In 2018, the Sisters are studying the lives of amazing American women.
January 2018 | Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Believing in Jesus is believing in humanity, and that is, I believe, the great challenge of our time.” – Sister Shirley Kolman
Founded in Italy in 1834, the Adorers of the Blood of Christ is a congregation dedicated to serving the poor. In October 1992, five American Sisters – Barbara Ann Muttra, Shirley Kolmer, Mary Joel Kolmer, Agnes Mueller and Kathleen McGuire – were killed in Liberia, where they served those in need despite civil war, brutal governments and violence.
In commemorating their deaths, Pope John Paul II called the Sisters “Martyrs of Charity.”
Learn more about the life and ministry of Adorers of the Blood of Christ:
- The story of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ
- The story of the Liberian martyrs (including a video documentary)
February 2018 | Rachel Carson
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
A student of nature. A born ecologist before that science was defined. Rachel Carson was moved by a deep sense of wonder and respect for the earth and its creatures.
Raised on a family farm in Pennsylvania, Rachel Carson has been called the finest nature writer of the 20th century. She is perhaps best remembered today as the author of “Silent Spring,” which warned of the dangers of the misuse of chemical pesticides (such as DDT), questioned the direction of modern science and sparked the contemporary environmental movement.
In 1980, Carson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2001, the use of DDT was banned throughout the world.
Learn more about writer, scientist and ecologist Rachel Carson.
- The life and legacy of Rachel Carson
- Rachel Carson: The “American Experience” PBS documentary
- Rachel Carson: National Women’s History Museum
March 2018 | Ade Bethune, Liturgical Artist
“The saints are Christ. In their heroic deeds shines Christ’s example, reflected and multiplied through time and space.” – Ade Bethune
Born in 1914 in Brussells, Belgium, Marie Adélaïde de Bethune emigrated to the United States with her family in 1928. As a 19-year-old art student in New York, she became intrigued by a new movement called the Catholic Worker, which related the Gospel to social issues. After reading their newspaper, which she found visually uninteresting, she submitted a series of illustrations, including one depicting Joseph and Mary being evicted from the inn in Bethlehem. When she visited the Catholic Worker headquarters, she met editor Dorothy Day, who immediately asked her for more drawings.
Throughout her life, Ade Bethune worked as an artist in almost every medium and always serving her religious vision. Ade Bethune died in 2002 at the age of 88.
Learn more about liturgical artist Ade Bethune.
April 2018 | Sr. Mary Luke Tobin, Sisters of Loretto
“If people don’t have hope, I believe, then the work of the church is not done. If we don’t have hope, then our faith is of little help of comfort.” – Sr. Mary Luke Tobin
Born in 1908, Sister Mary Luke Tobin, S.L. (Sisters of Loretto), was one of only 15 women auditors invited to the Second Vatican Council and was the only American woman of the three women religious permitted to participate on the Council’s planning commissions. During her 70 years of religious ministry, Sr. Mary Luke Tobin served as president of the Loretto Community and worked tirelessly for peace and social justice.
She participated in nonviolent actions at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Martin-Marietta in Colorado as well as Nevada’s nuclear test site, the U.S. Capitol and the nuclear weapons complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. She was arrested at the Air Force Academy and in the Capitol Rotunda. Sr. Mary Luke Tobin also joined picket lines in support of the United Farm Workers. In 1979, she founded the Thomas Merton Center for Creative Exchange in Denver.
Sr. Mary Luke Tobin died on August 24, 2006, at the age of 98.
Learn more about Sr. Mary Luke Tobin:
- Sr. Mary Luke Tobin, visionary leader, dies: Loretto sister helped shape today’s Catholic church
- Female and Catholic: An interview with Sister Mary Luke Tobin, S.L. (uscatholic.org)
- A Woman’s View of Vatican II with Sr. Mary Luke Tobin SL – YouTube (1996 interview)
May 2018 | “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson
“After you sing the blues, you still have the blues. I sing God’s music because it makes me feel free.” – Mahalia Jackson
Born to a poor family in New Orleans in 1911 and raised in a devoutly Christian family, Mahala Jackson found her calling at Mount Mariah Baptist Church, where she started singing in the church choir at age 4. in the church choir. When she started to sing professionally, she added an “i” to her first name.
After moving to Chicago, she met and toured with the famous gospel choir leader, Thomas Dorsey. She made her debut on television’s “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1956 and appeared with Duke Ellington at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. She was the first gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall.
In the 1950s, Martin Luther King, Jr. invited her to help raise funds for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She was at King’s side during his famous March on Washington, performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
As Dr. King was finishing his prepared remarks, Jackson called out, “Tell them about the dream, Martin.” King went on to deliver the historic words that became the symbol of his legacy.
Activist, singer, and civil rights activist Mahalia Jackson died on January 27, 1972.
Learn more about Mahalia Jackson:
- Mahalia Jackson: The Queen of Gospel
- Mahalia Jackson: Voice Of The Civil Rights Movement (NPR)
- Mahalia Jackson biography: Encyclopedia Brittanica profile
June 2018 | “Servant of God” Dorothy Day
“By crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute, we can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world.” – Dorothy Day
A convert to Catholicism, Dorothy Day was engaged in the struggle for social change from her earliest years. After giving birth to a daughter, she had the child baptized though it meant a separation from her daughter’s father, who refused to marry her.
In 1932, she co-founded The Catholic Worker, a newspaper that supported the message of the Gospel. It launched a lay movement that combined voluntary poverty, hospitality and works of mercy.
A witness for peace and nonviolence, Dorothy Day was repeatedly arrested for acts of civil disobedience.
Dorothy Day remained active in the Catholic Worker movement until her death in New York in 1980 at the age of 83.
In 2000, at the request of Cardinal John O’Connor, the Vatican opened the canonization process and Dorothy Day received the title “Servant of God.”
Learn more about Dorothy Day:
- January 2017 | Jane Addams
- February 2017 | Rosa Parks
- March 2017 | The Grimke Sisters
- April 2017 | Blandina Segale
- May 2017 | Sr. Dorothy Stang
- June 2017 | St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
- July 2017 | Mother Theresa Maxis
- August 2017 | Dorothy Gauchat
- September 2017 | Eunice Kennedy Shriver
- October 2017 | Eileen Egan
- November 2017 | The churchwomen of El Salvador
- December 2017 | Servant of God Rose Hawthorne