Personal Stories of Peace: Sister Pauline Lally

Personal Stories of Peace is a new series of interviews conducted and composed by volunteers. Anyone who has a story to share about any personal experiences or views on peace is welcome to contact us and request an interview. Looking forward to all the stories to come!


A lively Sister Pauline Lally came up my front steps and into my life wrapped in her black winter jacket, her grey hair moving with the elements, and holding out hands clothed in newly -purchased red gloves. We gathered around my teapot, and one by one explored our mutual questions and stories.

If you are born in an environment “where there was talk of war in the air” leading to the Second World War is there an osmosis effect that permeates and fuels a lifetime of passion for peace and justice?

Was it the atomic bomb and the cruise missile unleashed at the end of WWll, childhood experiences of Sister Pauline that took her protests to the streets to ban their use, and then take up her pen, and in brilliant red, write three pages to encourage Pierre E. Trudeau with his world-wide peace initiatives?

Was it the writing of Dr. Helen Caldicott, If You Love This Planet, urging everyone to change their lives and their goals that seared the conscience of her readers and encouraged Sister Pauline to make connections with like-minded thinkers?

Those like-minded thinkers became a presence at meetings of Kingston’s City Council, and created a community of strong voices for peace in contract to the often celebrated and glorified wars and victories. It was from the Providence Spirituality Centre, and the leadership of Sister Pauline’s Peace and Justice mandate that the Silent Vigils every Friday morning for twenty years took place on the steps of Kingston’s City Hall. It was their very presence, and the silently voiced prayers of the participants that made a strong and lasting statement for Peace and Justice, not only for those years, but all the coming days.

Sister Pauline continues to dream and make plans for a peace conference right in the center of Kingston, the military city.  With her red gloves, I know she will be up for the challenge.

1078_04_9780888876195.cover.front.largeby Beth Pierce Robinson

Beth is the author of “Please Write” a memoir of her time as an Occupational Therapist during WWII – available from Borealis Press.