Category Archives: Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN

Dorothy Lives!

By Sr. Judith Clemens, SNDdeN

Picture11In the twelve years since February 12, 2005, when Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN was killed in the Amazon in Anapu, Brazil, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SND deN) and many organizations and projects around the world keep her memoryand her mission alive. On May 27, 2017, on a bright Saturday afternoon, a parish in Hamilton, Ohio dedicated and blessed Dorothy Stang House in a newly renovatedparish home. St. Julie Billiart Parish welcomed eight Sisters, from the
Ohio SNDdeN Province to the celebration of a Eucharistic Liturgy and this dedication. The Sisters presented a framed poster of Sister Dorothy to be hung in “Dot’s House.”

Ministry for Families St. Julie Parish participates in a program called Family Promise, in collaboration with two other Catholic parishes, eleven support churches and a mosque. This program in Butler County, Ohio seeks to provide temporary resources for homeless families, especially women and children, with a primary goal of finding permanent housing and full time employment for each family. The churches and the mosque welcome the families for a week at a time. These families face many challenges following strict guidelines and rigid schedules while in the program. Depending on daily schedules, the guests leave by 6:30 a.m. for their work or other activities.

Picture1With the involvement of more than ninety volunteers, a supportive church staff, and the generous service of an entire pastoral region, many renovations and extended cleaning have made Dot’s House a wonderful residence for hosting homeless guests. Guests appreciate the cleanliness and being able to sleep in real beds with beautiful quilts. One parishioner, Theresa Murphy, makes and donates creative and colorful quilts for all the beds which each family takes when they leave. Over the 2017 Memorial Day weekend, St. Julie Parish hosted five families, who would have been living in their cars or on the streets without this residential program.

At the celebration, Sr. Judith Clemens expressed appreciation for theSN DdeN community, to all involved: One of Dorothy’s great gifts wasto be at home wherever she was welcomed… I know she is thrilled to be remembered in the naming of this Dorothy Stang House where homeless families are welcomed.

As daughters of St. Julie Billiart, we are so grateful to you for offering this sign of hospitality. Your choice to name this home in Dorothy’s memory opens both doors and windows into the souls of many people. We lift up the lives of all who made the renovation of this lovely dwelling possible, all who have ever lived here and those who greeted them with a smile. Dorothy is smiling with us today. We believe that all goodness shared, somehow permeates our world, so everywelcome, particularly to women and children in need, makes thishome a holy dwelling.

Dorothy lives in the people!

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Seeds Bear Fruit in Brazil

By Sister Jane Dwyer, SNDdeN

In February 2015, we will remember the 10th Anniversary of the death of Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN. During the years since her assassination, new life has burst forth even in the midst of continued violence and threatening situations. Sr. Dorothy was murdered, but her life and work have taken root in the hearts of the people in Brazil. Hope abounds in signs of new growth. When Sr. Dorothy died, there were 35 basic Christian communities; today there are more than 85 communities who live daily the Gospel message. In 2005, the

Sr. Dorothy Stang: Prophetic Witness of Justice

Projects for Sustainable Development (PDS) were fragile, just beginning. These projects for developing and cultivating the land, as well as protecting the rights of farmers in building their livelihoods were in beginning stages. Today, individuals and families, living and working in an ecological way in the forest, plant gardens on small plots of land. They take responsibility in defending a major forest surrounding this land and where they can only work collectively. Now there are two sustainable projects in Anapu: Virola Jatoba and Esperança. Sr. Dorothy was murdered on Lot 55 of PDS Esperança. Now there are more than 450 families in the two projects, many who have electricity and well-built homes. In the last ten years, more than 1,200 families have occupied government lands destined for agrarian reform. Their insistence has more or less secured their right to remain on the land until judicial questions are resolved. Schools appear as the people organize and demand them. Roads are at least passable in most cases.

On February 12, Sr. Dorothy’s anniversary, the Sisters and people will remember and relive the shock and pain of her murder, the fear and violence which haunted us during 2005. We will remember the empty chair at our table and at meetings, the lilting laugh and adventurous spirit so brutally silenced. We recall also, in the aftermath of Sr. Dorothy’s murder, that the local radio    hounded the parish and land pastoral team and terrorized the people. The local media portrayed Dorothy, the people and the Sisters as the culprits, who were getting what we deserved. The Sisters had no vehicle through which we could respond or question. We bore the calumny and terrible lies. The population was fearful and we did not know whom to trust. As the years passed, we made 9 trips to Belem for the trials of Sr. Dorothy’s murderers, always with 2 or 3 busloads of people, and always with police protection. During the first two trials, we camped out in the park area in front of the judicial building in simple tents put up by the Dorothy Committee and their friends who always welcomed us with open hearts and hands.

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