Catholics played a prominent role in Selma, much more than in previous civil rights demonstrations. Never before had Catholic activists turned out in such large numbers. Now, on the 50th anniversaries of Bloody Sunday and the Selma-to-Montgomery march, it is fitting to honor those who participated in these historic events in March 1965.
Early in 1965, Edmundite Fr. Maurice Ouellet, pastor of St. Elizabeth's African-American mission in Selma, answered a knock at his door. He was surprised to see King standing on the front step.
"The Negro people tell me there is one white man in Selma who is black," King said by way of introduction, "and I want to meet him."
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the three Civil Rights Marches from Selma to Montgomery.
The courage of the marchers, the attack on them by Alabama State Troopers, and the subsequent national outcry, helped ensure passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson.
This Sunday, March 8, at 12:00 CDT, Edmundite Missions will celebrate and honor this historic event with a special brunch at our Center of Hope. In addition to celebrating the 50th Anniversary, the Mission will also award its cherished Gaudiem Et Spes Award to Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, and posthumously to Charles Vatterott.
The Edmundite Missions were founded by Father Frank Casey, S.S.E., who gave us our motto: “Do the best we can, with what little we have, to serve those most in need.”