A group of Iowa nuns and their supporters begin a prayer and fasting vigil at midnight tonight at The Canticle, their convent home. The Sisters of St Francis in Clinton will be commemorating “International Day of Peace,” says spokeswoman Sallyann McCarthy.She says the U-N General Assembly’s tried for years to observe the opening day of the Assembly as a day of peace, but that date varies so just last year they set September 21 as a permanent Day of Peace to be observed from now on. She explains the order’s “Center for Non-Violence” is not a place but a group of people who work to promote the observance of “active nonviolence” within their own lives, communities, and society. The Clinton Franciscans have been members of the United Nations Association, Iowa Division Board of Directors, for 16 years. It’s not just a Catholic thing, says McCarthy. Tonight’s observance at The Canticle will incorporate many forms of prayer, including a prayer service at the start of each hour, each led by a different person. A Mass for Peace will be celebrated beginning at ten Saturday morning. McCarthy has heard about the Fairfield followers of Maharishi who claim to make progress toward world peace by meditating. She cheerfully admits “that’s very possible” since everyone praying in their own way, in their own time and place, contributes to world peace. The Clinton Franciscan sisters, associates and friends will spend 24 hours Saturday praying and fasting in observance of the UN International Day of Peace. (on the web at: www.clintonfranciscans.com )