From the NCR Archives: On the line in Selma with a Sister-demonstrator

Sr. Judith Mary: For the 100th time that day I wondered about what I was doing. Were we going to witness God’s hand in Selma? I was convinced I should go. I expected nothing. I wondered. I wondered at the Kansas City airport when we had our first encounter with the photographers and at the St. Louis airport as we read the nation’s reactions to the death of the Rev. Mr. Reeb. I wondered at Atlanta when we were joined by more priests and Sisters, and four knapsack-carrying ministers from Connecticut. I wondered as we flew through clouds over Alabama, and when I glimpsed a long red country road and thought of To Kill a Mockingbird.

From the NCR Archives: Why Sisters?

March 24, 1965 Editorial: Even In The pluperfect North, not everybody is happy about the role played by clergy and religious in the Selma demonstrations. Diocesan papers across the country are getting indignant letters protesting their participation. In the chancery office at Kansas City, Mo., the device that receives and records telephone messages during off hours was jammed with verbal protests after the week end of the great Selma demonstration. For the Sisters, though, there was another kind of criticism. Many people apparently don’t believe that Sisters should be mixed up in things like this, that it isn’t proper for them.

From the NCR Archives: Religious leaders refute orgy charges

May 5, 1965: Charges made in Congress that “degeneracy, drunkenness and sex orgies were the order of the day” for civil rights demonstrators before, during and after the Selma-to-Montgomery march were given the lie this week by religious leaders who spoke as eyewitnesses. Among these was the only Roman Catholic nun who made the march. She is Sister Mary Leoline Sommer, a tall, serene Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary stationed in Kansas City whose Route 80 sunburn has now turned to a tan. She went to Washington Monday on a trip paid for by friends to join eight others in trying to convince Representative William L. Dickinson (R. Ala.) that his charges of immorality were untrue.

From the NCR Archives: Sister Alexine’s story had to be taped

April 7, 1965: A Roman Catholic nun was scheduled to speak at a Methodist religious service by way of a tape recording after a “misunderstanding” halted plans for her personal appearance. The nun, Sister Alexine of the Sisters of St. Joseph, taped an account of her experience as a volunteer nurse at Good Samaritan hospital in Selma, Ala. The recording was to be played during the offertory at the Sunday services at Central Methodist Church in downtown Detroit.