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Friday, 29 June 2018 04:19

Amazing Affiliates

Written by Dan Heuer
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Dan Heuer – Westchester Chapter

Rudy Cypser, an extraordinarily gifted visionary and longtime Maryknoll Affiliate, passed on to New Life in February. He was 94 years old and is survived by Betty, his wife for seventy years. Together they led extraordinary lives of service to others. They were passionate in promoting restorative justice policies in many prison systems throughout the world, and they directly impacted the lives of many in prisons.

Rudy understood complex problems on many levels and then developed effective approaches to improve human service systems. He and Betty conducted bible study groups in prisons for 30 years and also conducted Alternatives to Violence training for inmates for many years. Rudy, working together with others, spread the Alternatives to Violence program to sixty countries in the world. He was deeply motivated by compassion for others and by his Christian faith in the goodness of the human person.

Rudy and Betty traveled to 26 countries in Asia and Europe and studied prison systems in Canada on a quest to learn about restorative justice programs in those countries. Then they took on an advisory role with a Committee of the Catholic Bishops of New York State and were effective in assisting the bishops in bringing about improvements in New York prisons.

Even into his 90s, Rudy was active with Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE). He organized international conferences in Thailand and Africa, and he edited the CURE newsletter, injecting restorative justice approaches for prisons in many countries. CURE is a non-governmental organization connected to the United Nations. Rudy and Betty attended many CURE meetings at the UN.

The Cypsers were longtime members of Pax Christi and received an award for outstanding achievement from Pax Christi Metro New York. They received the award along with Martin Sheen, the well-known actor and human rights activist. Having a cosmic vision, they admired the Jesuit mystic Teilhard de Chardin and wrote a book about him.

Rudy and Betty had a strong identification with Maryknoll. They lived in Katonah, near the Maryknoll Center, and were leaders of the Westchester Affiliate Chapter for many years. Rudy often spoke of Maryknoll values, especially compassion for others. Betty earned a Masters Degree in Theology from Maryknoll Seminary. Rudy and Betty both worked at the Maryknoll Pachemama Farm and distributed food grown there to nearby food programs for the needy. Rudyʼs funeral was held at Maryknoll Seminary.

Rudy had a PhD degree in electrical engineering, held very responsible positions with IBM for many years, and published two engineering textbooks.

I produced a 45-minute video documentary featuring Rudy and Betty and have uploaded it to YouTube. If you wish to view it, click on the following link: https:// youtu.be/tIyW5oB4fwU. As the introduction is lengthy, you may wish to fast forward to the seventh minute where Rudy and Betty begin to speak. If you would like to have DVD copy of the documentary, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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