top of page
  • Lawrence Lefcort

Praying for Peace with Pope Francis

Updated: 9 hours ago

The Flame of Hope team and Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, Setsuko Thurlow, pray for peace with Pope Francis as the Hiroshima Flame comes to the Vatican for the first time in history.

Flame of Hope International (formerly known as Earth Caravan), led by Buddhist priest Ryokyu Endo, along with Mrs. Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor who received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of ICAN in 2017, made a pilgrimage to the Vatican carrying the Hiroshima Flame that was presented to His Holiness Pope Francis. The flame was taken from the ashes of the atomic bomb and has been burning continuously as a symbol for peace since August 6, 1945.

Mrs. Thurlow was 13 years old when the atomic bomb exploded, and she lost her entire family. Joining Mrs. Thurlow was a delegation of four 13-year-old girls from different countries and cultural backgrounds, including Ms. Yusa Okada, a third-generation atomic bomb survivor from Nagasaki. Also accompanying the delegation was second-generation Nagasaki bomb survivor Ms. Chiyumi Shinkai. Lawrence Lefcort represented the Flame of Hope delegation from Canada.

The Hiroshima Flame has been burning constantly since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in August of 1945. It is to be extinguished only when the threat of nuclear war and nuclear weapons is gone. By symbolically blowing out the flame at the Vatican, we hope to usher in the bright future of a nuclear-free world.

Since 2015, the Flame of Hope has traveled from Nagasaki to Hiroshima, from Auschwitz to Srebrenica, and from the First Nations of Canada to Israel and Palestine. Every year, the Flame of Hope's activities inspire thousands of people around the globe to work for the bright future that we all dream of.



These are the passionate voices of four, 13-year-old girls talking about their wish for peace. What they hope and work for is the realization of a world where all beings are respected. Yusa Okada from Nagasaki, Janna Ibrahim from Bethlehem, Yasmine Abouzaglo from Dallas, USA and Mirjam Schmitzhofer from Vienna represent the fervent wish of the next generation for a bright future without nuclear weapons.

Accompanied by Setsuko Thurlow, a Hibakusha, nuclear bomb survivor of Hiroshima 1945 and Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, these five girls from different nations and religions strove to bring the Flame of Hope and its message of Peace to His Holiness Pope Francis, at the Vatican and pray together with the Holy Father for Peace and Justice.

Setsuko Thurlow accepted the Nobel prize for Peace in 2017 on behalf of the International Campaign on Abolishment of Nuclear Weapons -ICAN, and spoke at the United Nations in 2017 about the need to ban nuclear weapons.


bottom of page