Click here to read a moving tribute to Gerard Vanderhaar
by his friend Linda Raiteri. (In PDF format.)
Visitors to this website may notice the frequent quotes attributed to Dr. Gerard Vanderhaar, a Professor Emeritus of Religion and Peace Studies at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Gerard was a principal founder of our group, but more importantly, his life was spent teaching, writing about and working toward peace. He passed away on June 21, 2005. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he received his doctorate in theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome.
He was a member of Pax Christi, the International Catholic Peace Movement since 1973, and was instrumental in establishing Pax Christi USA. Twice he chaired the National Council of the U.S. section, and was a delegate to four Pax Christi International Council meetings in Europe. During a 1979-89 sabbatical he and his wife Janice were staff members at the International Peace Center in Atwerp, Belgium.
He participated in the 1975 National Security Seminar at the U.S. Army War College, was a delegate to a theological dialogue between Pax Christi and the Russian Orthodox Church at Moscow Theological Seminary in 1980, and gave lecture tours throughout England in 1980 and 1997. He and Janice undertook a study mission for Pax Christi to the Philipines in 1989, and also made a personal pilgrimage to Hiroshima in Japan. In 1996 they traveled through China with the World Cataract Foundation, on whose board they served. In Memphis they co-founded the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in 1982, and, with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, helped start the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in 1991.
On the subject of nonviolence he was the author of six books, numerous booklets and articles. His Active Nonviolence: a Way of Personal Peace received a 1990 Catholic Press Association award for spirituality, and Beyond Violence in the Spirit of the Nonviolent Christ was given the 1998 Pax Christi National Book Award. His last, Personal Nonviolence: a Practical Spirituality for Peacemakers was published by Pax Christi USA in 2005, and used for study by our local group.
In 1994 he received the Tennessee Higher Education Commission Award for community service. In 2003 he and Janice were given the Bishop Carroll T. Dozier award for Peace and Justice by Christian Brothers University.
He has been listed in the Dictionary of American Scholars, Outstanding Educators of America, Who's Who in Religion, and International Authors and Writers Who's Who.
During the 1960s and early 70s he worked to stop the war in Vietnam. His peace work took him to Russia, Ukraine, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, Cuba, Central and South America, Japan, the Philipines and China. He was arrested for civil disobedience at the School of Americas at Fort Benning, and at the Kings Bay Submarine Base in St. Mary's Georgia.
He was a Pax Christi Ambassador of Peace, a title now currently bestowed on his wife Janice.
For more on the life of this remarkable man, and to view photos and information on the 'Vanderhaar Symposium at Christian Brothers University, visit: gvanderhaar.org