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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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Madeleine Sophie Barat: The legacy of Madeleine Sophie Barat can be found in the more than 100 schools operated by her Society of the Sacred Heart, institutions known for the quality of the education made available to the young. 
<p>Sophie herself received an extensive education, thanks to her brother, Louis, 11 years older and her godfather at Baptism. Himself a seminarian, he decided that his younger sister would likewise learn Latin, Greek, history, physics and mathematics—always without interruption and with a minimum of companionship. By age 15, she had received a thorough exposure to the Bible, the teachings of the Fathers of the Church and theology. Despite the oppressive regime Louis imposed, young Sophie thrived and developed a genuine love of learning. </p><p>Meanwhile, this was the time of the French Revolution and of the suppression of Christian schools. The education of the young, particularly young girls, was in a troubled state. At the same time, Sophie, who had concluded that she was called to the religious life, was persuaded to begin her life as a nun and as a teacher. She founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, which would focus on schools for the poor as well as boarding schools for young women of means; today, co-ed Sacred Heart schools can be found as well as schools exclusively for boys. </p><p>In 1826, her Society of the Sacred Heart received formal papal approval. By then she had served as superior at a number of convents. In 1865, she was stricken with paralysis; she died that year on the feast of the Ascension. </p><p>Madeleine Sophie Barat was canonized in 1925.</p> American Catholic Blog When you go to Jesus, you’re not going to a God who only knows heaven; instead, you’re placing your hurting heart into pierced hands that understand both the pain of suffering and the glory of redemption.

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