10th Anniversary of the Murder of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SND, Marked by Special Presentation at Trinity: Her Life and Legacy Celebrated in Washington, D.C., Events Across the Country
On Sunday, February 8, at 2:00 pm, the Trinity Washington University community and the Sisters of Notre Dame will mark the 10th anniversary of the murder of Sr. Dorothy Stang with a special presentation of “Rooted in Love: One Woman Play.” In the play, Sr. Nancy Murray, OP, brings the story of the life and martyrdom of Sr. Dorothy to the stage. This event is free and open to the public but requires reservations — please RSVP here. The performance is sponsored by the Billiart Center for Social Justice at Trinity.
Come hear her story and be inspired by Sr. Dorothy Stang’s courage, her moral compass and her fierce passion for justice and human rights.
In February 2005, Sr. Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame, was shot and killed by hired gunmen as she walked along a dirt road in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Her death had been arranged by influential Brazilian landowners who wanted to stop her work on behalf of farming families in the region. It was Sr. Dorothy’s dream for the people to live self-sufficient lives, and to be able to use the land in sustainable ways. The native of Dayton, Ohio, had been visiting with some of the struggling farmers in the interior when she was killed. She was 73, and had given nearly 40 years of her life to the fight for the rights of the poor.
Now, a decade later, cities and dioceses in the U.S. are pausing this year to remember Sr. Dorothy’s work in this country, and to celebrate the progress being made in Brazil through the continuing work of the Sisters of Notre Dame, activists and “Dot’s people.”
About Sr. Dorothy Stang and Her Work
In 1966, Sr. Dorothy volunteered to join the Sisters of Notre Dame in Brazil and for the rest of her life she worked with the poor, landless and indigenous people of the Para state of Brazil. Deep in the Amazon rainforest, she educated women about health and nutrition. She helped them start small businesses to support their families, and showed the men which crops would grow best in the forest where they lived. Sr. Dorothy and the people opened one-room schools to teach the children and adults to read and write, and she insisted that every woman, man and child should expect to receive basic human rights.
At the time of her death, Sr. Dorothy was working with the Project for Sustainable Development, a government initiative to help landless families benefit from sustainable farming systems. The land was granted for the farms by the government, but it was highly coveted by the powerful ranchers and others who wanted the land for themselves. Sr. Dorothy’s death came less than a week after meeting with Brazil’s human rights officials about ongoing threats to local farmers from illegal loggers and ranchers.
A decade ago, Sr. Dorothy had opened 39 schools in the hills and villages in Brazil. Today there are 115 schools throughout the rain forest, with more opening all the time. There were also 35 basic Christian communities that Sr. Dorothy started – all committed to sustainable farming, working together and caring for one another. Now, with help from Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Brazil and friends, more than 1,200 families live in 85 communities on government property given to landless families to build sustainable farms.
Immediately after her death, Sr. Dorothy was formally recognized by the Vatican as a modern-day martyr. She has been honored around the world for her life and work, and was posthumously awarded the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights.
For more information about Sister Dorothy Stang, SND
About the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are an international congregation founded in Amiens, France in 1804. In 2015, the SNDs mark their 175th year in the U.S. and their role in helping to shape the Catholic education system in the United States. More than 1,300 Sisters of Notre Dame serve across the U.S. and in Belgium, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
In addition to the performance, on Thursday, February 12, at 7:00 pm, a special event for young adults will take place at Trinity: “What can one person do about climate change? Come see what one person did.” is being presented by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, in collaboration with the Catholic Volunteer Network in D.C. The program will include a simple meal, a viewing of the movie “They Killed Sister Dorothy,” and a Skype discussion with Sisters of Notre Dame who continue Sr. Dorothy’s work in Brazil today.