One-woman play about slain Dayton nun staged locally

Tears streamed down the face of Barbara Richardson on Monday morning as she watched Sister Nancy Murray portray the life of her martyred sister, Dorothy Stang.

“You made me cry,” Richardson said as she hugged Murray after the show in the auditorium of Chaminade Julienne High School.

Richardson wasn’t the only one moved by the emotionally charged 90-minute performance by Murray, who is the sister of actor/comedian Bill Murray. Alter High School students joined their CJ counterparts in giving Murray a standing ovation for the show which spanned Stang’s life from her birth in Dayton in 1931 to her murder in the Amazon rainforest in 2005.

“Rooted in Love: A One-Woman Play of the Life and Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang,” also was performed Sunday at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Kettering.

Murray, previously known for her one-woman play about St. Catherine of Siena, said she was drawn to Stang’s story “because of a belief in the power of the arts to tell a story to people who might not be willing to read the biographies.”

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Murray felt a connection with Stang because they both worked with the poor in inner-city Chicago. Both are middle children in a family of nine; Murray is third in the lineup, while her famous brother is fifth. And no, their parents weren’t aspiring thespians. “Our father was a lumber salesman,” she said.

Murray was particularly pleased with a high school audience because of Stang’s message that “one person can make a huge difference if you have love and commitment, and that if you see injustice you should speak out.”

Daytonians will have another opportunity to learn more about Stang’s life Tuesday, Oct. 26, when Sister Jane Dwyer will speak at Precious Blood Church in Trotwood with a dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dwyer lived with Stang at the time of her death and continues her work in the Amazon rainforest today.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2209 or mmccarty@DaytonDailyNews.com. For information about Sister Jane Dwyer’s visit contact Pam Long at 224-3026.

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