Marlene's email to friends gives a first-hand feel for the place, the people and Sr. Dorothy's legacy in Brazil.
This is a brief account of these very special days in this place where Dorothy lived and worked. It is a world of lush rainforest, or floresta as they call it, with garrulous monkeys, gorgeous birds, rain and more rain, sun and more sun, thunderstorms, lightening and so much more in this treasure house of our planet's body...the great Amazon rainforest.
Going to the town of Anapu was indeed a sacred journey encountering not only Dorothy's resting place but also her spirit planted firmly along the whole long strip of red dirt called the TransAmazon Highway and in the hearts of the people she loved so much.
I think I understand a little better the urgency and love Dorothy felt for this beautiful, and yet continually oppressed people and ravaged land. Almost three years after her death she is still inspiring so many people especially the small farmers, the poor and the church people who continue her work. She is also feared, sometimes hated, by those who only want to use more and more of the resources of this fertile rainforest despite the devastation that results from logging and cattle grazing.
Many others here also share Dorothy's fate; many have their lives and families threatened, many have been killed and their houses burned. Few of the hired gunmen are ever brought to trial for such crimes. Even the trial of those who killed Dorothy is being appealed. This is not as important for Dorothy as for many others who are still being threatened, and for those who have been killed by criminals never brought to trial.
I learned that Dorothy, though she would not make much of this, suffered very much physically and also emotionally, from the disappointments, manifestations against her and threats. Her death was truly a culmination of the life she lived - given for others. Stories abound.
When we first arrived in Anapu the bus left us off at the Parish Center where the Sisters were meeting with people who were planning how they would celebrate the third anniversary of Dorothy's death, February 12th. They stopped their meeting, as is the custom, and began singing, clapping and playing an accordion, guitar, drums and tambourines to welcome us. I was not expecting this nor ready for it. Once they greeted us, they asked us to say a few words. Sr. Mary Alice, who was with me for this journey, said a few words. Then I tried to say how special it was for me to be at Dorothy's place...but emotion overwhelmned me and my words were few.
This location is the place where there are palm-covered huts and a large area where Dorothy and the Sisters had meetings with the people over the years. Today it needs to be restored and returned to good use, but in the meantime it stands as a sanctuary and a testimony to Dorothy's work among the people.
There is so much more...other encounters and experiences. But for now, this sharing of this special part of my time in Brazil is enough.