Many of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon receive a book with the daily readings for Mass, Morning and Evening Prayer. Some of the readings include short biographies. In 2017, the Sisters are studying the lives of amazing American women.
January 2017 | Jane Addams
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
– Jane Addams
Social reformer Jane Addams was a pioneer. A settlement activist, social worker, public philosopher, sociologist and author, she was a leader in women’s suffrage and world peace. The eighth of nine children, she was born in Cedarville, Illinois, in 1860. Her Bible studies inspired her to serve the poor. In 1889, she and Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in Chicago, a social settlement which served immigrants from across Europe. She worked tirelessly to stop the use of child labor. In 1919, Jane Addams founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
- Learn more about the life and service of Jane Addams: the second woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
February 2017 | Rosa Parks
“I was not tired physically….I was tired of giving in.” – Rosa Parks
On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks made history when she boarded a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and refused to sit in the
back of the bus, where black passengers were supposed to sit. She was arrested and jailed. Her protest led to a boycott of the city buses that lasted more than a year until the city repealed its segregation ordinance.
- Learn more about the act of courage that made Rosa Parks an icon of America’s civil rights movement.
- See additional photos from the life of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
March 2017 | The Grimke Sisters
“If persecution is the means which God has ordained for the accomplishment of this great end, emancipation, then…I feel as if I could say, let it come; for it is my deep, solemn deliberate conviction, that this is a cause worth dying for….” – Angelina Grimke
Early and prominent activists for abolition and women’s rights, Sarah Grimke (1792-1873) and Angelina Grimke Weld (1805-1879) were raised in the cradle of slavery on a plantation in South Carolina. The Grimke sisters, as they were known, grew to despise slavery after witnessing its cruel effects at a young age. Sarah and Angelina were prominent speakers on the abolitionist circuit. By the 1830s, they were also known as proponents of women’s rights.
- Learn more about the lives of the Grimke sisters.
- Sarah and Angelina Grimke are profiled in “Young and Brave: Girls Changing History.”
April 2017 | The Grimke Sisters
“If this is His work it will succeed despite opposition. If it is not His work we do not want it to succeed.” – Servant of God Blandina Segale
Born in a small town near Genoa, Italy, Rose Marie Segale was just four years old when her family immigrated to the United States. At age 16, she joined the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, taking the name Sr. Blandina. In 1872, she was assigned to a small town in Colorado. From 1872 to 1894, she built orphanages, schools and hospitals in Colorado and New Mexico. In 1900, she returned to Albuquerque to build St. Joseph’s Hospital. Sr. Blandina acquired a reputation for facing lynch mobs, bandits and gunfighters – including Billy the Kid – with courage and kindness. In fact, her life was celebrated in an episode of the Death Valley Days television series. It was called: “The Fastest Nun in the West.” Sr. Blandina died on Feb. 23, 1941. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe has opened a process to canonize Sr. Blandina Segale, who is now honored with the title Servant of God.
May 2017 | Sr. Dorothy Stang
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Dorothy Stang was one of nine children. Raised on a farm in a traditional Catholic family, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in 1948. She began her ministry in Brazil in 1966. A citizen of Brazil and the United
States, Sr. Dorothy worked with the Pastoral Land Commission, an organization of the Catholic Church that fights for the rights of rural workers and peasants. As the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur note on their website: “Protecting the rain forest by encouraging sustainable farming techniques presented a threat to loggers, land speculators, and agribusiness concerns in the region. As a result, in the late 90s she was named to a ‘death list’ created by the power brokers of the area.” On February 12, 2005, two hired gunmen fired six shots, killing Sr. Dorothy Stang. Sr. Dorothy was posthumously awarded the 2008 United Nations
Prize in the Field of Human Rights. She has been the subject of books, movies, documentaries and an opera. The Vatican has
recognized her as a modern day martyr.