Sister Dorothy Stang – Brazil & USA (1931-2005)

She said: “I don’t want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment”.

Sister Dorothy Stang - USA & Brazil four.jpg
Sister Dorothy Stang – Brazil  USA (June 7, 1931–February 12, 2005)

Look at these memory pages of Sister Dorothy Stang.

People walk 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) on the transamazonic highway carrying the coffin containing the body of American missionary Dorothy Stang from the airport to the Santas Missoes Church (Holy Missions Church) where Stang’s wake took place in Anapu, northern Brazil, Monday, Feb. 14, 2005. Stang was gunned down Saturday Feb. 12, 2005, at the Boa Esperanca settlement where she worked with some 400 poor families near Anapu, a rural town about 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro. (See the AP-Photo/Paulo Santos on commondreams.org).

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, US, Sister Dorothy was a Brazilian citizen and has worked in the Amazon for the past 37 years, living in Anapú since 1972. For 56 years she has been a member in good standing in the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international Catholic religious order of approximately two thousand women who work on five continents. She opposed land grabbers and illegal loggers who use intimidation, violence and guns to force small landowners off their land. She worked in an area that is remote and lawless and she has received many death threats. (Read all on Greenpeace International).

109th U.S. Congress 2005-200): (H. Con. Res. 89: Honoring the life of Sister Dorothy Stang).

The town of Anapu, on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, is most notable for the dust that clogs its streets and for the number of shops selling chain-saws. It is also the place that Sister Dorothy called home for more than 30 years and where she organised her efforts to try to protect the rainforest and its people from disastrous and often illegal exploitation by logging firms and ranchers. Now Anapu will be known as the place where Sister Dorothy is buried. (Read all on universal rights.net).

Remembering Sister Dorothy Stang.

As with the death of Mr Mendez, a rubber tapper, the murder of Sister Dorothy has triggered waves of outrage among environmental and human rights activists who say she dedicated her life to helping the area’s poor, landless peasants and confronting the businesses that see the rainforest only as a resource to be plundered and which have already destroyed 20 per cent of its 1.6 million square miles … // … And from those who worked with the nun, there were promises that the effort she had undertaken would continue despite her death. Mariana Silva, president of Brazil’s National Institute for Settlement and Agrarian Reform said: “We won’t step back even one millimetre from our projects in Para because of this. They want to intimidate us but they won’t succeed. (Read the long article on commondreams.org).

Born in Dayton, Ohio, into a large Catholic family, she joined the order of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1948 and took her vows in 1956. The order, founded in France at the end of the 18th century, was dedicated to “taking our stand with poor people especially women and children in the most abandoned places”. (Read all on The Guardian).

The protest took place in front of the presidential palace in the Brazilian capital. More than 200 people commemorated Sister Dorothy’s life by holding photos of her and wearing t-shirts that said, “The death of the forest is the end of our lives.” Sister Dorothy herself wore just such a shirt. The groups organizing the protest also delivered a letter to Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, demanding more federal involvement in the Amazon, better federal protection for the rainforest and its people, and increased home-based agriculture that is more compatible with conservation than industrial resource extraction. (Read all on US greenpeace).

Go to Radio-without Borders and click on ‘listen’.

Sister Dorothy Stang was an American-born nun and environmental activist. She spent the last 30 years of her life in Brazil, where she taught rural settlers about sustainable farming. In February, 2005 she was murdered by hitmen hired by loggers. Over 1,300 people have been killed in similar circumstances within the last 20 years. Over a third of these have happened in Para state where Sister Dorothy lived. In this her last recorded interview, Sister Dorothy explains why illegal logging is rampant in Brazil. She describes how forests are being decimated by cattle ranchers, many of whom operate illegally. Rearing cattle for meat, much of which is exported outside Brazil, requires vast tracts of land and other resources. Clearing forests for meat production also accelerates global warming as it destroys a crucial carbon sink. (Listen to her 2 minutes video on Big-Picture).

Have a look at this photogallery.

Sister Dorothy, born in Dayton, Ohio but a naturalized Brazilian, had been an advocate for the rural poor since the early 1970s, helping peasants make a living by farming small plots and extracting forest products without deforestation. She also sought to protect them from criminal gangs after their land. Dot, as she was called by her family, friends and most locals in Brazil, was reading from the Bible as the two gunmen aimed weapons at her as she walked to a meeting in the Amazon jungle. According to witnesses, while at gunpoint, she read a line from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” She was shot and killed at point-blank range, and then the two gunmen shot her body 5 more times. (Read more on wikipedia).


The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur
.

Two convicted in the killing of Sister Dorothy Stang: BELEM, PARA, BRAZIL — A Brazilian jury found Rayfran das Neves Sales and Clodoaldo Carlos Batista guilty of murder on December 10 in the killing of Sister Dorothy Stang, SND. (Read all on Clarentian Publications).

HOMICIDE DE SŒUR STANG: L’UN DES ASSASSINS “REGRETTE” – “Je regrette beaucoup. J’ai fait quelque chose que je n’aurais jamais dû faire. J’assume la responsabilité de mon erreur et j’espère payer pour ce que j’ai commis” a déclaré Rayfran das Neves, après avoir été condamné samedi dernier à 27 ans de prison pour l’homicide de Sœur Dorothy Stang (74 ans), tuée le 12 février dernier à Anapu, localité située à environ 700 kilomètres de Bélém, capitale de l’État amazonien du Pará, dans le nord du Brésil. Le complice de Rayfran das Neves, Clodoaldo Batista, a été condamné à 17 ans de réclusion. Le frère de la religieuse assassinée, David Stang, présent à la lecture du verdict, a déclaré: “Ma sœur a obtenu justice. Manquent maintenant à l’appel les commanditaires de ce meurtre”. Il se réfère aux trois propriétaires fonciers Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, Amair Feijoli da Cunha et Regivaldo Pereira, qui doivent être jugés l’an prochain. (Voir chez Africa Mission).

Rayfran Sales and Clodoaldo Batista, the two Brazilian men convicted of killing American nun, Sister Dorothy Stang, under orders from a group of ranchers angry about Sister Dorothy’s work advocating the rights of peasant farmers, began long prison sentences (27 and 17 years, respectively) on Sunday. Sister Dorothy’s friends, family, and fellow environmental and peasant advocates said that they intend to pursue the ranchers accused of ordering the murder – three of whom are currently facing charges in the case – and hope that their work will serve to curb future assassination threats against activists, 772 of whom have been killed in Para in the past three decades. (Read all on the revealer).

links:

The Catholic Herald;

Between the Lines;

The catolic herald;

amazonia.org;

the left end of the dial;

Sister Dorothy Stang: 1931-2005.

Comments are closed.