The Greatest Gift: The Courageous Life and Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang

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In 1966, Sister Dorothy Stang went to Brazil as a missionary, and in 1982 she moved to a small town in the Amazon to work with an organization to protect poor farmers and their land from loggers and land-developers who stop at nothing—including murder—in pursuit of profits. After testifying at a government panel investigating illegal incursions into protected areas, Sister Dorothy was denounced as a “terrorist” by powerful companies and began receiving death threats. Refusing to be intimidated, she continued her ...
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The Greatest Gift: The Courageous Life and Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang

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Overview

In 1966, Sister Dorothy Stang went to Brazil as a missionary, and in 1982 she moved to a small town in the Amazon to work with an organization to protect poor farmers and their land from loggers and land-developers who stop at nothing—including murder—in pursuit of profits. After testifying at a government panel investigating illegal incursions into protected areas, Sister Dorothy was denounced as a “terrorist” by powerful companies and began receiving death threats. Refusing to be intimidated, she continued her work—until two gunmen shot her six times on a rural Amazon road.

THE GREATEST GIFT is the first biography of this extraordinary woman and her mission. Written by a mainstream journalist who has spent many years in Brazil, it exposes the entrenched collusion between government officials and commercial interests and celebrates the profound courage of Sister Dorothy and others fighting to protect the Amazon jungles and the people eking out a life there.

Inspired by deep religious conviction, Dorothy Stang gave of herself generously. A book that will resonate with readers of Sister Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking, THE GREATEST GIFT presents not only the story of Sister Dorothy’s tragic death, but the powerful and beautiful lessons of her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Very few religious believers are called upon to give their lives for their faith, but those individuals are often remarkably inspiring. Contemporary martyr Sister Dorothy Stang (1940-2005) was no exception. She lived a rich and full life and laid down that life for her friends. Her story is captured beautifully by British journalist Le Breton, author of Voices of the Amazon. Eighteen years after entering a convent for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Dorothy was granted her desire to serve the poor as a missionary in Brazil. Her somewhat naïve imagination about missionary life was quickly transformed by the harsh realities of the dire poverty she witnessed. During the almost 40 years she served in Brazil, Sr. Dorothy fell in love with the people and the country, and courageously aided in the struggle of poor farmers for land rights against logging and development companies. The story is heartbreaking and Le Breton's prose is gripping throughout, as she weaves in several personal narratives from Dorothy's family and close friends. These lend a gentle warmth to an account that is at times harrowing and cruel. This story deserves to be read. (Feb 5)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

American-born Catholic missionary nun Dorothy Stang spent 30 years serving the poor in lawless areas of the Amazon rain forest, fighting for their basic human rights amid the fraud and corruption of Brazil's land wars. She established schools, taught sustainable farming, and lived as poorly as the people-"her people," she called them-she so loved. When she testified at a government panel investigating illegal incursions into protected areas, Sister Dorothy began receiving death threats from angry loggers, wealthy landowners, and others. Her 2005 assassination on an Amazon road by hired gunmen sparked a worldwide outcry. British author and lecturer Le Breton (Trapped: Modern-Day Slavery in the Brazilian Amazon) is an environmental activist who has spent many years in Brazil and who, with her husband, runs a rainforest research center there. Through compelling writing and interviews with those who knew Sister Dorothy, she here outlines the saga of this courageous modern martyr. While Roseanne Murphy's Martyr of the Amazon: The Life of Sister Dorothy Stangappeared late last year, Le Breton's work focuses on the social and environmental aspects of her subject's ultimate sacrifice. Recommended for all collections and deserving of a wide readership.
—Anna M. Donnelly

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385522182
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/5/2008
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

BINKA Le BRETON is a British journalist and the author of A Land to Die For, Trapped: Modern Day Slavery in the Brazilian Amazon, Voices of the Amazon, and Rain Forests. She is also an award-winning writer, environmental and human rights activist, and non-profit director who lives and works in the Brazilian rainforest.
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  • Posted May 10, 2009

    What a wonderful person!!!!!

    I bought this book because a guest speaker was coming to my daughters school. So I thought I would step out of my "normal" comfort zone and read this book to be prepared for the speaker. What a wonderful surprise!
    We should all be as deadicated as she was. How inspiring.

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