Notre Dame de Namur Sr. Dorothy Stang’s persistent activism on behalf of Brazil’s poor and the earth is well known to environmental and social justice activists throughout the world. Thursday marks the 10-year anniversary of her death at the hands of hired guns.
Eco Catholic: "She befriended and defended the farmers, the forest and all its wildlife because ... they [are] an expression and reflection of the Holy One."
In the 10 years since U.S.-born Sr. Dorothy Stang was killed by ranchers in the Amazon, the risks have not decreased, said one of the coordinators of the Brazilian bishops' Pastoral Land Commission.
Antonio Canuto, one of the commission's coordinators, said although the 73-year-old nun's assassination in Anapu brought awareness of the plight of the peasants with whom she worked, this has not been enough to decrease impunity in the region.
"The reality continues the same as it was when Sister Dorothy was alive," Canuto said.
Latin American church leaders apologized for historical complicity with colonial atrocities in the Amazon and called for a church with an "Amazonian face" in a pastoral letter issued as negotiators from around the world met for a climate summit here.
"The exploitation of the Amazon through mining, the expansion of farming and ranching, road construction, hydroelectric dams and timber companies demand that the church take a more prophetic stance," they wrote.
Eco Catholic: "There is no large-scale industrial mining without water. ... These toxic materials will remain in the soil and in the water [for] centuries."
The largest Roman Catholic geographical district in Brazil, located deep in the Amazon along the Xingu River, has more than 800 Catholic congregations but only 27 priests.
More than 2 million worshippers, pilgrims and onlookers poured around an 11-inch wooden figure of the Virgin Mary as it made its way through the streets. A crush of the faithful heaved and hauled away at a rope that stretched over a thousand feet from the cart that bore the beloved statue, dragging it inch by inch through the sweat-soaked crowd. Bursts of fireworks marked its passage.
Cirio de Nazare is Brazil's largest religious event of the year, and it takes place at the mouth of the Amazon in the northern state of Para.
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