for 13 months for his involvement with the "Milwaukee Fourteen," a group that burned draft records.

During his career, he also worked closely with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement.

Forest befriended Merton while working as managing editor of The Catholic Worker, which also was founded by Day.

Merton, a Roman Catholic monk, poet and prolific writer on spiritual and social themes, is considered one of the most prominent American Catholic writers of the 20th century. He dedicated his book "Faith and Violence" (University of Notre Dame Press, 1968) to Forest.

Forest also has written several books, including "Love is the Measure: A Biography of Dorothy Day" (Orbis, 1994) and "Living With Wisdom: A Biography of Thomas Merton" (Paulist, 1980).

Forest now lives in Alkamaar, Holland, and serves as secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.