Assassinated American nun honoured

Sr Dorothy Stang, an American nun killed for her advocacy of the rights of Amazonian rural workers and peasants, is to be honoured this week as a "Freedom Hero" in her home state of Ohio.

Sr Stang left a teaching career in America to advocate for the rights of rural workers and peasants in the Amazon rain forest. The Dayton, Ohio, native was shot to death at the age of 73 in February 2005.

A member of the Order of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Sr Dorothy moved to the Amazon 22 years ago to help poor farmers build independent futures for their families. She had been working with the Pastoral Land Commission, an organisation of the Church that fights for the rights of rural workers and peasants and defends land reforms in Brazil.

Her death came less than a week after meeting with the country's human rights officials about threats to local farmers from loggers and landowners.

According to reports, she had a Bible in her hand as she made her way to a meeting in the Amazon jungle when two hired gunmen approached her. While at gunpoint, she read to them a line from the Beatitudes - "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God" - before she was shot six times and killed at point-blank.

The recognition of her legacy is part of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's "Pepsi Everyday Hero" program, a program underwritten by Pepsi-Cola that celebrates individuals who expand or defend freedom.

Heroes are nominated by community members on the Freedom Center's website, by schools, the Boys & Girls Club and a TV station.

Slain nun to be honored by Freedom Center (Cincinnati Business Courier 10/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Dorothy Stang (Wikipedia)
Martyred in the rain forest (Maryknoll magazine, July 2005)
Sr Dorothy Stang (Greenpeace)

American nun assassinated in Brazil (CathNews 14/2/05)
Five face trial in Brazil for nun's murder (CathNews 13/7/05)

11 Jul 2006