Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk

“We are all cells in the body of humanity — all of us, all over the world.
Each one has a contribution to make,
and will know from within what this contribution is,
but no one can find inner peace except by working,
not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“I feel a complete protection on my pilgrimage. God is my shield.
There are no accidents in the Divine Plan nor does God leave us unattended. No one walks so safely as those who walk humbly and harmlessly with great love and great faith.”
~ Peace Pilgrim
“Evil cannot be overcome by more evil. Evil can only be overcome by good. It is the lesson of the way of love.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim - Photo by James B. Burton courtesy of Friends of Peace Pilgrim

Peace Pilgrim was an authentic American spiritual teacher whose life and words have inspired countless people worldwide. After a mid-life spiritual awakening, at age 45 she took the name Peace Pilgrim and vowed to “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace…”.

Like Saint Francis of Assisi, she relinquished and renounced all material wealth, and for twenty eight years thereafter she walked over 25,000 miles carrying her only possessions in her clothing, which always included an outer blue tunic embroidered with the name “Peace Pilgrim”.

Wherever she went she shared deep spiritual wisdom in simple and understandable language. Peace Pilgrim was authentic, unique and universal, transcending religious, secular, or nationalistic bounds. Her life was her message. She truly walked her talk.

Following her 1981 death in a car accident, an inspiring book about Peace Pilgrim was compiled, published, and distributed freely by a small group of her dedicated friends. Later, an uplifting one hour documentary video about her was produced and distributed.

Entitled “Peace Pilgrim – Her Life and Work in Her Own Words”, the book is available as a free pdf download together with much more information about Peace Pilgrim at this website

And here is the excellent and recommended one hour documentary video about her:

Since reading the Peace Pilgrim book and watching the video, I have wondered what happened in the 1950’s to Mildred Ryder, a “normal” middle class American woman, that transformed her into an extraordinary sage and saint? How was it that without formal religious or spiritual training or discipline, she became Peace Pilgrim a saintly ascetic and renunciate communicating perennial spiritual truths, in simple understandable language with love, insight and integrity?

Perhaps, answers to these questions can be found in Peace Pilgrim’s simple yet profound words, as quoted in “Peace Pilgrim – Her Life and Work in Her Own Words” :

“As I looked about the world, so much of it impoverished, I became increasingly uncomfortable about having so much while my brothers and sisters were starving. Finally I had to find another way. The turning point came when, in desperation and out of a very deep seeking for a meaningful way of life, I walked all one night through the woods. I came to a moonlit glade and prayed. I felt a complete willingness, without any reservations, to give my life–to dedicate my life–to service. “Please use me!” I prayed to God. And a great peace came over me.” ~ Pg. 7

“There was a time – when I attained inner peace – when I died, utterly died to myself. I have since renounced my previous identity. I can see no reason to dwell upon my past, it is dead and should not be resurrected. Don’t inquire of me – ask me about my message. It is not important to remember the messenger, just remember the message.” ~ Pg. 126

“Intellectually I touched God many times as truth and emotionally I touched God as love. I touched God as goodness. I touched God as kindness. It came to me that God is a creative force, a motivating power, an over-all intelligence, an ever-present, all pervading spirit — which binds everything in the universe together and gives life to everything. That brought God  close. I could not be where God is not. You are within God. God  is within you.” ~ Pg. 2

“When love fills your life all limitations are gone. The medicine this sick world needs so badly is love.” ~ Pg. 12

“Of course, I love everyone I meet. How could I fail to! Within everyone is the spark of God. I am not concerned with racial or ethnic background or the color of one’s skin; all people look to me like shining lights! I see in all creatures the reflections of God. All people are my kinfolk – people to me are beautiful!” ~ Pg. 50

“If you don’t know what God’s guidance for your life is, you might try seeking in receptive silence.  I used to walk receptive and silent amidst the beauties of nature.  Wonderful insights would come to me which I then put into practice in my life.” ~ Pg. 76

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Inner peace is not found by staying on the surface of life, or by attempting to escape from life through any means. Inner peace is found by facing life squarely, solving its problems, and delving as far beneath its surface as possible to discover its verities and realities.” ~ Pg. 132

If you are harboring the slightest bitterness toward anyone, or any unkind thoughts of any sort whatever, you must get rid of them quickly. They are not hurting anyone but you. It isn’t enough just to do right things and say right things – you must also think right things before your life can come into harmony.” ~ Pg. 16

“How often are you worrying about the present moment?  The present is usually all right.  If you’re worrying, you’re either agonizing over the past which you should have forgotten long ago, or else you’re apprehensive over the future which hasn’t even come yet.  We tend to skim right over the present moment which is the only moment God gives any of us to live.  If you don’t live the present moment, you never get around to living at all.  And if you do live the present moment, you tend not to worry.  For me, every moment is a new and wonderful opportunity to be of service.” ~ Pg. 64

Like Peace Pilgrim, may each of us in our own way and in our own time discover and be guided by that universal light of Truth within every one of us. May we together live as One in peace and harmony with Nature.

And so it shall be!

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2 Responses to Peace Pilgrim: An American Sage Who Walked Her Talk

  1. Bob Kline August 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Peace Pilgrim touched countless lives with her profound message and complete dedication to her mission. Thank you for sharing her thoughts and insights.

    To read more about Peace Pilgrim, especially a compilation of her own words, I invite you to visit where you will find “Steps Toward Inner Peace” in various languages.

    I also invite you to visit another website where a member of Friends of Peace Pilgrim blogs, writes bi-weekly Words of Inspiration, a Peaceful Journey newsletter and has authored a book, Wholeness in Living: Kindling the Inner Light —

  2. John Small August 21, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Ever since I learned of Peace Pilgrim many years ago, she has been, and continues to be, one of my spiritual role models.

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