McAlister under arrest at a protest in 2001
November 17, 1939
Montclair, New Jersey, United States
|Alma mater||Marymount College, Tarrytown, Hunter College|
|Occupation||Former nun, peace activist|
|Known for||Harrisburg Seven, Jonah House Kings Bay Trident|
|Children||Frida, Jerry and Kate Berrigan|
Elizabeth McAlister (born November 17, 1939), also known as Liz McAlister, is an American peace activist and former nun of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. She married Philip Berrigan and was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. McAlister served prison time for nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.
Liz McAlister was born Maureen McAlister to Irish immigrant parents in Montclair, New Jersey. She and her twin sister Katherine had a sheltered upbringing and attended Lacordaire Academy. Following graduation, the sisters attended Marymount College, Tarrytown. During her sophomore year at Marymount College, McAlister, still Maureen, entered the novitiate of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM). In June 1961, she became Sister Elizabeth McAlister. McAlister continued her studies at Hunter College, graduating with a master's degree in art. She then returned to teach art history at Marymount College in 1963.
Life of protest and witness
While an instructor at Marymount College, McAlister got involved with peace demonstrations and prayer vigils against the Vietnam War. Through this community, McAlister met Philip Berrigan, who came to speak and demonstrate in Tarrytown, New York. According to McAlister's daughter, Frida Berrigan, the two met "at a funeral in 1966", although there are accounts that Berrigan and McAlister moved in the same circles from 1964, on. In early 1969, Phil Berrigan and McAlister married by "mutual consent". At this time, Berrigan was awaiting sentencing for pouring blood on draft files in the US Customs House in Baltimore.
While Berrigan was in federal prison for his involvement in the Catonsville Nine, McAlister and Berrigan communicated via a fellow inmate, Boyd Douglas, who was allowed furlough for work release. Douglas was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and turned over the contents of Berrigan and McAlister's letters to the authorities. These letters, which included nascent plans to kidnap Henry Kissinger, led to the prosecution of McAlister, Berrigan, and five others, known as the Harrisburg Seven.
Excommunication and marriage
Berrigan had spoken and written about the importance of celibacy to activists, but abandoned his previous position against romantic entanglements for McAlister. McAlister and Berrigan were married (witnessed commitment) in January 1972 while Berrigan was in prison. Following his parole, on May 28, 1973, they were legally married and they were excommunicated by the Catholic Church. McAlister had three children with Berrigan: Frida, Jerry, and Kate. McAlister and Berrigan continued their activism, serving jail time for their civil disobedience. During their twenty-nine year marriage, Berrigan and McAlister spent a total of eleven years separated by prison.
Jonah House and later life
McAlister and Berrigan founded Jonah House in 1973.  Called a resistance community Jonah House was a commune, with the Berrigan-McAlister family living in the basement of the Baltimore row house. They raised their three children there, with the help of the other activists in the community. In 1996, Jonah House moved to a house overlooking St. Peter's Cemetery, and the community members cared for the grounds.
DePaul University Special Collections and Archives holds collections of papers and ephemera, donated by Berrigan family members and friends. These collections include news clippings related to McAlister's life and protest actions, as well as personal letters written by McAlister. The Berrigan Library includes McAlister's personal books, some annotated in her hand.
=== Kings Bay plowshares action at Trident nuclear submarine base ===
On April 4, 2018 McAlister with six other people entered the base and performed symbolic acts of disarmament. October 24, 2019 McAlister was convicted on four counts in federal court in Brunswick, GA for entering and holding a symbolic disarming of the Trident submarine’s nuclear weapons.The seven defendants, as of October 2019, face a possible 20 years in prison. Other defendants were Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy (Founder of the Catholic Worker, Dorothy Day’s granddaughter), Carmen Trotta, Patrick O’Neill , Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, and Mark Colville 
- "Philip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister papers, DePaul University Special Collections and Archives". DePaul University Libraries. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- Levins, Hoag (September 26, 1971). "How a Formerly Quiet Nun Became a Draft Office Destroyer". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on January 5, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
- Lewis, Daniel (December 8, 2002). "Philip Berrigan, Former Priest and Peace Advocate in the Vietnam War Era, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 19, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- Fay, Martha (December 16, 1974). "Father Phil & Sister Liz Now Keep House and the Rebel Faith". People Magazine. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
- Berrigan, Frida (2014). It Runs in the Family. New York: OR Books. ISBN 9781531826109.
- Berrigan, Philip. (1996). Fighting the lamb's war : skirmishes with the American Empire : the autobiography of Philip Berrigan. Wilcox, Fred A. (Fred Allen). Monroe, Me.: Common Courage Press. ISBN 1567511007. OCLC 34547152.
- Berrigan, Philip. (1970). Prison journals of a priest revolutionary ([1st ed.] ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 9780030845130. OCLC 88148.
- Peters, Shawn Francis (2012). The Catonsville Nine. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 297–8.
- Berrigan, Philip. Widen the prison gates; writing from jails, April, 1970-December, 1972. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671216376. OCLC 796904.
- Berrigan, Philip. (2010). The time's discipline : the Beatitudes and nuclear resistance. McAlister, Elizabeth. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers. ISBN 9781608990573. OCLC 774486833.
- Serpick, Evan (March 2012). "Peace Train". Baltimore Magazine. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
- Collection on Peace Activism, DePaul University Special Collections and Archives Accessed 20 December 2016.
- Murray Polner papers, DePaul University Special Collections and Archives. Accessed 20 December 2016.
- The Berrigan Library, DePaul University Special Collections Archived 2017-01-05 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 20 December 2016.
- O’Neill, Patrick (6 September 2019). "Activist with Baltimore roots languishes in Georgia jail". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
- DiCorpo, Ryan (17 October 2019). "The Plowshares activists are on trial for anti-nuclear protest". America The Jesuit Review. Retrieved 25 October 2019.