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Raymond G. Helmick, SJ papers

Collection BC-2016-047: Raymond G. Helmick, SJ papers


  • Creation: 1953 - 2015
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970 - 2015

Scope and Contents

The Raymond G. Helmick, SJ papers contain materials relating to his career and personal dedication to conflict resolution. The materials consist of correspondence; articles and reports written by Helmick; papers concerning the founding and administrative details of organizations he worked for; conference materials; and drafts of manuscripts. As Helmick kept in contact with many world leaders during times of crisis, correspondents include Gerry Adams, Yasser Arafat, Raymond Edde, and multiple United States presidents. Additionally, the collection includes photographs taken on trips Helmick took to areas of conflict, as well as video recordings of Helmick’s course lectures and other conflict-related films. The collection also contains a bodhrán, an Irish frame drum made by prisoners at Maze Prison to commemorate the 1981 hunger strike, signed by ex-prisoners, and presented to Helmick.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Some audiovisual materials may not be available for immediate use as they require reformatting. Please contact the Burns Library in advance to use audiovisual materials.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Raymond G. Helmick, SJ was born on September 7, 1931, in Arlington, Massachusetts, to Raymond and Alice (Clancy) Helmick. He was one of three children. Helmick began his education at St. Agnes School in Arlington, before attending Boston College High School, where he graduated in 1949.

Helmick entered the New England Province of Jesuits in September 1949, and, after a break due to ill health, completed his novitiate in 1954. Helmick studied at Weston College where he received his Licentiate in Philosophy. During this time he also received his B. A. in 1956 and his M. A. in philosophy in 1957, both from Boston College.

Helmick served on the faculty at St. George’s College in Kingston, Jamaica, where he taught history (1957-1960) and English (1965-1967). Between stints teaching in Jamaica, he attended Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he received his Licentiate in Theology. He was ordained in Germany in 1963. From 1967 to 1973, Helmick studied theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York as a graduate student. He took his Final Vows in 1973 in London, England.

That same year, Helmick began his career in conflict resolution. He worked for multiple organizations, focusing on areas of turmoil around the world, and maintained correspondence with numerous world leaders. Helmick’s primary areas of interest included Israel and Palestine; the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey; Lebanon; and Northern Ireland. Additionally, he was a member of the 1999 U. S. Interfaith delegation accompanying Jesse Jackson to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, which resulted in the release of captured U. S. soldiers.

Helmick worked for the Centre for Human Rights and Responsibilities in London, England, from approximately 1973 until July 1979. He became the co-founder of the Centre of Concern for Human Dignity in Dublin, Ireland, and London. He worked for this organization from approximately August 1979 until September of 1981. From 1981 until 1984 Helmick lived in Washington, D. C. at the St. Aloysius Gonzaga Jesuit Community. While in Washington, he worked to promote the creation of what would become the United States Institute of Peace and also worked for the Washington Research Consortium (later the Conflict Analysis Center). In 1984, Helmick moved back to Massachusetts to become a professor at Boston College, where he taught classes on conflict resolution and theology in the Department of Theology. He remained a professor until 2015. He remained active in his efforts for conflict resolution around the world, including becoming co-founder of the United States Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East.

Throughout his career, Helmick published articles and books about both religion and conflict resolution, including Negotiating Outside the Law: Why Camp David Failed (2004); Through a Lens Darkly: Films of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing and Atrocities (2010); and Crisis of Confidence in the Catholic Church (2014).

Helmick died on April 21, 2016.


"Bio." Rev. Raymond Helmick, SJ. Accessed April 17, 2018.

Campbell, Kathryn. "Rev. Raymond G. S.J. Helmick's Obituary on Boston Globe." Boston Globe. April 24, 2016. Accessed April 17, 2018.


20.5 Linear Feet (40 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection contains materials related to Raymond G. Helmick, SJ's career in conflict resolution and includes correspondence, manuscript drafts, articles, reports, slides, photographs, and video recordings.


This collection is arranged according to significant eras in Helmick’s career, followed by his non-conflict resolution related materials. It contains six series: I. Union Theological Seminary; II. Centre for Human Rights and Responsibilities; III. Centre of Concern for Human Dignity; IV. Washington, D. C.; V. Boston College; and VI. Non-conflict resolution related papers.

Most series contain sub-series of general conflict resolution; regions of note for that era; other regions; and institutional membership.

Regions of note are Northern Ireland in series I. Union Theological Seminary, II. Centre for Human Rights and Responsibilities, and series III. Centre of Concern for Human Dignity; Lebanon in series IV. Washington, D. C.; and Israel and Palestine, Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland in series V. Boston College.

Series VI. Non-conflict resolution related papers contains the sub-series A. Jesuit-related materials; B. Passports; C. Professional materials; and D. School materials.

Within each correspondence sub-subseries, correspondence is arranged by correspondent when a file was created for them by Helmick. Loose correspondence was grouped and arranged alphabetically in the appropriate series. Working papers are arranged alphabetically by subject; correspondence that Helmick had filed based on subject is included here.


Gift of Raymond Barry, 2016.

Separated Materials

Published works associated with this collection have been transferred within the Burns Library and can be found in the Boston College Library catalog.

Raymond G. Helmick, S. J. Papers
1953-2015 (bulk 1970-2015)
Stephanie Hall
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States