.sqs-featured-posts-gallery .title-desc-wrapper .view-post

Juliet Hollister

The Parliament of the World’s Religions: 1893 and 1993

Contemporary reflections about interreligious institutions and practices commonly highlight an ambitious meeting in Chicago in 1893, termed the World’s Parliament of Religions, as a starting point of the modern interfaith movement.

Women & Spirituality at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

On a rainy afternoon in late February 2012, a dozen women gather in a room of a hotel near the United Nations headquarters in New York. They are activists representing women’s organizations from across the U.S. and the world, and they come rooted in diverse spiritual and religious traditions. They are participants in the 56th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), attracted to our particular conversation by an informal grassroots invitation to join in celebrating women’s spiritual leadership and the Divine Feminine at the next Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Temple of Understanding

The Temple of Understanding was founded in 1960 by a pioneering visionary, Juliet Hollister. With the help of Eleanor Roosevelt’s introductory letters, Juliet traveled the world to seek endorsement from heads of state and religious leaders. The TOU convened Spiritual Summits abroad (Calcutta 1968; Geneva 1970) of high level religious leaders and at prominent universities: Harvard (’71), Princeton, (’71), Cornell (’74). Mrs. Roosevelt encouraged the TOU to become accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the United Nations.

A Dream That Is Contagious

Once after a lecture on the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, I was asked by a sleepy student, ‘Were you there yourself?’ No one, I assume, who was at the 1993 Parliament of World Religions (note the slight change of name) had been in Chicago, a hundred years before. Yet because of its continuing influence, it is worthwhile to glance back to the pioneers of the interfaith pilgrimage. I can remember my own excitement when, looking in the library for another book, I chanced on Barrows’ two volume record of that historic event.

The Legacy of Juliet Hollister

Sometimes the most amazing events are the most improbable. How, during a lunch of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, did a spark ignite a movement that to this day grows and travels around the world? That is exactly what happened when Juliet Hollister, a housewife and mother of three, while having lunch with a friend, was commiserating over the dire state of the world. Her friend suddenly suggested that someone should bring the leaders of the world’s religions together to work towards peace. A flash of inspiration went off in Juliet’s heart and mind. From that moment on, magical things seemed to happen around Juliet and her “Wonderful Obsession,” a name coined by the Time-Life Magazine article about her, published in 1962.