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Patience Robbins, taught often about Sister Dorothy Stang, a sister of Notre Dame, who was murdered in the city of Anapu, Brazil, for her work for justice and the poor in that area. When Patience, my friend and mentor from the Shalem Institute, would talk about the inspirational life and death of Sister Dorothy Stang, at first I didn’t quite get it. I thought, “must be a Catholic thing, to be inspired by martyrdom. Me? I’d rather live.” But the story stuck, and has continued to run around in my spirit over the last several years. Sister Dorothy spent her adult life helping the poor of Brazil work for environmental justice, making enemies with wealthy landowners and loggers who were used to getting their way. She was gunned down in the road on the way to a community meeting about these land rights issues. When she was surrounded by her killers, she opened the Bible and read the Beatitudes out loud.
For the past month I’ve been riveted by events unfolding in the middle east. News coverage is now unfolding the personal stories behind to story of the early days of revolution in Egypt, and I see women who look just like me out on the streets, making a revolution happen with their presence, their precious life energy, their demands and their networks. Christiane Amanpour on ABC News This week had a fascinating 5 minute story about some of these women. It is inspiring to watch! In real time, real life, it begs the Biblical question in this Lenten season, “what would I die for?”
Who inspires you to live your values? What’s their story?
What values would you take to the streets to march for? And if not march in the streets, take a stand in some way for?
Some Resources from this blog:
More on Sister Dorothy Stang, from Wikiedia: “Dot, as she was called by her family, friends and most locals in Brazil, is often pictured wearing a t-shirt with the slogan, "A Morte da floresta é o fim da nossa vida" which is Portuguese for "The death of the forest is the end of our life." She said, “I don't want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live and work with dignity while respecting the environment.”