Paul T. Murray, "Seeing Jesus in the Eyes of the Oppressed: Franciscans Working for Peace and Justice" (AAFH, 2022)


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Following World War II, the United States enjoyed unprecedented prosperity as the post-war economy exploded. While Americans pondered affluence, U.S. Franciscans focused on the forgotten members of U.S. society, those who had been left out or left behind. Seeing Jesus in the Eyes of the Oppressed tells the story of eight Franciscans and their communities who struggled to create a more just and equitable society.

Through eight mini-biographies, Paul T. Murray, professor emeritus at Siena College, explores Franciscan efforts to establish racial and economic justice and to promote peace and nonviolence: Father Nathaniel Machesky led the battle for civil rights in Greenwood, MS; Sister Antona Ebo was one of two African American Sisters at the Selma march; Brother Booker Ashe worked for interracial justice and Black pride in Milwaukee; Sister Thea Bowman celebrated Black gifts to the U.S. Church and worked toward an expression of the faith that was "authentically Black and truly Catholic;" Father Alan McCoy pushed his community and the Church in the United States to greater engagement with Social Justice; Sister Pat Drydyk worked with Cesar Chavez for justice for the farmworkers; Father Joseph Nangle brought solidarity with Latin America to the fore in the U.S. Church, and Father Louis Vitale used civil disobedience to oppose nuclear proliferation, while serving the poor and homeless. In all, the book emphasizes the passion and struggle of Franciscans in the United States to create a more just world within society and within the Church.

Allison Isidore is an Instructor of Record for the Religious Studies department at the University of Alabama. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church’s response to racism and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. Allison is also a Video Editor for The Religious Studies Project, producing videos for the podcast and marketing team. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1.

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