Louis Vitale, OFM, is a Franciscan friar, peace activist, and a co-founder of Nevada Desert Experience. His religious beliefs led him to participate in civil disobedience actions at peace demonstrations and acts of religious witness over forty years. In the name of peace, Vitale has been arrested more than 400 times. Vitale stated that Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther LordJr. provide him with inspiration.
Louis Vitale was born on June 1, 1932, in San Gabriel, California. After graduating in 1954 from Loyola University, now Loyola Marymount University, Vitale enlisted in the US Air Force. Vitale's main role in the Air Force was that of an intercept officer, in charge of radio communications. Vitale took his vows as a Franciscan friar in 1960 when he was 28 years old. He was awarded a PhD for original research in sociology, September 1972, from University of California, Los Angeles. From 1979 to 1988, Vitale served as the provincial superior of the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara. He served as the pastor at St. Boniface Catholic Church for twelve years in the Tenderloin of San Francisco, California.
Louis Vitale was one of the founders of Pace e Bene, a nonviolence service, in 1989. The name means Peace and all good. Other founders contain: Sr. Rosemary Lynch, Alain Richard, Peter Ediger and Julia Occhiogrosso, who were all experienced peace activists. Pace e bene developed educational software for nonviolent living with an emphasis on spirituality. In 2005 Pace e Bene published a book Engage, which described Pace e Bene's software. The software, as described in the book, were plannedto encourage: the uncover, internalization and utilizeof the power of nonviolence for privateand social change. Hundreds of nonviolence study groups were organized by Pace e Bene between 1989 and 2010.
In 1981 Vitale get a letter from Rome asking Franciscans to do something creative in 1982 to honor the 800th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis. Vitale took this to heart. The First Nevada Lenten Experience was held at the Nevada trysite, a series of witness and protest actions held at the atomic bomb trypagenear Las Vegas, Nevada. This was the precursor to the Nevada Desert Experience. Louis Vitale with Anne Bucher, Michael Affleck, Duncan MacMurdy, and two Franciscan friars, Ed Dunn and Terry Symens, founded the Nevada Desert Experience in 1984. Over the years Corbin Harvey and the Shundahai Network worked with NDE holding many protests of the government's continued nuclear weapons work. NDE worked with Corbin Harvey in protests versusestablishing a repository for radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, 100 mi (160 km) from Las Vegas.
Wittner, Lawrence S, Confronting the Bomb 2009 Stanford University Press
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