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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Religious sister shot and killed in Brazil

An American nun was shot to death in northern Brazil on Saturday, less then a week after she accused loggers and ranchers of threatening to kill rural workers, authorities said.

Dorothy Stang, 74, was shot in the face three times near the town of Anapu, about 2,100 kilometers north of Sao Paulo in the Amazon region, federal police officer Fernando Raiol said...

Stang, of Dayton, Ohio, had lobbied forcefully against efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate lands and clear large areas of the Amazon rainforest.

"She was basically protected by her status as being an old lady and being a nun. She also recently became a Brazilian citizen, and she thought that would help but it obviously didn't," said her niece Angela Mason, who lives in Dayton, Ohio. She said Stang had told them there was a price on her head.

Stang was a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, an international Catholic religious order of about 2,000 women in five continents.

Last June, Stang was honored by the state of Para for her work in the Amazon region. In December she received an award from the Brazilian Bar Association for her work helping the local rural workers.

"She was awesome. A little old bundle of joy. She was the happiest person," Mason said. "She needed nothing. She just loved the people down there."

While, of course, this is a horrible tragedy, and my prayers are with this religious sister and her family, I have to ask myself, "Why?"

According to these reports, this woman, a consecrated religious, seems to have made her life's work the salvation of the Amazon rainforest. She had, it says, "lobbied forcefully against efforts by loggers and large landowners to expropriate lands and clear large areas of the Amazon rainforest." It also talks about her meetings with farmers, ranchers, peasants, and a human rights secretary.

Not one word is said about her work for the Lord.

Nothing is known about this woman's personal committments to religious life, I hope and pray that she was a faithful servant of the Lord. But, the approach this article takes raises serious questions in my mind as to whether the purpose and meaning of the life of a religious has been overshadowed in attempts to make the world itself into heaven -- instead of seeing the world as our place to prepare ourselves to leave it in order to enter heaven.

The primary purpose of a consecrated religious is to love and serve the Lord, and to spread the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. I'm not sure what part devotion to rainforests plays in this role, and I am decidedly not sure of the spiritual value of "martyrdom" for rainforests.

American Nun Shot to Death in Brazil


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