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DePaul University Special Collections and Archives


This section highlights the values and actions of the Berrigans as leaders in Christian peace activism for over fifty years. Discover who the Berrigans are and how their Catholic faith inspired their commitment to nonviolence.

Daniel Berrigan

“You just have to do what you know is right.”

Daniel Berrigan poetry reading at Goucher College

Daniel Berrigan participating in a poetry reading at Goucher College.

Doing what was right did not always align with the law or religious authorities. Daniel “Dan” Berrigan was a poet, priest, and peace activist.

Despite the wishes of his Jesuit superiors, Dan spoke out openly against racial injustice and the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s. He participated in several anti-war protests, including at the Pentagon, and experienced his first arrest for this very act in October 1967.

Throughout his life, Dan continued to advocate for peace through his poetry and teaching. He taught at Cornell University and also served as a visiting faculty member at DePaul University during the 1990s.

Carla, Jerry, Sr., Phil, Carol, Maria, and Jerry, Jr.

Jerome and Carol Berrigan and their children Carla, Phil, Maria, and Jerry, Jr.

Jerome and Carol Berrigan

The fourth of the Berrigan boys, Jerome “Jerry” C. Berrigan was an English teacher and peace activist. He and his wife Carol Rizzo participated in anti-war and racial justice activism while raising their four children—Philip, Maria, Jerome, and Carla. Both Carol and Jerry went on to earn their doctorates. While Carol specialized in Learning Disabilities, Jerry pursued his doctoral studies in English.

In 1967, Jerry became an English and writing composition professor at Onondaga Community College. Throughout his 35 years of teaching there, Jerry continued to speak about peace and nonviolence. To serve his community, he co-founded Neighbors, Inc. Sponsored by the church, the organization provided housing for low-income, minority families.