Mar 29

We Must Transcend

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 03/29/2021 2:36PM | Quote of the Week | Spirituality | Human Rights

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Our Quote of the Week urges us to remember the one family to which we all belong -- the human family. As millions of us mark Passover and Easter this week, let us reflect on the spiritual beliefs that these holy days symbolize: love, gratitude, and renewal. And let us find ways to strengthen bonds across our communities as well as within them, so that we may transcend and move forward together.


This week's quote comes from a speech that Sargent Shriver made in celebration of cultural pride -- Irish pride, to be exact -- the Address to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Celebrating the history and heritage of our cultural identity is understandable and can be meaningful, Shriver argues, but it is also important to transcend that identity so that we may expand our horizons and truly connect with our extended, human family. In the speech, Shriver lists three basic, human impulses: for independence, for unity, and for transcendence. Drawing both from history and from scripture, he makes the case that human beings simultaneously yearn for independence and for unity. Independence allows us to feel pride in our autonomy, but unity allows us to overcome conflict and to support each other. Transcendence is what allows us to rise above our mundane, individual struggles and to connect with what is universal in all of us: the ability to love and to nurture.

Throughout his career, Sargent Shriver focused on initiatives that would strengthen individual communities while ensuring that a larger goal of achieving peace and prosperity across society could be achieved. From his work on  civil rights to his leadership in the Peace Corps and on the War on Poverty and to his involvement in Special Olympics, Shriver fought for dignity and opportunity for individual communities so as to ensure universal justice and peace for all of us.

As many of us pause this week to celebrate Passover and Easter, let us remember the values we cherish --  community, courage, respect, and service -- and let us commit to applying them within our communities as well as across them.


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