Sturdy Roots

Voices of Change
Risking All In Faith

Dorothy Olinger, SSND

Prophetic Voice for Mother Earth

Dorothy Olinger, SSND was born on a Minnesota farm, July 4, 1923 , the youngest of 12 children. She was educated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and decided to join them at the age of 18. She was professed in 1944 and spent 23 years as a senior high school teacher of history and related subjects. She describes herself by saying: The first twenty years of my life as a School Sister of Notre Dame I was a conservative, timid person who worked hard at teaching the curriculum and pleasing those in authority. About the time of Vatican Council II, (1962-1965) teaching was becoming more wholistic, and new understandings of Scripture, Church and religious life were bringing change. The influence of companion Sisters, the rewriting of our Constitution and the explosion of scientific knowledge were important factors that made this an exciting time to be alive. I experienced a personal transformation .” Her personal transformation has challenged many to live into a new cosmology, telling the Universe Story as the “Great Work” of the 21 st century.

Listen to Rachel Carson’s warning of a “Silent Spring ” and consider your own response to this warning given in 1962. Recall the voices from the Apollo 8 space crew that greeted us on December 24, 1968 . Their view of Earth as a fragile planet without borders, floating in a sea of black, was a catalyst for a shift in human consciousness.

As educators who want to learn the language of the Universe Story we have created a bibliography of children’s literature helpful in understanding both the scientific expression of the new cosmology as well as expressing the sacred nature of the universe. Let the story of saving a whale in 2006 broaden your understanding of community.

An appropriate way to pray the Spirit of the Universe Story is called the “Cosmic Walk."

Margaret Ellen Traxler
New York Times
Dorothy Olinger, SSND
Mary Ellen Dougherty, SSND
Mary Basil Roeser
Miriam Jansen, SSND
Benita Sohm
Sandra Spencer
Rita Schonhoff

Cronkite Narration
Cosmic Walk Illustrations
Audio of Rachel Carson
Audio of Apollo 8 Mission

© Judith Best, SSND - 2010 - School Sisters of Notre Dame
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