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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.

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Anthony Zaccaria: At the same time that Martin Luther was attacking abuses in the Church, a reformation within the Church was already being attempted. Among the early movers of the Counter-Reformation was Anthony Zaccaria. His mother became a widow at 18 and devoted herself to the spiritual education of her son. He received a medical doctorate at 22 and, while working among the poor of his native Cremona in Italy, was attracted to the religious apostolate. He renounced his rights to any future inheritance, worked as a catechist and was ordained a priest at the age of 26. Called to Milan in a few years, he laid the foundations of three religious congregations, one for men and one for women, plus an association of married couples. Their aim was the reform of the decadent society of their day, beginning with the clergy, religious and lay people. 
<p>Greatly inspired by St. Paul (his congregation is named the Barnabites, after the companion of that saint), Anthony preached with great vigor in church and street, conducted popular missions and was not ashamed of doing public penance. </p><p>He encouraged such innovations as the collaboration of the laity in the apostolate, frequent Communion, the Forty Hours devotion and the ringing of church bells at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. </p><p>His holiness moved many to reform their lives but, as with all saints, it also moved many to oppose him. Twice his community had to undergo official religious investigation, and twice it was exonerated. </p><p>While on a mission of peace, he became seriously ill and was brought home for a visit to his mother. He died at Cremona at the age of 36.</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, help me make my life more about you and less about me. May others see you in me—your image and likeness. Teach me ways to increase my time with you, my service to others, and my love for my family, for strangers, and for the poor. You are the light in the darkness. With each new day, may we be light to one another.

Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag

 
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