Doroteia Pathways Foundation

Sister Dorothy Stang

Doroteia Pathways Foundation takes its inspriration, as well as its name, from Sister Dorothy Stang, an Ohio-born nun who spent nearly 40 years working alongside the poor in remote areas of Brazil.  According to Sister Joan Krimm, her lifelong friend and fellow member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Dorothy "loved the majestic trees of the Amazon forest, the power of the Amazon River, the gentle streams crisscrossing the bed of the forest, the beautiful songs of the birds and the glorious colors of the animals...."  At the same time, though, Dorothy "was sickened by the oppression of the poor.  She was angered by the destruction of the rainforest.  She had a passion and a dream to work toward the day when all of God's children would have enough to eat, a decent and safe home to live in, and the opportunity for an education and health care."  

In her introduction to Roseanne Murphy's book, Martyr of the Amazon, Joan Krimm goes on to say that "Sister Dorothy knew her life was in danger.  She knew she was on a death list.  But knowing this did not stop her.  She continued to teach sustainable farming....  She continued to plead with the government to give deeds to the people to whom they had given land and to protect these families from constant harassment at the hands of the loggers and ranchers."  

On February 12, 2005, at the age of seventy-three, Sister Dorothy was shot to death while on her way to a meeting with farmers whose homes had been burned by ranchers and logging companies trying to drive out them out.  When two men approached her with weapons drawn, Sister Dorothy took out her Bible and began reading to them from the Beatitudes. After some hesitation, the killers shot her six times and she died on that muddy road.  

At Sister Dorothy's funeral in Brazil, someone said, "We are not burying Sister Dorothy, we are planting her."  Those who worked with her believed that her sacrifice would be the source of renewed struggle for social justice in the land she loved.  Besides the book mentioned above, at least two movies have been made about Sister Dorothy's life and death.  Also, the Sisters of Notre Dame have created the Dorothy Stang Center for Social Justice and Community Engagement.  And although Doroteia Pathways Foundation has no official affiliation with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, we feel that one are one of those sprouts that sprang up to carry on with Sister Dorothy's work.

For more information about Sister Dorothy, click here.


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