Nuns — Still Inspiring 50 Years Later

Long before feminism made me believe I had a social and political mission focused on justice for all, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who taught me at Emmanuel College, began to teach me to recognize injustice and to call it out. My trip back to the campus in Boston for my 50th Reunion sparked again my gratitude to the sisters and reaffirmed my commitment to justice.

In just one day of reunion activities we reflected on two major tensions in the contemporary Catholic Church: the role of women and the authority of bishops.

Sister Ellen Dabrieo screened They Killed Sister Dorothy, an award-winning documentary that chronicles the life and murder of Sister Dorothy Stang who worked on behalf of the indigenous people of Brazil for nearly forty years. Sister Ellen pointed out that Sister Dorothy’s work was routinely thwarted by the bishops. Sister Ellen spoke passionately about Sister Dorothy’s refusal to stop helping people claim their land so that they could sustain themselves with farming. While the bishops couldn’t stop Dorothy, the bullets of hired thugs for wealthy landowners did.

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