Whenever I think of an act of non-cooperation in its most potent form–that is, as the expression of love– I think of the Russian nun, Elizabeth Palenko, Maria Skobtsova, also known as “Mother Mary,” who was a member of the French Resistance. (Pictured in 1938 on the left.)
In 1945, she was sent to Ravensbruk concentration camp for hiding Jewish families in the walls of her hospital in occupied Paris. In the camp, a line of women–of which she was a part–was taken in front of a newly constructed building, and told that it was a bath-house. Then, twelve women were called to go inside. Everyone realized what was happening, and one woman of the twelve broke down. Palenko quickly stepped in, and offered her last form of non-cooperation–she died in her place. With her final sacrifice, she left a clear message: non-cooperation is a hymn of love. She refused to cooperate with the belief that there was nothing more that she could do, instead cooperating with the demands of her conscience. Not surprisingly, she was later canonized in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Do something for love today that is the expression of your conscience.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org