UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Randa Donation Expands Archive Collection


This just one of the many statues and busts that have been donated to the UMass Boston Archives.



The artifacts of forty years of dedication to and the promotion of human cooperation and cruelty-free life have been added the University Archives. Lewis Randa, founder of The Peace Abbey and The Life Experience School, has donated a large collection of artwork, texts and ornate furniture from their Sherborn installation. The donation is currently on display on the fifth floor of Healey Library.

The exhibit is designed to allow students to use their materials and furniture, creating a space that is part museum, part study space. In a message to patrons of the Peace Abbey, Randa wrote, “This transition has not been without its challenges — but we are thankful that what we treasured at the Abbey Museum and Conference Center has become part of a nationally recognized urban public university that has welcomed the holdings of The Peace Abbey to create a new, on-campus center that will educate, inspire and motivate all who visit and participate in its programs.”

The Peace Abbey Center was constructed in Sherborn, Ma. in the late ‘80s following a visit from Mother Teresa to The Life Experience School. Financial trouble has forced the organization to close, and its Sherborn property is being sold. However, Randa believes that, “The incorporation of the Peace Abbey into the University of Massachusetts Boston is a wonderful opportunity to further the Abbey’s mission to activate peace activism on a larger scale.”

The many items on display include the Abbey grandfather clock, original bronze statues from the school, the “Peacemaker’s Table,” which has served as a meeting place for Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou as well as other peace advocates, and their collection of books relating to peace, social justice, pacifism and animal rights.

University Archivist Joanne Riley is pleased to add the materials to the university’s collection. The Archives accepts donations that relate to social justice, community organizations, public policy and the history of the Boston area.

“The work Randa has done is respected here. And we are very excited about incorporating the story of the establishment of The Peace Abby, and the effect that it had, into the archival collections that we have,” said Riley.

The display will run through October before being processed by the archives. Much of the statuary will be dispersed around campus, and many of the books will be placed in the main library stacks, but all the material will remain available to students.

Some items will remain on the fifth floor, and the space will continue to serve as a study space for students, as well as a gallery for future donations.