Remembering Sister Dorothy

Sister JoAnne DepWeg, Sam Clements, producer of "The Student, The Nun and The Amazon". Sister Joan Krimm during the opening ceremony in Cincinnati, February 2020


During the past year, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur embarked on a special journey by remembering Sister Doroty Stang on the 15th Anniversary of her martyrdom in Brazil.

In addition to individual province anniversary commemoration in the United States and around the world, representatives from the three U.S. Provinces and National Communications joined together with the support of United States Leadership (USL) to create a national Sister Dorothy Stang 15th Anniversary Remembrance Project. Sister Judi Clemens, chaired a committee with representatives from the three U.S. Provinces to begin a year-long remembrance which began on February 12, 2020 and ended on February 12, 2021.

With the theme - Her legacy endures in us, the 15th Anniversary Committee along with a social media support committee, developed the following plan:

  • cultivate gardens of any size, anywhere, and share the harvest with people that have limited access to fresh produce
  • Plant trees
  • Pray for all migrants seeking asylum and peace
  • Advocate for comprehensive immigration reform
  • Advocate for simple and practical actions to protect the planet
  • Ask for Sister Dorothy's help in strengthening our commitment to care for the earth and to stand with those made poor in our society.

Little did anyone know that the year of the 15th Remembrance of Sister Dorothy would also be the year we would face a global pandemic. And yet, despite this major setback for up front and personal activities and gatherings, the commemoration not only continued but thrived throughout the year.

Members of the Brazilian Community on the North Shore during a Sister Dorothy remembrance with the Sisters in the Ipswich Chapel - February 2020

In addition to the social media outreach, tending gardens and sharing the produce, planting trees, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform and environmental issues were also accomplished by phone and computer as well as by the strategic use of social distancing for some activities. Some examples included the following:

  • An opening gathering in Cincinnati featuring Sam Clements, the producer of the film, The Student, The Nun and the Amazon and included members of Dot's family
  • A presentation about Sister Dorothy to the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers at their Mid-Year Gathering
  • A Mass and celebration with Members of the Brazilian community from the North Shore of Massachusetts and Sisters in the Ipswich Shapel
  • Tree plantings in Washington DC and Ipswich in honor of Sister Dorothy
  • Several prayer services within the provinces and SNDdeN Sponsored ministries, including the final live online prayer service coordinated by the Ohio Province which drew one hundred and sixty participants and featured, Cincinnati Archbiship Dennis Schnurr, Sam Clements and Evan Mack, creator of the opera, Angel of the Amazon. 

As we look back at the events of the past year, we know that the issues that Sister Dorothy Stang raised during her ministry in Brazil speak clearly to the circumstances of today. While the official end of the 15th anniversary year concluded on February 12, 2021, the commitment to continue her legacy continues,

In the words of Sister Dorothy:

"Together we can make a difference to our world that is losing sight of our guiding star, the goodness of the real God."

by Meg Glendon. First published on the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur U.S. eNewsletter, March 2021

"Together we can make a difference to our world that is losing sight of our guiding star, the goodness of the real God."