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Angel of the Amazon View Comments
By Tina Neyer

Caitlin Mathes takes on the role of Sister Dorothy Stang in the opera Angel of the Amazon.

"I really thought I made it clear,” an actress on a New York City stage sings as she faces two
characters pointing guns at her. She stands in front of a backdrop depicting a lush forest as she conveys fear and conviction simultaneously. The opera singer is portraying Sister Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who was assassinated in 2005 in the Amazon rain forest.

Sister Dorothy worked for 40 years defending the rights of poor farmers who had been granted land by the Brazilian government. The farmers struggled to gain access to the land, though, due to the greed of a small number of wealthy cattle ranchers and loggers. She was murdered for her stand.

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Tina Neyer, M.Ed., is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, Ohio, who focuses on stories that touch the heart. She also works as both a theology tutor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and an independent family mediator.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions: Andrew Dung-Lac was one of 117 people martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862. Members of this group were beatified on four different occasions between 1900 and 1951. All were canonized by St. John Paul II. 
<p>Christianity came to Vietnam (then three separate kingdoms) through the Portuguese. Jesuits opened the first permanent mission at Da Nang in 1615. They ministered to Japanese Catholics who had been driven from Japan. </p><p>The king of one of the kingdoms banned all foreign missionaries and tried to make all Vietnamese deny their faith by trampling on a crucifix. Like the priest-holes in Ireland during English persecution, many hiding places were offered in homes of the faithful. </p><p>Severe persecutions were again launched three times in the 19th century. During the six decades after 1820, between 100,000 and 300,000 Catholics were killed or subjected to great hardship. Foreign missionaries martyred in the first wave included priests of the Paris Mission Society, and Spanish Dominican priests and tertiaries. </p><p>Persecution broke out again in 1847 when the emperor suspected foreign missionaries and Vietnamese Christians of sympathizing with a rebellion led by of one of his sons. </p><p>The last of the martyrs were 17 laypersons, one of them a 9-year-old, executed in 1862. That year a treaty with France guaranteed religious freedom to Catholics, but it did not stop all persecution. </p><p>By 1954 there were over a million and a half Catholics—about seven percent of the population—in the north. Buddhists represented about 60 percent. Persistent persecution forced some 670,000 Catholics to abandon lands, homes and possessions and flee to the south. In 1964, there were still 833,000 Catholics in the north, but many were in prison. In the south, Catholics were enjoying the first decade of religious freedom in centuries, their numbers swelled by refugees. </p><p>During the Vietnamese war, Catholics again suffered in the north, and again moved to the south in great numbers. Now the whole country is under Communist rule.</p> American Catholic Blog To replace our sins with virtues may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately we can follow the example of the saints who have 
successfully defeated these sins in their lifetimes. They provide us with a way forward so that we, too, can live holy, virtuous lives.

 
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