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In September, 1940, five Sisters of St. Joseph left Rochester, NY and traveled by train to Selma, Alabama. Their mission was to partner with the priests of the Society of St. Edmund from Colchester, Vermont, to care for the Black Catholics of central Alabama.
Meeting curious stares, threats from the Ku Klux Klan, and denigration from some of the white populace, the Sisters went about visiting the homes of poor Black residents and, eventually, with the backing of the Edmundites and Catholics in the Rochester area, they built a school, a hospital, a training program for nurses, and a strong bond with the Black community.
The events of March 7, 1965, known in American civil rights history as “Bloody Sunday” involved the Sisters of Selma in ways they could never have imagined, as they became embroiled in the battle for civil rights, tending to the wounds of those marchers who tried to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge to make their petition for equality heard.
The journey of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester from spectators to participants in the struggle for equal rights, their partnering with the Black community and churches, their involvement with grassroots organizations in the South, and heartfelt relationship with the people of Selma and beyond has continued for over eighty years.
This book documents that journey using archival material, interviews, and historical records and tells a hitherto unknown story of the involvement of religious women in Central Alabama.


  • Publisherd: February 11, 2022
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 171 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1953610420
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1953610423
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 0.43 x 9 inches

THE BEST GIRLS IN THE WORLD: A History of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester

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