Havel Symposium 2012
Michael Lapsley, known worldwide as Fr. Michael, was born in New Zealand and ordained as an Anglican priest in Australia. Soon after moving to South Africa in 1973 he soon became a prominent figure in the struggle against apartheid. In 1976 he was expelled from the country and moved to Lesotho where he became a chaplain to the African National Congress in exile. From there he travelled the world mobilizing faith communities to oppose South Africa’s apartheid system and to support the struggle for freedom there. After a police raid killed 42 people in Lesotho in 1982, Fr. Michael moved to Zimbabwe where in 1990, soon after Nelson Mandela's release from prison, he opened a letter bomb meant to assassinate him. In the explosion he lost both of his hands and one eye and he was seriously burned. Following his recovery, he worked for the Trauma Center for Victims of Violence and Torture in Cape Town, where he assisted Bishop Desmond Tutu in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In 1998 he launched the Institute for Healing of Memories and currently serves as its director. He has become a well-known international advocate for reconciliation, forgiveness, and restorative justice, and he has conducted workshops in many countries, enabling people from different ethnic groups, races, and religions to reach a better understanding of themselves and each other. Fr. Michael was the subject of the biographical work Priest and Partisan: A South African Journey (1996) by his fellow South African priest and theologian Michael Worsnip, with a foreword by Nelson Mandela, and his book Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer, with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was published this year by Orbis Books.
On Tuesday, October 9, Fr. Michael Lapsley, the Vaclav Havel Civil Society Symposium Scholar-in-Residence, spoke to the UST community about courageous and civil citizenship. He challenge the audience to think about what militarism is doing to the soul of the United States and Americans, inviting them to articulate their own hopes and dreams for the human family.
If you missed the event, and would like to hear Fr. Lapsley on Courageous Citizenship, click here.