Dorothy Stang, SND de Namur, Apostle of the Landless Poor

Seven years ago today, Dorothy Stang, an American Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, was martyred in the Amazon as a result of her work with the landless poor there. When two hired gunmen met her on a muddy path they asked if she was carrying a weapon. In reply, she took out a Bible and began to recite the Beatitudes. "Blessed are the poor in spirit...blessed are the peacemakers." Then she was shot. This video shows some of her generous spirit and the love that the people had for her.  The first few minutes are particularly affecting, and will remind you of so many of the women religious who have a passion for the Gospel and for the poor.  

There are many kinds of martyrs recognized by the church, besides those who are killed specifically for their faith: for example, St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger at Auschwitz.  May Sister Dorothy rest in peace, and may she one day be recognized as a martyr by the universal church.

Advertisement

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Carol Juen
5 years 10 months ago
This brave woman and all like her who live among the poor people they serve, willingly to sacrifice daily even to the point of experiencing hate, abuse, torture and death, are truly witnesses of what it means to be authentically Catholic. They set the bar at the highest level. Most of us will never even attempt to cross such a hurdle but there is no excuse for each of us not to be doing something in solidarity with our brothers and sisters to improve their lives of daily struggle and survival. Dorothy Strang was where she was because of her faith and what it called her to do. She should indeed be recognized as a Martyr by the universal church and recognized as a Saint.
JOHN SULLIVAN
5 years 10 months ago
Thank you Fr. Martin for reminding us of the Dorothy Stangs of the Church. In contrast to  what passes for Church in the precincts of the Vatican, amid the medieval pomp and ceremony, your post sustains many us who struggle with the ongoing myopia of the boys club. The Good Shepard will watch over his sheep.
Craig McKee
5 years 10 months ago
WYD 2013 will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
http://worldyouthday.com/
May Sister Dorothy and ALL who have died in the rainforest for speaking TRUTH TO POWER be remembered both now and then...
RICH BRODERICK
5 years 10 months ago
Sr. Dorothy's profound witness of the Gospel, inevitably led to conflict with the powers of the anti-reign of God. The cross is the consequence of the struggle for justice. Sr. Dorothy is only one of a large “cloud of witnesses.” who gave their lives building the reign and struggled against the anti-reign of worldly powers. She is still present to the compesinos in their hearts . Que Viva Dorothy!
Winifred Holloway
5 years 10 months ago
Thank  you, Fr. Martin.  You are right.  This video is affecting and Sister Dorothy is a saint.  She has the right qualities - faith, courage, simplicity, and an unassuming personality. A woman for all seasons. 
5 years 10 months ago
Thank you, Fr. Jim.  This should be shown over and over again around the world.
Mary Sweeney
5 years 10 months ago
     Last year I was able to see the opera ''Angel of the Amazon'' which presented the life of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SND. The presentation was put on in a Church in Boston by the Boston Metro Opera Company. Dorothy's battle was on behalf of the landless poor and cost her her life. She was killed on the orders of a wealthy landowner. 
     Last November 15th Sister Valsa John, a Sister of Charity of Jesus and Mary, was shot and killed in in the Santal tribal region in the state of Jharkhand in Northeast India. As reported in Asia News, ''''Sister Valsa created a tribal organization to stop the expropriation of land sought by the powerful coal lobbies, including helping them to obtain compensation from companies. Six years ago, one of these lobbies tried to buy out nine villages and Sister Valsa mobilized the local poor people. These coal barons lodged 33 complaints against her and her supporters, and many of them ended up in prison''. 
     These women stood tall and stood with the poor and dispossessed. We remember them. We honor them. It is important for us to commit to memory the stories of those who have gone before. Only in that way will we recognize the parallels/calls in our own time: wealthy loggers, coal barons...corporate robbers, banking fraudsters? We have not come to the shootings yet, though we have had the beatings, the pepper-spray, the kettling, the tasering, the arrests. Where would Dorothy and Valsa stand? I hear no church voices being raised. Do you? Archbishop Dolan's letter to the US Bishops and all charged with pastoral leadership calling for sermons and education regarding poverty and unemployment seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017
Pope Francis will renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for another three years, informed sources told America this week.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 15, 2017
Worshippers recite the Lord's Prayer during Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Mineola, N.Y., on Oct. 13. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)
Making ancient Scripture sensible in contemporary languages will always prove a hazard-heavy challenge.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 15, 2017