U.N. International Day of Peace: School Sisters invite community to contemplative observance

The School Sisters of Notre Dame in Wilton will celebrate the U.N. International Day of Peace on Monday, Sept. 23, in Pascal Hall at Villa Notre Dame at 345 Belden Hill Road. The community is invited to attend the ceremony, which begins at 1:45 p.m.

The centerpiece of this year’s Day of Peace observance will be the showing of a 15-minute video of young Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the United Nations a few months ago. The 16-year-old Pakistani girl made history when she was shot in an attack by the Taliban in October 2012 for speaking out in favor of education. She has since healed and grown a deeper conviction to pursue her mission as a world spokeswoman for education, especially for women.

The International Day of Peace was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 and was first celebrated in September 1982. In 2001, the U.N. General Assembly designated Sept. 21 as the specific date on which to annually observe a day of “global ceasefire and nonviolence.”

In reference to this year’s international Peace Day theme of “Education for Peace,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies.”

The sisters and staff at Villa Notre Dame will be celebrating Peace Day for the 10th straight year. The tone at VND’s commemoration will be reflective and meditative. The Villa’s Angelus bell will toll at 1:45 and after filing silently into the hall, those in attendance will be seated around a peace pole.

Sister Claire Bonneau will offer a brief welcome and introduce the video of Malala’s speech. After several minutes of quiet reflection on the video, copies of the speech — available in English, Spanish and Creole — will be distributed to participants as they file from the hall. Silence, other than the sounding of the chimes, will be encouraged.

For more information on the Peace Day ceremony, call Sister Claire Bonneau, SSND at 203-762-4133 or email cgoodwater@ssndwilton.org.