The Stunning Sanctuary in Our Own Backyard

The World Peace Sanctuary in Wassaic, NY




 

Peace Poles—the multisided monuments that bear the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth”—can be seen in more than 250,000 locations around the world. But many people don’t realize that The World Peace Sanctuary, which is part of the large global organization affiliated with The Peace Pole Project, is located right in our own backyard, in Dutchess County.

Natural Awakenings recently met with Ann Marie Robustelli, assistant to the executive director of The World Peace Sanctuary, to tour their beautiful property and learn about their mission.

The Peace Pole Project

The Peace Pole Project was founded in 1975 in Japan by Masahisa Goi, founder of The World Peace Prayer Society and author of the universal message and prayer inscribed on every Peace Pole. For those who haven’t seen one yet, a Peace Pole is a handmade monument that displays Goi’s prayer on each of its four or six sides, usually in several languages.

“Our goal is to have a Peace Pole planted in every city throughout the world,” Robustelli says. “So far we have Peace Poles on every continent and in nearly every country.”

The Peace Poles have been planted at town halls, churches, schools, public places, private backyards and many other places, she says. When you plant a Peace Pole in your community, she notes, you are linking with people all over the world who have planted a Peace Pole in the same spirit of peace.

The classic white Peace Pole is a four-sided vinyl pole made onsite at the sanctuary in Wassaic, NY. While wooden Peace Poles, of varying heights and with up to eight sides, are made in Michigan. All carry the same message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” in four or more languages. Proceeds from the sale of the Peace Poles support the activities of the Peace Pole Project.

Alternatively, folks can make their own Peace Poles. The mission statement “May Peace Prevail on Earth” is a registered trademark, but anyone crafting a Peace Pole for noncommercial purposes can use the message for free, Robustelli says.

“We want to encourage people to craft and plant a Peace Pole independently, on their own, because they see it as a focal point and want to make a statement,” she says.

Wherever they are seen, the Peace Poles serve as reminders to visualize and pray for world peace.

Peace Pole ceremonies

Ideally, each Peace Pole is dedicated in a ceremony at “planting” time or unveiled during a dedication ceremony, Robustelli says. Some organizations opt for a group planting, where each participant gets to shovel some dirt and take part in the ceremony.

While each ceremony is as unique as its participants, she says, the intention is always that the shared prayers offered at a dedication will help activate the worldwide network of prayers for peace.

For large Peace Pole plantings and rededication ceremonies, Robustelli sometimes travels to and officiates over the impressive Prayer and Flag Ceremony, such as the one performed at the close of the Clearwater Festival along the Hudson River, by Jim Dugan. In the moving, heart-centered ceremony, participants are invited to invoke prayers for peace to prevail in all regions of the world.

Robustelli says these gatherings evoke meaningful communion, linking participants and viewers together to send out shared energetic words, thoughts and prayers for peace throughout the world.

Visiting the sanctuary

Perhaps the biggest secret about The World Peace Sanctuary is that it’s open to the public—and the grounds are phenomenal.

Visitors are welcome to roam the incredibly peaceful 154-acre property, which is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. The sanctuary office, indoor community space and gift store are closed on weekends, but there is a porta potty outside for weekend visitors. Monday through Friday, visitors can stop by inside to learn more about The World Peace Prayer Society and purchase a desktop Peace Pole, bumper sticker or T-shirt at the store.

Picnickers are welcome, as are hikers. Bicyclists from Kent, Connecticut, often stop by because of their proximity to the state line, Robustelli says.

“When people come to the sanctuary, they are in awe of how peaceful it feels,” she says. “Families are welcome to unplug from the Internet and games and the TV and just be, without going to an amusement park—just be outside in nature.”

The grounds include a labyrinth, a Peace Path lined with the names of each UN member state, a large globe and a ceremonial field. The sanctuary is an ideal place for both families and individuals to explore or meditate.

Sanctuary for wildlife too

No pesticides or chemicals are used on the property, notes Jim Dugan, who manages the World Peace Sanctuary. The organization maintains a 14.5-acre meadow that’s a certified way station for monarch butterflies. The meadow gets cut just once a year, in September.

Almost all hay fields that monarch butterflies rely on get cut three or four times a year, and get turned into bales of hay,” Dugan says. “And regrettably, what happens is all of those grassland bird species—their eggs and their nests, their babies, all monarch butterfly caterpillars—end up in hay bales.”

Dugan notes that the Audubon director of bird conservation in Connective saw a butterfly species in the World Peace Sanctuary’s meadow that he’d never seen in his life.

“That’s because of the dynamics of this meadow that we’re allowing to grow year after year,” Dugan explains. “They are going to generate a report for us, where we’re going to be able to make the property, through some little tweaks here and there and some plantings, even more diverse and more of a wonderful functioning place for more diverse wildlife in the future.”

The organization also maintains a five-acre “transition meadow”—something between a regular meadow and the start of a forest—which is a very rare ecosystem these days, Dugan says. “Meadows usually go straight to forest and stay a forest.”

He says these two very special ecosystems have seen successful nestings of meadowlarks, whose populations have gone down 90 percent from their peak because they nest in hayfields. The transition meadow also shelters nesting American kestrels, a species that has diminished mostly due to vanishing habitats. 

