Dorothy Day, pacifist, activist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement is quoted as saying “People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.”
The truth of this statement is borne out in the ways the values of human rights and justice have been championed through the years by individual women and organizations. In this season we recognize all who have sought the good of humanity. There is a great “cloud of witness”, upon whose shoulders we stand.
The women listed below might not be well-known, yet they deserve our reverence. The bricks they have laid are part of the foundation upon which love and justice are built.
Sr. Dorothy Hennessey
Sr. Dorothy is a Franciscan sister who, at the age of 88 was sentenced to 6 months in prison for protesting at the School of the Americas.
Sarah and Angelina Grimke
The Grimke sisters were daughters of a Southern slave-owner, who became abolitionists and women’s rights activists.
Mev Puleo was an American photojournalist who used her talent to confront and document injustice and suffering in Latin America.
Sr. Dorothy Stang
Sr. Dorothy was an American member of the Brazilian Sisters of Norte Dame de Namur. She was an outspoken advocate for environmental justice for the poor farmers of the Amazon Rainforest.
Sr. Thea Bowman
Sr. Thea was a black sister who worked to transform attitudes of racism and encourage intercultural awareness in the Catholic Church.
The Mirabal Sisters
Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa Mirabal, known as Las Mariposas (The Butterflies) in the Dominican Republic, were assassinated to end their opposition to a cruel dictator, Rafael Trujillo.
Heather Heyer was killed while opposing hate in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Digna Ochoa was an environmental and human rights attorney in Mexico who was killed because of her advocacy.
Amy Biehl was an American anti-apartheid activist killed by an anti-white mob in South Africa.
The Founding Board Members of Mary’s Pence
The founding women were aware of the great needs of poor and disenfranchised women. They were frustrated by the lack of funding for women’s projects, so they took steps to remedy the situation. Because these women stepped out in faith, Mary’s Pence has been funding women and changing lives for over 30 years.