Dorothy Stang: Connecting Students with Sisters

Over the past ten months, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have been engaged in the Sister Dorothy Stang 15th Anniversary Rememberance project with the theme, “Her Legacy endures in us,” This project, which remembers Sister Dorothy on the 15th anniversary of her murder in Brazil, began on February 12, 2020 and will continue through February 12, 2020 and will continue through February 12, 2021. While this anniversary is a time to remember, it is also time to look forward and consider the ways in which Dorothy’s legacy will continue into the future.

A wonderful example of a program that contributes to her ongoing legacy is conducted by Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati. It is part of an ongoing curriculum where juniors read The Journey of Courage by Michelle Murdock and share Sister Dorothy’s story among their classmates and teachers and with the sisters who live at the Ohio Province Center.

Mrs. Jen Dodds, Director of Campus Ministry at MNDHS and a Notre Dame de Namur Associate, wanted to be sure that the program continues despite the social distancing requirements of Covid-19, especially during this 15th anniversary year.

Jen worked with colleagues and proposed recording a Zoom Meeting with Sisters Joan Krimm and Jo Depweg and a small group of juniors. The recorded meeting would then be shared with the entire junior class who would follow up by writing letters about the Zoom discussion to an individual sister from the Province Center who volunteered to respond to the student letters. 

What started out as a work-around to deal with the restrictions of Covid turned into a special opportunity to share Sister Dorothy’s story and legacy and to connect enthusiastic students with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. 

The Following are some reflections on this project

SISTER JOAN KRIMM

It was good to be with the students and Sister Jo during the Zoom meeting. I was glad to be able to share the spiritual foundation of who Dot was and what she did. I sensed that these students got the essence of Dot’s story and that they will take a part of that story with them as they move through their lives. I appreciated the letters I received and the chance to respond to them. I was impressed with the students and with the program Jen and her colleagues devised.

SISTER JO DEPWEG 

I was happy to be with Sister Joan and the students in that Zoom Meeting. Joan and I got a chance to interact with the students and with one another and share Dot’s story. When I listened to these students and read their letters, I was encouraged. I believe hearing Dot’s story and sharing letters with all the sisters involved in this project will have an impact on their lives.
 

SISTER JUDI CLEMENS

Jen and her colleagues were creative at finding a way to continue the junior year project on Dot during this special year. I was happy to join many other sisters here who volunteered for the letter writing part of the program. There was such an interest in Dot, and connecting with us and understanding the mission. It was a joy to respond to each student and to know the students and sisters were all a part of continuing Dot’s legacy.

MRS. JEN DODDS 

We put a lot of thought into planning this Zoom and letter-writing approach. I thought it would go well, but I was really touched by the enthusiasm that the students brought to this project. The students were absolutely thrilled to have the chance to see Sister Joan and Jo and hear their direct experiences with Sister Dorothy and with the SNDdeN mission. They remarked on how rooted, brave, and current the Sisters are. They also loved the letter-writing - both writing and receiving letters. It is something they will treasure.

Credit: Meg Glendon.
Previously published in The United States eNews, December, Vol.11 No.10, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur US

Dorothy Stang Color poster