Dorothy Briggs, OP
Founder of For Whom the Bell Tolls
ST. CATHERINE, KY -- Many people are familiar with the phrase "For
whom does the bell toll?," as well as the answer, "It
tolls for thee." In the case of this campaign, the bells do
toll for thee and for every person who is executed in this country.
Whom the Bell Tolls (FWBT) is a national initiative
of religious organizations throughout the country who toll their
bells whenever there is an execution.
Sister Dorothy Briggs, OP, (Kentucky), the founding force behind
this movement. died September 12, 2006 Sr. Dot was born on September
2, 1923, in Medford, MA. and entered the St. Catharine Community
on September 4, 1947. She was professed as Sister Louis Mary on
March 7, 1949.
for several years and studying art at the Pius XII Institute in
Florence, Italy, in 1978, she asked if she could be an artist
for ten years. Her request was granted. However, during these
years she added several new dimensions to her life by working
in prison ministry and social justice issues. Through the friendship
she formed with a Walpole prisoner who sawed wood for her canvases,
Dot became involved in prison ministry. She founded the Massachusetts
chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE),
a national prison reform group, and she was active in a campaign
to reduce the telephone fees charged to the relatives of prisoners.
But what she will best be remembered for is the
national ecumenical campaign For Whom the Bells Toll
that urges churches and other places of worship to toll their
bells for two minutes at 6 p.m., on the day of an execution anywhere
in the country. She organized this campaign from her kitchen table,
asking her religious community to cover the cost of the stamps.
In 2004 Sr. Dorothy retired from her FWBT work
and moved to the Motherhouse at St. Catharine, Kentucky. She said
she wanted to go to St. Catharine’s “to paint, to
pray and to die.”
Throughout her many and varied careers, Dot amassed
hundreds of friends who loved her for her humor and intense involvement
with the human race. Once Dot addressed a letter to Mother Teresa
in Bombay, India, by drawing her picture on the envelope because
she did not have her address! Today John Donne’s words can
truly be applied to her, "never cease to know for whom the
bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
For Whom the Bell Tolls has been taken up by CURE
(Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants.) For more information,
visit their website:
Sisters of St. Catherine, Kentucky
Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, is a nation-wide
grass roots organization dedicated to reducing crime through reform
of the criminal justice system.
For Whom the Bells Toll
urges churches and other places of worship
to toll their bells for two minutes at 6 pm, on the day of an execution
anywhere in the country. The project is now organized by