web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Sister Rose Thering: Sister Rose’s Passion


LBJ-012012

Sister Rose’s Passion is a documentary film on the life of Sister Rose Thering, a life that stood for love of Jews, for fighting prejudice, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The film won an award at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, a year after it was made. And the heroine of the documentary, Sister Rose Thering herself received more than 80 humanitarian awards. Among them, the Anti-Defamation League’s Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award, was its first prize ever awarded to a woman.

It was in her early childhood that Rose instinctively rejected expressions of anti-Jewish prejudice. Born on Aug. 9, 1920, the sixth of 11 children, she grew up on a Wisconsin farm where Jews were spoken of in whispers, where in her parochial school catechisms and other religious texts portrayed Jews as Christ-killers. Rose, having learned of the stereotypical messages of intolerance early in life, found them truly troubling. She joined the Sisters of St. Dominic at 16, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Dominican College in Racine in 1953, a master’s degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1957 and a doctorate at St. Louis University four years later. In recognition of her interfaith work, the Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies was established at Seton Hall in 1992; it has given scholarships to 350 teachers for graduate studies on the Holocaust.

Later, as a teacher, she examined the Catholic textbooks of her students critically and was shocked by what she found. She was in her 30’s and had been teaching for some time when she resolved to act against what she saw as a fundamental flaw in church teaching. “I had ordered the most widely used Catholic religious teaching material from high school and grade school,” Sister Rose recalled. “When I began to read, it almost made me ill.” She cited a passage that asked, “Why did the Jews commit the great sin of putting Jesus himself to death?” and another declaring, “The worst deed of the Jewish people was the murder of the Messiah.”

The result of Sister Rose Thering’s indignation was her study of anti-Semitism in Catholic texts and a dissertation for her 1961 doctorate at St. Louis University that propounded the evidence: textbooks and preaching that proliferate calumnies against Jews and Judaism.

In 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the ecumenical council known as Vatican II, he used Sister Rose’s study to draft portions of the historic Vatican document “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Age”). It was this document that reversed church policy and declared of Jesus’ death “what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today.” Her conclusion: “The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by G-d,” is a most significant contradiction to age-old church doctrine.

“They were 15 lines in Latin,” Sister Rose commented later about Nostra Aetate, “but they changed everything.” Indeed, in Catholic texts, in sermons, and in other pronouncements of the church, a new attitude toward Jews was officially adopted and discussions between Catholics and Jews have been elevated to a more respectful plane. At Seton Hall, where she joined the faculty in 1968, Sister Rose established workshops on Judaism for church leaders and teachers, helped write a law mandating the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide in all elementary and high schools in New Jersey, and led student groups on 54 tours of Israel.

After her death at age 85, ADL’s Abe Foxman summed up Sister Rose Thering’s life: “She changed the course of history. She was a woman of valor who brought enlightenment, honor, scholarship, and pure passion to remembering and teaching about the Holocaust, to battling the demon of anti-Semitism and to challenging the ignorance and prejudice and the teaching of contempt for Jews.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sister Rose Thering: Sister Rose’s Passion”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Iran's Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Discernment Council.
Iran’s Rafsanjani Reiterates ‘Israel Will Be Wiped Off The Map’
Latest Sections Stories
Grieff-070315

In the face of evil, we can do acts of kindness. We can do good deeds.

Teens-Twenties-logo

I realized that I am an integral part of that man who wished to win – I am also a part of a nation; I felt like I was standing there and shouting, “I won.”

Teens-Twenties-logo

As I powerfully belted out the song, Ani Maamin B’emunah Sheleima – which means “I believe in God with full faith” – a thought suddenly crossed my mind.

Ganz-View-From-Window-logo

I do not suggest abandoning civilization for a pristine desert island or a hilltop in Judea or Samaria.

After diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the mid-1800s, Antwerp regained its prominence as the diamond capital of the world.

Search the Internet for innovative barbeque items and you might just be surprised at what you come across.

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

You’re not seeking perfection. You’re seeking a life that an average person can manage and feel good about. Don’t feel pressure to change everything at once.

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

In Culture Shock, readers will also come to identify with a culture from the other end of Orthodox Jewry’s spectrum.

Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Executive Function Disorder (EFD) have trouble keeping themselves organized and on-task.

Our Sages have told us exactly how we should act – and how our children should act – in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers.

A second supposed difficulty actually becomes a reason to corroborate that Amestris is Esther.

I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
Juta Hartman

Her grandsons were eager to reveal their grandmother’s earlier frustration with the unfair, inaccurate narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Belda Kaufman Lindenbaum

The visionary champion of women’s rights in Judaism was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother.

This belief was coupled with the spirit of “Am Yisrael HaShalem” (One United People), in the Ben Yehuda household: to love and help all Jews without distinction.

It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.

In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.

In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/sister-rose-thering-sister-roses-passion/2012/01/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: