JUSTICE. Sr. Dorothy had a passion for justice expressed over almost 40 years of struggle on behalf of the poor farmers and the integrity of the rainforest. Hundreds of people lost their lives, their homes, their crops and animals to the violence of illegal ranchers and loggers, but she doggedly pushed on. She knew the risks she was taking, living as she did with constant death threats, knowing that there was a $25,000 bounty on her head.
We can take a lesson from the Brazil story. We must not give up in our desire to see justice done in our own country. We may not have death threats, but working for justice and peace never lets up. Let us patiently work with issues, though they may not be resolved in our lifetimes. Courage and patience to keep on keeping on is a gift of grace.
Dorothy spoke these words to young federal prosecutor, a supporter of the farmers, on the morning of her assassination: “Felicio, don’t ever give up, do you hear me? You have to keep up the fight. You mustn’t abandon our people, do you understand? You must keep on fighting because God is with you. (Excerpt from: “The Greatest Gift-The Courageous Life and Martyrdom of Sr. Dorothy Stang,” by Binka Le Breton.)
PRAYER: Good and gracious God, we pray for the safety of our Sisters in Brazil. We pray for the people they accompany. We pray for the two young AmeriCorps volunteers who are going for a year of service in Brazil. We ask that you change the hearts of those who perpetuate violence in Anapu. We pray for ourselves as well that we be faithful to the practice of justice and peace in our communities. Amen.
This reflection was written by Sr. Margaret Hoffman, SND, Justice & Peace Coordinator. Sr. Joan Krimm, SND, selected the Dorothy Stang quotation.