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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sister Dorothy Stang

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This teaser image from the Feb. 18, 2005 edition of The Catholic Telegraph reported the news of Sister Dorothy Stang's murder. (CT File)

Staff Report 

The usual tone of Throwback Thursday stories tends to be lighthearted, but today’s post is a somber one. Many in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and around the world mark today as the 10th anniversary of Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Dorothy Stang’s assassination.

Sister Dortothy, a native of Dayton, entered the community in 1948 and professed final vows in 1956. She was originally known as Sister Mary Joachim (pictured as such in the gallery below). After some time as a teacher, she went to Brazil in 1966 to begin her life-long ministry fighting for the rights of rural workers and peasants.

Sister Dorothy was killed on a deserted dirt road near Anapu, Brazil, on February 12, 2005. According to a witness report, Stang responded to the gunmen’s threats by reading from the Bible before being shot multiple times. The area in the frontier state of Para is the site where ranchers and loggers have deforested large swaths of rain forest.

Sister Dorothy’s work brought her into conflict with wealthy and powerful ranchers who sought to profit from deforestation and the eviction of poor workers.

A cross stands on the spot where U.S. Sister Dorothy Stang, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, was murdered Feb. 12, 2005, on an isolated road near the Brazilian town of Anapu June 7. (CNS photo/Lunae Parracho, Reuters)

The Feb. 18, 2005 edition of The Catholic Telegraph reported that Sister Dorothy was killed less than one week after she met with Brazil’s Human Rights Secretary to report death threats against local farmers.

“She spoke calmly of the attacks she was suffering from certain Brazillian newspapers and other powerful groups,” said Mission Office Director Mike Gable in 2005. “She was a model of patience.”

A photo gallery below includes several pictures related to Sister Dorothy’s life and death.

Before her murder, Sister Dorothy was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by the state of Para for her work in the Amazon region. She also received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Brazilian Bar Association for her work helping the local rural workers.

Since her death Stang’s story has been told my numerous media outlets, has been turned into books and documentaries, and even became the subject of an opera.

To this day the the Spirit of Sister Dorothy Stang award is presented by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati offices of Mission, Catholic Social Action, Evangelization and Catechesis, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School will host a public event, “Living Out the Lessons of Sister Dorothy Stang” on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the CJ auditorium. The event will include a screening of the 35 minute documentary “The Student, The Nun & The Amazon,” that highlights her life’s work. The film will be followed by a reflection by Stang’s close friend, Sister Joan Krimm, SNDdeN and a quick overview of the 10 years since Stang was killed. Resources will be available, and guests are invited to stay for a reception.

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online activity wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

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Posted Feb. 12, 2015

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