“activist Nuns” From Tennessee

She believes in social justice, she is a pacifist (although without openly denying right to those in Latin America or anywhere else to use force while fighting against our expansionism). She is a member of several grassroots, community based organizations. She is currently working with the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville in the Office of Justice-Peace-Integrity of Creation.

Sister Anne, an associate Sister Mary (presently on probation after serving part of her term in prison), and other nuns do over and over again what even strong, young and healthy men don’t dare to do anymore. They walk towards the restricted area on the road serving the “Y-12″ plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (historically a uranium enriching facility, responsible for the production of bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and in defiance of the regulations and laws they cross the demarcation line marching towards the plant.

But for them, it is a part of the struggle. On April 9, 2003, Anne Hablas read her Court Statement for trial in Anderson County Courthouse, turning it into a powerful political statement:

“I was brought up to believe that the law is to be respected and obeyed, but I was also made aware that by my Baptism as a Catholic I am ultimately called to follow my conscience. A letter I received when I was discerning whether I would do civil disobedience at Y-12 on March 30 helped me to make the choice I did. This letter referred to Franz Jagerstatter, an Austrian peasant, who because of his refusal to serve in Hitler’s army was imprisoned and eventually executed by the German government in 1943. Franz withstood hostility and accusations of being unpatriotic and a traitor, but he believed he had to obey his conscience.

“I accept responsibility for my actions, and whether I am judged guilty or innocent, I was acting in accord with a Higher Law to which I must be faithful.”

Obvious to any person traveling on the public road is the fact that (taking into account Sr. Anne’s description) no criminal trespass was committed. It was impossible because the demarcation line was guarded by temporary iron gates. These facts were shown in photographs documenting the day.

“I was not the only one who crossed the blue line. It was six of us, including Judy Ross, 80 years old lady who ended up spending 1 month in jail for ‘disobeying police officer’. Last year, sister Mary was tried by the jury and by Federal Judge for crossing ‘blue line’. Her trial lasted 4 days.”

Anne Hablas claims that most Americans have no idea how many political prisoners we hold in our jails: “3 sisters went to protest at the testing site in Colorado and now they are facing many years in jail. They are held in terrible conditions, in high security jail. They are waiting for the sentencing, but they already spent months in these conditions.”

According to her and to her friends, America is undergoing a period of profound militarization. The entire US leadership, including the President and members of Congress and Senate are people who came from the corporate establishment and are getting millions of dollars from the corporations. Country is run according to the corporate interests, not according to the needs of the majority of the people.

Therefore Anne Hablas, a senior Catholic nun decided take action, without waiting for others. In Tennessee, she and her friends are becoming some kind of a folk legend. People talk about them, some with respect others with annoyance. They were once called jokingly “terrorist nuns,” but this is only a joke, being as far from the truth as possible for they are gentle souls doing good work.

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