Celebrating Sister Dorothy Stang's Life and Legacy on the 19th Anniversary of Her Martyrdom (with Sister Judi Clemens, SNDdeN)

Celebrating Sister Dorothy Stang's Life and Legacy on the 19th Anniversary of Her Martyrdom (with Sister Judi Clemens, SNDdeN)

"I am Sister Judi Clemens, and I had the wonderful privilege of living long years in Brazil with Dorothy Stang. As we celebrate Sister Dorothy Stang's life and legacy on this 19th anniversary of her martyrdom, I'd like to lift up for us today the connection between Pope Francis, Dorothy and young people today.

You know, many times I'd say that way before Pope Francis' wonderful writings in Laudato Si' and later in Laudato Deum, words like: integral ecology, our common home, were part of what Dorothy lived all the years that she actually was on this land. 

It's a great inspiration for those of us who had the privilege of living with her. And it's also an inspiration for young people today.

I'd like to cite two different instances of good news in my life. The first is a practice of the curriculum at Mount Notre Dame High School where junior students, young women, read together, the book by Michele Murdock, A Journey of Courage. And then they discuss how that book, how that story of Dorothy has impacted them. And then, we have the great privilege of their visit to us and we share together the inspiration and the message that Dorothy carries for us. 

These examples have been proven to be catalysts in the lives of some of these wonderful young women, where they have gone on to create projects that care for the earth. Some have gone on to further study in environment and justice our world. 

Then there's this story of a young woman who was a student at Notre Dame University. A few years ago she contacted us for information about Dorothy, to write her paper for her class. So, I asked her if she was willing to share her paper with us when she had finished. And indeed. she did. She explains the story of Dorothy and how it is important for young people today. And more important also, as she saw it was encouraging Pope Francis to canonize Dorothy because she felt that young people today need Saints of today in their lives. 

She said, "Ordinary people who found wonderful ways to reach out to care for creation." 

The encouragement that I find in young people's stories today and how they have that inspiration is, when Dorothy called her life, Pope Francis' life to really be a part of the care of creation. It depends on all of us. And whatever we do, guided by Laudato Si', guided by Laudato Deum, guided by Dorothy's life or the lives of young people today who are the hope for the future. All of that is our call to never stop caring for creation. 

Sister Judi Clemens, SNDdeN