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The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs
"I believe strongly in my heart in the power of God and the power of creation and the Resurrection. They are much stronger than the powers of death." --Father Bill “Bix” Bichsel
Helen Young is a documentary filmmaker currently hard at work on a new film entitled The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs. The film follows the lives of five peace activists, including two Catholic nuns in their eighties and Father Bill Bichsel or “Bix” as he is known by his friends, as they wage their own war on nuclear weapons.
Bix was a friend of Kelly Ann Brown and the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation Directors for close to twenty years. Sadly, Bix passed away February 28, 2015 at his home, Jean’s House of Prayer in Tacoma, Washington. Bix was 86 years old.
Several years ago, Father Bix gave Helen Young my cell number. This was a very Bix thing to do, connecting all through his own personal mantra of “Peace, Love & Resistance” (with those three powerful words, Bix would sign off on all his emails and letters from prison, even as his health was failing, his eyesight slipping away). Ms. Young met me at my home and talked to me about her documentary.
The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs highlights a protest or “action” taken by Bix and four others at the military base in Bangor, Washington, where the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons are stored. The protesters, later dubbed the “Bangor Five,” brought bolt cutters and entered the “secured” facility, walked around, and got very close to the nuclear weapons. Symbolically, they poured blood as they prayed and asked for an end to all nuclear weapons. In the film, the Bangor Five talk about their motivation for trespassing on the base, and what they hoped to accomplish by their so-called crimes. All were arrested at gunpoint, forced to lie on the ground for hours, jailed, and later charged. The film covers their trial, convictions and sentencing. All five were given federal prison terms.
As Ms. Young informed me:
“The film is not only about a federal case involving five peace activists. It delves into the reasons why these people believe so deeply in the cause of nuclear disarmament that they would be willing to risk their lives. To that end the film will be a visual testament to Fr. Bichsel’s legacy of a life lived in the cause of peace and social justice.”
Bix made it his personal mission to honor Christ’s calling for peace by resisting and urging others to work towards nuclear disarmament and, I might add, complete and total disappearance, as in ridding the world of any and all nuclear weapons. Period. That was his vision. Bix lived Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Bix was the change.
KABF followed Bix’s guidance and voted to support Ms. Young’s documentary with a 2015 grant. Ms. Young, in addition to being a documentary filmmaker, is an Emmy Award-winning television news producer. In addition to her four Emmy awards, Ms. Young has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, United Press International and the National Commission on Working Women.
KABF can’t wait to see The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs.
Chair, Kelly Ann Brown Foundation
Click here to learn more about The Nuns, The Priests, and The Bombs.