Peace Pilgrim has been a great inspiration to my family over the years. I’d like to share a few words I’ve put together about her and her amazing life. Once edited, this will appear in my next book, Beyond the Search.

Enjoy in peace,



On January 1, 1953 a lady with silvered hair walked at the head of the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California handing out leaflets. It was the beginning of a pilgrimage that carried her across the breadth of America. In December of the same year she arrived on foot in New York City and presented a petition to the United Nations and world leaders for world disarmament and reconstruction.

Mildred Norman was starting her retirement project. That project ultimately lasted 28 years, during which time she walked six times across the continent, visited every state including Alaska and Hawaii as well as Mexico and the ten Canadian provinces.

She walked with the seasons, moving north in the spring and south in autumn. Her only possessions were what she could carry in the front pocket of her blue tunic—a folding tooth brush, a comb, a pen and paper for correspondence. She carried no money, nor would she accept any. Hers was a pilgrimage of faith. Unlike the mendicants of Asia she never asked for food, she fasted until it was offered. She seldom missed more than four meals in a row. Likewise, she slept outdoors until offered shelter.  

Her tunic carried the name that was hers from that fateful day in Pasadena—Peace Pilgrim. Over the years she spoke at thousands of churches and schools and was interviewed on radio and television nearly everywhere she went.

Always her message was the same: ‘Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love.’ Her message was all the more powerful because she lived it, every step of the way. She taught that peace began with the individual and that any action any of us made—to create harmony in a relationship, to create peace in a group, for one’s inner peace—contributed to the total peace picture.Peace Pilgrim book cover 160609

This woman who spoke with obvious intelligence and conviction and who moved and walked with youthful vigor inspired countless people to make positive changes in their lives.

Mildred Norman was raised in a pacifist family on a small farm on the edge of Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Although a top student in school and a daring swimmer, there was little indication in her youth to those around her that she would make such a dramatic transformation later in life and become Peace Pilgrim.

The turning point for her took place in 1938 when, mired in an unhappy marriage and lacking the deeper meaning for which she yearned, she had her first peak spiritual experience. She felt a oneness with all beings and dedicated her life without reservation to giving rather than getting. Thus began fifteen years of preparation culminating in an unshakable inner peace that remained with her throughout her pilgrimage years. During that fifteen year period of preparation she walked daily in receptive silence amidst the beauties of nature. She put into practice the inspirations that came to her and shared those steps to inner peace whenever and wherever she spoke. A friend transcribed the steps from a radio talk she gave in Los Angeles in 1966 and created her Steps Toward Inner Peace booklet.

After her death (what she called her ‘transition to a freer life’) in 1981 five of her friends gathered in Santa Fe and decided to compile the story of her life in her own words, using transcripts and recordings of various interviews and other material they had collectively gathered over the years. That book, Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words has reached hundreds of thousands of people all over the world and over a million of her Steps Toward Inner Peace booklets are in circulation.

Steps Booklet for Peace pilgrim 160609Those succinct and practical steps, including four preparations, four purifications and four relinquishments, are available to anyone who deeply desires inner peace. The steps are to be taken in the order one feels compelled to complete them. As Peace Pilgrim said, “The first step for one may be the last step for another.”

Peace Pilgrim said she would ‘remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.’ The story of her life and her work continues to reach an ever-expanding audience worldwide, contributing to a more peaceful world, one person at a time. A feature film on Peace Pilgrim is due to be created and released soon.

For further information on Peace Pilgrim and available materials visit:

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:


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