by Peter Scholtes
Peter Scholtes was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in Oak Park, where he attended Ascension School and Fenwick High School before studying at Quigley and St. Mary of the Lake-Mundelein seminaries. He earned his Masters in Adult Education and Organization Development at Boston University. Peter wrote the hymn “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” while he was a parish priest at St. Brendan’s on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s. At the time, he was leading a youth choir out of the church basement and was looking for an appropriate song for a series of ecumenical, interracial events. When he couldn’t find such a song, he wrote the now-famous hymn in a single day.