By David Ramos
Today I arrived at Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are representatives from approximately 40 nations including Italy, Norway, France, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, and the Philippines. There are over 250 persons attending this conference.
This evening President of the Acton Institute, Father Robert Sirico, opened the event with a moving presentation. He warned of the ideas of collectivism taking on new forms in our society endangering human freedom and dignity. Father Sirico held no punches as he boldly said, "Societies that take away the dignity of humans and their liberties emolate themselves. Ideologies or political systems that take away the freedom of expression, the right to private property and the right to contract, are diabolical."
Father Sirico underscored the need to create a resistance to these new emerging forms of political ideologies. Tonight we watched a portion of the forth-coming film, The Reckoning, the true life story of Deet Amon, a Dutch resistance fighter to Nazi regime in the 1940's who risked her life saving Jews. In a moving moment, after watching a portion of this documentary film, Father Sirico presented Deet Amon who was present to share firsthand of her experiences and answer our questions. She shared of her experiences in a Nazi concentration camp (she was in the same camp that Corrie Ten Boom was in). When asked how she could risk her life she responded, "If you feel that God expects this of you, how can you do anything else? How could you look in the mirror and brush your teeth in the morning with so much going on and not do something? Life is full of choices." At 87 years of age Deet says, "Each one of us have to give an account for what we do with our lives. I pray for Darfur everyday." We were all inspired by her bravery, humility and spirituality.
The Acton University has a great diversity of participants. In the short time I've been here I've met a Molecular Biologists, Economists, seminarians, Priests, and entrepreneurs. I am looking forward to what lies ahead.
For more information about the Acton University go to: www.acton.org