Four months ago, Sister Rose’s passing was mourned around the world. The media coverage and obituaries from Jerusalem to Los Angeles, London to New York, attested to the impact she had upon Jewish-Christian relations. On September 13, Seton Hall University and many prominent members of the Catholic and Jewish communities will celebrate Sister Rose’s legacy with a memorial service at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
“We felt it very important to pay proper homage to Sister Rose, and the Basilica is the most appropriate place,” explained Luna Kaufman, chairman of the board of the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall.
Monsignor John Gilchrist, chair of the Newark Archdiocesan Commission for Interreligious Affairs, will welcome participants. Additional speakers offering personal reflections include Monsignor Robert Sheeran, president of Seton Hall University, Rabbi Irving Greenberg, president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, and Mrs. Blu Greenberg, Abraham Foxman, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Paul Winkler, executive director of the New Jersey Commission for Holocaust Education. Theodore Bikel, the noted actor, will send a written message to be read aloud. The Cathedral Choir will perform several musical selections, and Cantor Daniel Neiden will chant Kaddish. Several of Sister Rose’s family members will be in attendance, as will several representatives of her convent in Racine, Wisconsin. Governor Jon Corzine, Eugene Fisher, Secretariat to the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, and a representative from the Counsel General if Israel are also expected to attend.
“This very special event will mark the beginning of a Year of Remembrance,” adds Kaufman. She refers to the Endowment’s yearlong program of lectures and events — including a discussion of Elie Wiesel’s Night with winners of an Oprah Winfrey Essay Contest and a pilgrimage to Yad Vashem in Israel — all of which reflect Sister Rose’s values.
Sister Rose Thering, a native of Plain, Wisconsin, entered the Dominican Order at 16. After final vows, she taught in several Wisconsin schools, then did graduate work at Dominican College in Racine, Wisconsin before entering a doctoral program at St. Louis University. Her dissertation was devoted to the Catholic Church’s teachings about Jews and other religions. Her doctoral research culminated in 1961 with an examination of how Catholic teaching materials dealt with ethnic groups and other faiths, primarily Jews and Judaism. Her research contributed to the deliberations during Vatican II before the issuance of the Vatican document Nostra Aetate (1965), a declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions. Sister Rose spent more than 40 years at Seton Hall University – teaching, speaking, developing programs, and shepherding groups of religious and lay people to the Holy Land (where she traveled more than 54 times).
Seton Hall University established the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies in 1992. The Endowment builds on the inter-faith education work of Sister Rose by providing scholarship assistance for teachers in graduate-level Jewish-Christian and Holocaust Studies, developing curriculum resources and presenting workshops for teachers in public, private and parochial schools. School teachers are an important audience for the Endowment because in addition to New Jersey, only four other states – New York, Illinois, California and Florida – have mandates to teach about the Holocaust, though several other states officially recommend Holocaust education. Of the five, New Jersey is the only one requiring Holocaust or genocide education at all grade levels. More than 350 teachers and an estimated 150,000 students throughout New Jersey have benefited from the Endowment since its inception.
A Celebration of the Life of Sister Rose Thering
Wednesday September 13, 2006
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street
Newark, New Jersey
The event is free and open to the public, with secure parking. For more information call (973) 761-9006.
Reserved priority parking is available for the news media. Media are advised to RSVP to Catherine Memory, director of media relations, (973) 378-2650.