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Greensboro says goodbye to Sr. Gretchen

GretchenGreensboroSr. Gretchen defies stereotypes.  She has been a fixture for over 21 years but now is heading back home. Fr. Charlie Strollo asked that she be recognized on the Eastern Province website. Here are two local news stories that explain why Charlie asked that she be recognized.

“After 21 years in this city, Sister Gretchen made Greensboro a better place. It reminded me of something one of her friends told me last week when I talked to him about Sister Gretchen. He mentioned the quote from St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words.”

“I hesitate to call you Sister,’’ someone said to her because she travelled to DC to protest the Iraq War and going to an Obama rally at The Depot downtown. Her response? “Don’t be mad,’’ she told me. “Keep a folder.’’

Photo (Jeri Rowe) and story courtesy Greensboro News Record 

Gretchen-Greensboro“Because she was old, a nun and had volunteered to be poor (who in their right mind does that?) some thought she was “holy” or uncritical of the Catholic Church. For those, Sister G’s outspoken liberalism (she had a “Forward!” sticker on her patio door), criticism of all local big churches, and directness was either a shock or dismissed as impolite Yankee talk shielded behind odd appearances.

Photo and story courtesy of YoungProjects” GREENSBORO’S FRIEND OF THE WEAK, OPPRESSED, POOR, MARGINALIZED (Caption beneath the picture…. In full battle dress: Sister Gretchen at United Dashain Festival celebrated by the Nepali and Bhutanese communities at Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center in 2011.

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