Sister Dorothy Stang. Gosh I wish I had had the honor to have met her when she lived. I never did, but I’ve gotten to know her since her murder in Brazil. Sitting here right now I can imagine the smile on St. Peter’s face as she approached the gates of heaven! In the last few days there were several funeral Masses in her honor in her native southwest Ohio. The Dayton Daily News had a news story and a commentary on these events.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Sister Dorothy Stang read those words from her Bible when two gunmen aimed weapons at her as she walked to a meeting in the Amazon jungle a month ago. The meeting was to organize poor farmers who were trying to hold on to their plots despite attacks from powerful ranchers and loggers. Stang, 73, a Roman Catholic nun, was shot six times by the men and died in the road. On Saturday, more than 600 mourners honored the Dayton native’s sacrifice during a service held at the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur convent in suburban Cincinnati…
The article continues:
Sister Joan Krimm was Dot’s childhood friend, went with her to Brazil in 1966 and remained a very close friend in the decades since she returned to the United States. She gave the eulogy, which moved many to tears. “Who is this woman? What was she like? What motivated her to have such a love for the poor that her own safety was not important to her?” Krimm talked about how seeing the oppression of the sharecroppers in Brazil moved the nuns to teach them about their rights. As Stang’s eyes began to fail, she studied religious texts on tape. “I have to fill myself up, so I have the grace to continue in the struggle,” she told Krimm. “And she did,” Krimm said. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Dot had the hope and the conviction that one voice could make a difference — and it did. Even as she faced her assassins, she held her only weapon, the Bible,” Krimm said, who continued with the Portuguese translation of the words: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Six bullets tried to silence the voice of a small religious in the forest. We must be Dorothy’s voice. … We are being called to carry on her work, and we must answer that call.”
The article by Mara Lee ended with this:
Kristen Barker, 27, of Cincinnati never knew Stang, but when she heard the story on BBC, she was inspired and amazed. “I want to keep challenging myself to be more like her,” she said, to live with less fear, more conviction and a fierce passion for justice. She said she will think of the murdered nun “when I’m afraid. When I need to speak up.”
If there’s anything most of us here want more Americans to do it’s to speak up – against injustice everywhere. Sister Dorothy – what a wonderful human being! What a true Christian – unlike the many others who’ve been in the news lately. An example is the Catholic bishop of San Diego who a few days ago refused to bury a Catholic gay man because he owned two bars despite numerous examples of community service by the deceased.
Mary McCarty wrote a wonderful commentary in the DDN about Sister Dorothy’s family reunion the night before one of the funerals. Her column has wonderful comments by family members and ends with this:
The Rev. James Shappelle of Cincinnati also spoke, saying that Sister Dorothy was the first missionary to be martyred in the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. She was executed, he said, for the crime of leading a truly Christian life: “How many of us, if put on trial for being a Christian, would be found guilty as charged?”
That’s one of the few charges on which Bush, DeLay, and many other political “leaders” would be found not guilty. Dorothy Stang is a true inspiration and a reaffirmation of why – despite all the disgusting people who’ve never really understood – or lived – the true meaning of the words in the Bible – I remain a Catholic. Some day I pray I get to meet Sister Dorothy, a true peacemaker and child of God! Until then, hug her for me, St. Peter!
Note: Thanks to Tim Ryan, my favorite Ohio congressman, a resolution was introduced March 9 honoring the life of Sister Dorothy (H.CON.RES.89). It has 24 co-sponsors.
Want to bet a majority of them were right-wing Republicans who allegedly want so badly to promote good family values and leading good moral lives? You’d be wrong. Most are good Democrats like John Conyers of Michigan and Dennis Kucinich, Marcy Kaptur, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ted Strickland, and Sherrod Brown from Ohio. (There are a couple of Ohio Republicans too.)
This resolution should pass unanimously.