“Once you have marched in Selma, Sister, you can never stay home again.”
Sister Mary Peters,
National Catholic Council
for Interracial Justice
The Catholic Church owes much of its record of social activism to its vowed women, for whom service is the highest calling. In fact, most orders of nuns were founded for social service – teaching children, nursing the sick, and performing all tasks “of which woman is capable.” It is not surprising that in 1965 and thereafter the sisters came to the city of Selma, Alabama, to help the oppressed – the African-American citizens of the South fighting for their civil rights.
A new generation of African-Americans was challenging the status quo of the Deep South of the ‘60s. These nuns of the Catholic Church (which had long been perceived as a “white” institution) joined the civil rights struggle…and in so doing, the Church and the sisters were themselves transformed.