We remember Dorothy on the 10th anniversary of her death because she was so ordinary, so small in stature and yet she stood so tall against violence, greed and the destructive forces in the Amazon — just like the sturdy mahogany trees of the rainforest!
“O fim da floresta e’ o fim da nossa vida
– the death of the forest is the death of our life!”
What a bold statement, Dorothy! Not unlike that attributed to Chief Seattle of the Suquamish, in 1855:
“Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.”
Why did you speak so passionately about the rainforest? What compelled you to walk on the tangled paths of the forest and among the poor seeking to sustain the lush beauty and bounty of the Amazon?
You never stopped caring for and singing the tune of hope for the rainforest! You loved the land, the trees, the wildlife—not just from an ecological concern and consciousness. Your devotion came from your deep sense of kinship with all creation—your faith and spirituality.
For you, Dorothy, everyone and everything was sacred. The poor, the land, flowers and monkeys—all were an expression and reflection of the Creator Spirit who dwells among us as a life sustaining, loving presence and revelation. The loss or destruction of any part of the rainforest was the loss of the Divine radiance revealed to us in all creation. Like Mechtild of Magdeburg, you saw “God in all things and all things are in God.” Thank you, Dorothy, for this legacy of faith and hope.
And so we pray, God of Goodness and Beauty, God of Life, and of the Rainforest, teach us to hear the cries of the poor, of the scorched earth and the dispossessed on our planet; to see sacredness in everyone: in fields, in forests, the seas and all living beings; to work for right relationships by living with a sense of kinship for friend and foe alike in our communities and our world; to foster hope and healing through our appreciation and reverence for the whole earth community so as to give testimony that our generation has love for the next.
And, like Dorothy, we pray to have “the courage to go as far as we can” to restore the health, beauty and balance of our planet home recognizing the divine presence of the Creator Spirit of Love that flows through and sustains the universe.
May it be so. Amen.
Written by Marlene de Nardo. Marlene, educator, spiritual director and retreat facilitator, worked alongside Sister Dorothy for 10 years in Northeastern Brazil.