For groups, the World Peace Sanctuary can arrange donation-based nature tours of the property, and while the organization doesn’t rent space out, it can host or cosponsor an event that’s aligned with its mission. Natural Awakenings readers who would like to know more are encouraged to contact Ann Marie Robustelli.

The World Peace Sanctuary is located at 26 Benton Rd., Wassaic, NY. The sanctuary office and gift shop are open Monday-Friday and closed on national holidays. For more information, visit WorldPeace.org. For inquiries, call 845.877.6093 or email info@worldpeace.org. 

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

Autism's Gut-Brain Axis

A Promising Approach to Healing
Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

Universal Healing Arts Touching Lives in Cortlandt Manor

"The staff heals on a physical, mental and spiritual level."
Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

Indigo Helm—‘More Than Yoga’—Opens in Cortlandt Manor

"This is a discovery place! Drop-ins are welcome."
Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

Fluoride Dangers Focus of Holistic Moms Meeting

7:30 p.m., December 6
Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

Voice Empowerment Workshop with Ronni Sarrett Lederman

1 to 4 p.m., December 2
SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

SearchLight Medical Featured on Comcast Cable Show

Laurie Mallis, M.D., a licensed acupuncturist, discusses and demonstrates AcuGraph Qi Analysis and Auricular (ear) Acupuncture
Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Flawless Skin Is a Popular Holiday Treat

Through December, all clients will receive a free gift of anti-aging serum.
Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

Holistic Health and Wellness Series in Beacon

“Each workshop will focus on the most important information for you to make positive changes in your life."
Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

Weekly Qigong Classes in Two Dutchess Locations

“No experience is necessary—your practice is based upon never exceeding your own capacity.”
Chapel at Croton Falls Holds Solstice, Christmas Eve Services

Chapel at Croton Falls Holds Solstice, Christmas Eve Services

Winter Solstice celebration at 6 p.m. on December 16, followed by Christmas at the Chapel at 7:30 p.m. on December 24.
Three-Part Winter Transitioning Workshop in Ossining

Three-Part Winter Transitioning Workshop in Ossining

December 8, 15 and 22
April ‘Heal Your Life’ Teacher Training in Tampa

April ‘Heal Your Life’ Teacher Training in Tampa

April 20 to 27 in Tampa, Florida
Poughkeepsie Farm Selected for Funding Accelerator Program

Poughkeepsie Farm Selected for Funding Accelerator Program

Trains food entrepreneurs from across the region to attract outside investment.
Fable to Hold Winter Farm Fest in Ossining

Fable to Hold Winter Farm Fest in Ossining

December 9
Fair Trade Festival December 1 in White Plains

Fair Trade Festival December 1 in White Plains

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., December 1
‘Energy Shifts’ at Temperance Center

‘Energy Shifts’ at Temperance Center

"These alternative modalities can help you open yourself up to the universal signs, trust yourself more and manifest what you want in your life.”
Eco-Justice Group The Greenheart to Perform in Ossining

Eco-Justice Group The Greenheart to Perform in Ossining

8 to 10 p.m. on November 24, at Good Choice Kitchen, in Ossining
Thanksgiving Day Plant-Based Potluck in White Plains

Thanksgiving Day Plant-Based Potluck in White Plains

1 to 4 p.m., November 22, at Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Mindfulness and Empowerment Retreat in Ossining

Mindfulness and Empowerment Retreat in Ossining

5 p.m. on November 30 to 1 p.m. on December 2
Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown November 18

Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to Tarrytown November 18

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors to this entertaining and educational event can browse products and services designed to support a healthy lifestyle, listen to expert speakers on a variety of issues, and consult with intuitive readers and holistic healers.
More Couples Want Inspirational, Nontraditional Wedding Ceremonies

More Couples Want Inspirational, Nontraditional Wedding Ceremonies

Michael Rosenbaum, an ordained minister and spiritual counselor, says he’s seeing a growing trend among engaged couples.
Beacon of Light Offers Fall Healing Events

Beacon of Light Offers Fall Healing Events

Events include women's healing circles, shamanic circles, breath work and sound meditations, live chanting and workshops on dance, drawing and Thai massage.
Open House at Yellow Monkey Village

Open House at Yellow Monkey Village

2 to 6 p.m. on November 3
Mindfulness Workshops and Retreats at Garrison Institute

Mindfulness Workshops and Retreats at Garrison Institute

Cultivate mindfulness, awareness and compassion.
Hudson River Museum Is Thanksgiving Weekend Destination

Hudson River Museum Is Thanksgiving Weekend Destination

November 24
Boscobel Hosts Holiday Twilight Tours

Boscobel Hosts Holiday Twilight Tours

Holiday tours will take place from 3:30 to 7 p.m., November 23-25, December 1-2 and December 8-9.
Bodyworkers’ Approach to Pain Transcends ‘Mechanics’

Bodyworkers’ Approach to Pain Transcends ‘Mechanics’

"The majority of chronic pain is actually caused by injuries to ligaments, joints, tendons and fibrous connective tissue.”
Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year

Hudson Valley Vegfest Returns for Second Year