Author, Peace activist Jim Forest dies at 80

January 24, 2022

Orthodox author and peace activist Jim Forest died January 13 at the age of 80.

Forest, who was born to unchurched communist parents, converted to Catholicism in 1960. The following year, he joined the Catholic Worker movement, serving as managing editor of its eponymous magazine.

But it was not until eight years later that Forest would become a public figure.

As part of the Milwaukee 14, Forest and 13 other men broke into a government building and burned more than 10,000 draft cards as a protest against the Vietnam War. The federal government eventually dropped the charges against the men, saying that the pretrial media attention made it impossible to have a fair trial.

Forest would go on to work as a journalist and an award-winning peace educator. He wrote more than a dozen books, including popular biographies of his personal mentors Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Daniel Berrigan.

In 1988, he and his wife joined the Orthodox Church. At the time of his death, Forest was serving as the international secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, a position he had held since 1989.