This year, on the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Dorothy Mae Stang, people from all over Brazil meet in Anapu, Para, to walk together the hill-filled miles that Dorothy traveled proclaiming the goodness of God to landless farmers. It is a rough road and a steep road. And Dorothy is with us on the journey.
She is with us in Anapu where the Sisters Katy, Jane, Julia, Maria Vagner and Zenilda continue to be present with the people in both urban and rural areas and to celebrate new and hopeful signs of growth in the number of base communities.
She is with us in the Amazon Regions where Sr. Bequi continues to accompany the indigenous peoples.
We pray to open our hearts for the journey, that we may continue to walk with courage and hope, each and every day. May we learn from her what it means to travel lightly, to breathe deeply, to love unconditionally.
She is with us in Sao Luis, Maranhao, where Sr. Ani accompanies Afro-Brasilian communities in their unending struggle for justice and equality, where Sr. Sandra as an attorney actively represents the legal rights of the poor and excluded populations.
She is with us on the island of Marajo where Sisters Rita and Socorro accompany women and children in the promotion of human rights, and work for the prevention of human trafficking.
We pray to let the certainties of our minds be challenged that we may be open to the breath of the Spirit. May we be strengthened in our feet and ankles, knees and backs, to walk the “extra mile” to really know our neighbors, to be willing to work to build a caring world community.
She is with us on the journey in Belem where Sisters Josie and Rosinha are studying at the university in preparation for social work. While Sisters Raminha actively contributes in the ministry of prayer and Tecla works with parish youth groups.
We pray for eyes to see the harsh consequences of the oppressive greed that destroys the life and beauty of our planet. We pray for ears ever open to hear the cries of the poor and voice to proclaim the sacred presence of the Spirit of life with the confidence that we are not alone.
She is with us on the journey in Ceara where Sr. Lucyane’s work with the theatre of the oppressed awakens awareness and promotes collective solutions of community problems. Sr. Mary Alice accompanies fishermen and lace makers in their unending struggle to secure the lands and beaches from greedy entrepreneurs. Sr. Betsy is involved in educational programs to create awareness of the trafficking of human persons and to build national and international networks of support.
We pray that our arms reach to embrace all peoples, that we build the needed muscles to help carry burdens, our arms extended to walk arm to arm with one another, sisters, brothers, companions and friends, one and all.
She is with us on the journey. Dorothy Mae Stang, Presente!
Written by Sisters Betsy Mary Flynn, SND, and Mary Alice McCabe, SND. Sr. Mary Alice joined the Notre Dame mission in Brazil in 1970. Mary Alice has spent most of the last 44 years working with base Christian communities in the rural area of northeast Brazil. She also worked with our Notre Dame mission in Nicaragua for five years helping to organize women’s cooperatives in rural communities. Sr. Betsy has lived in the northeast of Brazil for the past 34 years. Presently, she lives in the capital city of Fortaleza, where as a member of the Agar Group, she studies the Bible with a focus of gender. Betsy also works with the group, Grito pela Vida, to prevent human trafficking.