Sister Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame originally from Dayton, Ohio, spent 30 years ministering in Brazil, at the edge of the Trans-Amazon Highway. There she made many enemies in high places because of her work in defense of the poor. Her life was repeatedly threatened, over years. Sister Dorothy served and worked alongside landless and indigenous people who lived in the shadow of rich, powerful loggers and ranchers. She stood alongside her neighbors in working for land reform, the rights of rural workers, and in defending the land of small farmers.
In 2005, at the age of 73, she was shot at point-blank range by a gunman hired to silence her voice forever. Her murder followed a dispute with wealthy, powerful ranchers over land they intended to clear for pasture and which she had sought to protect. The night before she was killed she had brought food and clothing to a family whose home had been burned down. Sister Dorothy is remembered for faithfully putting her faith into action for the poor. Books, movies, documentaries and an opera have been developed about her. Learn more about Dorothy Stang at http://www.sndohio.org/sister-dorothy/
Discuss with your family: Sr. Dorothy’s persecutors did not stop her from worshipping freely, but they attacked her for speaking out for justice for the landless poor. How was her religious liberty threatened?
• In what situations is it most difficult for you to witness to your beliefs? What concerns or circumstances lead you to fail to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed?
• What aspects of your life circumstances enable you to put your faith into action? Does something constrain you from living the Gospel and talking about your faith?