Words from Sister Dorothy and Those Who Knew Her

We have been remembering some of the love and non-dualism and gifting from two martyrs of our time in Central and South America, Oscar Romero and Sister Dorothy Stang.  There are thousands of others.

Sister Dorothy Stang in her dorm room at Holy Names College. Photo contributed by Matthew Fox.

People who knew Sister Dorothy well have shared some of her teachings below. 

First, from her brother David Stang comes this testimony: 

I miss this warrior very much! She felt and touched the divine in the poor, in the forest, in herself, and all around her. Dying for her was another divine event, just as your life has been. No dualism. Pure mysterious divine!  –David

These words from Dorothy are chosen by her friends and coworkers, Sr. Joan Krimm and Sr. JoAnn Depweg who gathered them from letters Dorothy wrote over the years.  They offer them as “Quotes for Prayer” from Sister Dorothy.

We, as Sisters of Notre Dame, dedicate ourselves to the poor in the most abandoned places.  Living, eating, drinking, sharing daily with our people at our mission, constantly challenges us to do all we can to help bring about change.

Together we can make a difference bringing peace, joy, caring, love to our world that is losing sight of our guiding star – the goodness of the real God.

“Women Dancing around a Bonfire” by Sister Dorothy Stang, SNDN. Contributed by Matthew Fox.

Did we make our lives so comfortable and withdrawn from reality that we cannot see the social sins that our silence is supporting?

We must help the people recapture a relationship with Mother Earth that is tender and kind.

We must make great efforts to save our planet.  Earth is not able to provide anymore.  Her water and air are poisoned and her soul is dying of exaggerated use of chemicals.

If we keep working, helping our people to grow through education, they will have the ability to speak up, organize, and create within themselves a spirit guided by THE SPIRIT and become a new people.  I might not see this day, but with the help of all of you, our people will grow in their understanding and caring for others.

I have to fill myself up with Scripture and the spiritual life so I have the grace to continue in the struggle.


See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest (2015 edition), pp. 341-343, 433, 448.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Also see Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations

To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Triptych altar honoring Dorothy Stang. Images painted by her brother Tom Stang who brought the work to a Cosmic Mass. Photo contributed by Matthew Fox.

Queries for Contemplation

What words from Sister Dorothy or her brother speak most deeply to you and the decisions you are making at this time in your life?

Recommended Reading

Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest (Revised/Updated Edition)

Matthew Fox’s stirring autobiography, Confessions, reveals his personal, intellectual, and spiritual journey from altar boy, to Dominican priest, to his eventual break with the Vatican. Five new chapters in this revised and updated edition bring added perspective in light of the author’s continued journey, and his reflections on the current changes taking place in church, society and the environment.
“The unfolding story of this irrepressible spiritual revolutionary enlivens the mind and emboldens the heart — must reading for anyone interested in courage, creativity, and the future of religion.”
—Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.


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6 thoughts on “Words from Sister Dorothy and Those Who Knew Her”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, As you continue sharing the life of Sister Dorothy Stang with us today you share the thoughts and memories of first, her brother, who after saying she was a “warrior” he says, “She felt and touched the divine in the poor, in the forest, in herself, and all around her. Dying for her was another divine event…” Then you share a few examples of what two of her “fellow” sisters: Sr. Joan Krimm and Sr. JoAnn Depweg, gathered from things she had written: “We, as Sisters of Notre Dame, dedicate ourselves to the poor in the most abandoned places. Living, eating, drinking, sharing daily with our people at our mission, constantly challenges us to do all we can to help bring about change”–and that was her life mission. And she had plans to make things work as can be seen in what she says here: “If we keep working, helping our people to grow through education, they will have the ability to speak up, organize, and create within themselves a spirit guided by THE SPIRIT and become a new people.” And I just wanted to say that I think the art piece that you shared by Dorothy (“Women Dancing around a Bonfire”), was great !!!

  2. Avatar

    Our ability to speak up and be guided by the Spirit are ones in which we have to recognize as being within ourselves. To that end, here are some words that I wrote this morning for another post.

    I feel good about the string of faith, ‘the lifeline’ that connects us to our God of All Creation. It serves us well. It is the ‘power of peace’ that envelopes us. It not only connects but nourishes us as well, and we may call that love, truth, joy and grace as you will.

    It is the ‘lifeline’ that we all have. Like being in outer space, floating, but still and always connected to the ‘Mother ship’. When things appear out of control, we pull on our ‘lifeline’ and get closer again to the safety and security of the ‘Mother ship’. It is a wonderful thing to be free and to float, to see the awe and wonder of life.
    Others or life situations may look to convince us that our ‘lifeline to Mother ship’ is about to or has been cut-off, but it never has and never will. To understand this then, is to make oneself most grateful. Nothing that appears to be reality to us is only an illusion, if we believe ourselves and others to be unworthy, victimized, distraught, and lost without hope.

    When we begin to ‘see the lifeline’ that always connects us to ‘Mother ship’, we get more courage to float and experience farther distances away in our loving pursuits. We and Creator are ‘one’ and can never be anything else. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    We are the thousands
    feeling touched by the Divine
    in the poor, in the forest
    in ourselves, in everything
    that exists all around us.

    We are the thousands
    engaged with the Divine
    in the events of our lives,
    friends and coworkers
    gathered together as One.

    We are the thousands
    sisters and brothers dedicated
    to the mysterious Divine,
    constantly challenged
    to be the birthers of change.

    We are the thousands
    doing what we can differently,
    in a world that is losing sight
    of the inherent goodness and beauty
    of God’s presence and essence within all.

    We are the thousands
    dancing around the sacred fire
    seeing the shadows through the light,
    the uncomfortable truth revealed,
    giving voice to what silence has denied.

    We are the thousands
    recapturing our relationship with
    Mother Earth, ourselves, each other
    the Divine Mystery within the all,
    awakening to tenderness and kindness.

    We are the thousands
    who have the ability to stand up,
    to unite, to imagine, to co-create with Spirit,
    intuitively guided by Her wisdom,
    the emergence of something new.

    We are the thousands
    growing in our understanding
    evolving in compassionate caring,
    unfurling roses of love, the fragrance
    of grace, continuing in the struggle.

  4. Avatar

    I am most struck by her last comment, that she has to fill herself up with scripture and spiritual life in order to have the grace to continue in the struggle. That’s what we all must do so that we are not overwhelmed with the immensity of the challenges facing us as individuals and as a people on this earth. There was a recent death at the hands of police of a young man trying to protect a forest in the state of Georgia. The authorities have been extremely reluctant to divulge any details, and many are calling it murder. That remains to be seen, but clearly there is risk in activism, even unto death. Yet we must persist. Hope is a verb with the sleeves rolled up, as Matthew has said.

  5. Avatar

    “Together we can make a difference bringing peace, joy, caring, love to our world that is losing sight of our guiding star — the goodness of the real God… “

    Unfortunately, most people don’t yet realize that God’s Divine Love~Wisdom~Truth~Peace~Justice~Healing~Transformation~Strength~Compassionate Service~Loving Oneness… is Present in our hearts~souls, among us, in Sacred Mother Nature/Earth, and within our co-Creation~Evolution of our mysterious sacred multidimensional-multiverse Cosmos with other spiritual beings in Loving Diverse Oneness….
    ????

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