About Sister Dorothy Stang

Sister Dorothy Picture

A citizen of Brazil and the United States, Sister Dorothy spent nearly four decades defending the rights of poor settlers as well as working to save the rain forest from powerful ranchers bent on destroying it. On February 12, 2005, less than a week after meeting with the country's human rights officials about threats to local farmers from loggers and landowners, she was shot by hired gunmen and left to die on a muddy country road. She was 73 years old.

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. Her ministry partnered with the Pastoral Land Commission, an organization of the Catholic Church that fights for the rights of rural workers and peasants, and defends land reforms in Brazil.

Since her death, Sister Dorothy has been widely honored for her life and work by the United States Congress and by a number of colleges and universities across the United States. She was posthumously awarded the 2008 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights. Books, movies, documentaries and an opera have been developed about her. She has also been formally recognized by the Vatican as a modern day martyr.

Sister Dorothy was born in Dayton, Ohio, one of nine children. She was raised on a farm in a traditional Catholic family. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in 1948 and professed perpetual vows in 1956. From 1951 to 1966 she taught elementary classes at St. Victor School in Calumet City, IL; St. Alexander School in Villa Park, IL; and Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, AZ. She began her ministry in Brazil in 1966, in Coroata in the state of Maranhao.

Dorothy Stang General Resource Contact

Sister Judi Clemens, SNDdeN (Cincinnati, OH)

  • Presentation: Sharing my life with Dorothy Stang in Brazil and how I remember her today, depending on what the audience desires.
  • Description: Dorothy Stang was a woman of faith on a mission and to know her was to know her mission.
  • Contact Information: 513-827-7455

Video Resources (To view more videos of Sister Dorothy Stang and her legacy, view our Youtube Channel). 

Witness to Justice

Amazonia, Dorothy Stang's Struggle by Net for God

Dorothy Stang Legacy Continues...

“Dorothy gave her one and only life to lift up those made poor and to protect the Amazon from destruction,” says Sister Kathleen Harmon, SNDdeN, Ohio provincial moderator. “She stands as a model of compassion, conviction and courage for all Sisters of Not

A month before the 20th anniversary of her martyrdom, Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, will be honored by the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. At a public ceremony on January 10, 2025, Stang’s story will join those of martyred Christians from across the world at the Church of San Bartolomeo all’Isola. In 2005, Stang was assassinated in Brazil for her work to enact land reform policies that protected the rights of those made poor. One of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, she is formally recognized by the Vatican as a modern-day martyr.

congratulate St. X faculty and student body, you are truly “soulmates of Dorothy Stang”!    This is not the first time for the Sister Dorothy Stang Award presentation in these hallowed halls. Here solidarity reverberates with Dorothy’s faith, wisdom and action.  After Dorothy was martyred in 2005, we Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati partnered to continue Dorothy’s legacy.   We seek to recognize teachers, staff and students who foster Dorothy’s lived values of solidarity with the poor, care for the earth and love of Jesus Christ and His mission.

My Faith Sustains Me

September 6, 2023

My Faith Sustains Me. Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN, 1931-2005. A disciple of Jesus and daughter of Julie: Martyred for the sake of justice.

This booklet brings us the reflections of the people who treasure the blessedness of Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN. May these reflections lead us to breathe in "vivid air," signed with the memory of one who was "truly great." May we be blessed by the memory of Sister Dorothy Stang.