Dear Friends, 

We pray for you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Today's Meditation is a celebration of the spirit of Sr. Dorothy Hennessey who took to heart the message of today's Scripture reading from Paul advising Timothy: "Fan into a flame the gift God has given you." She witnessed to what she valued. She also reminds us of our friend Fr. Roy Bourgeois who also witnessed these last 25 years against the School of the Americas training perpetrators of torture, massacres and militay coups.

We invite you to join us as we commit ourselves to working tirelessly to end systemic and structural racism in our society, in the church, in healthcare, in the workplace--wherever it shows up so that everyone may come to have more abundant life. May this meditation nourish our contemplative-active hearts and sustain all of us in action.

In the spirit of our philosophy of co-creating community and our awareness that the Spirit speaks through each of us, we invite you to share your meditations with us as well. We truly believe that it is God's economy of abundance: when we share our blessings, our thoughts, our feelings, we are all made richer.

We hope and pray that you find peace, healing, hope and the infusion of joy in your life!

With our love and care,

Ron and Jean

MEDITATION: Sr. Dorothy Hennessey

Blessed Among Us

Sr. Dorothy Hennessey

Franciscan, Witness for Peace (1913–2008)

In 2001, Sr. Dorothy Hennessey, then eighty-eight, made headlines when she was arrested with her younger sister, Gwen Hennessey, for trespassing at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. They were part of a large contingent of human rights protesters waging a campaign to close the school, whose alumni included the perpetrators of torture, massacres, and military coups in Latin America. Dorothy and Gwen were sentenced to six months in prison. When their judge offered to commute Dorothy’s sentence to “motherhouse arrest,” she replied, “I’d rather not be singled out. If you wouldn’t mind, I would just as soon have the same sentence as the others.”

Dorothy had entered the Franciscan order at nineteen and spent many years teaching. But over time her sense of global responsibility was awakened through letters from her brother Ron Hennessey, a Maryknoll priest in Guatemala, who reported on the violence and atrocities occurring at the hands of the military. In the early 1980s she went to Nicaragua during the time of the “Contra” war to serve as a “Witness for Peace.” In 1986, now in her seventies, she took part in a continental walk for peace across the entire United States.

In 2002 she and her sister Gwen received the Pacem in Terris award from the diocese of Davenport, an award previously won by Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King Jr.

She died on January 24, 2008, at the age of ninety-four.

“We can’t protest everything, but we can pick out some of the worst things to protest, and that’s what I’ve tried to do.”

—Sr. Dorothy Hennessey