Keep the Sisters’ Legacy Alive

Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change

About the Film

A group of American nuns, including Avila’s founders the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, defied authority and marched on Selma, Alabama in 1965 in support of voting rights for all. Inspired by the movement created by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., these women spoke on behalf of the silenced when many church leaders were reluctant to address the treatment of blacks in the United States.

The PBS documentary, Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change, is a powerful retelling of the nuns’ courage and dedication in serving the dear neighbor. It has become an invaluable resource in educating future generations about the sacrifice and triumphs of these women and their contribution to social justice work in American society. We need to ensure it continues to be shared across the globe.

Help is needed

In order to permanently purchase the rights to the Sisters of Selma video content, we need to raise $75,000.

Featured prominently in the documentary is contemporary footage of the Selma marches which had to be licensed from several news networks and must be renewed in 2021. Avila University seeks to purchase the licensing rights in order to make this documentary available in perpetuity. In light of the growing calls for racial accountability and reckoning within the the Catholic church and in all aspects of American life, Sisters of Selma is needed more than ever.

Your Support will:
  • Ensure ongoing access to stream the film for students, teachers, scholars, and the general public
  • Document the role of the Catholic sisters’ participation in social justice work and Catholic Social Teaching
  • Create a digital humanities project entitled Catholic Sisters and Social Justice since Vatican II and interactive educational website


“Sr. Antona Ebo’s 93 years of struggle, activism and inspiration is among the most impactful civil rights narratives you don’t know. This documentary tells the powerful beginning of her life long story as she first strides across the world stage always being the right person, at the right time, in the right place.” – PHILIP DEITCH, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, AND SR. ANTONA BIOGRAPHER

“Sisters of Selma is a critically important film for all Americans… and, in fact, for all worldwide citizens. It demonstrates the absolutely intrinsic centrality of social justice and human rights to the very nature of being human.” – DR. EDWARD GABRIELE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SEMPER VI FOUNDATION

“I can’t imagine teaching without Sisters of Selma. I use it in the U.S. Catholic Experience course to show students the continuity and power of American sisters’ influence in helping to shape American culture, I use it in the African American Religious Experience course to show the complex religious relationships that animated the work of the civil rights movement, and I use it to show the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in action. It works beautifully in all of these settings.” – PROFESSOR CECILIA MOORE, UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON

“For us, the filmmakers, the most gratifying part was that people trusted a Hindu raised in India and her Midwestern husband from a Baptist-Methodist family to tell this story.” – JAYASRI HART AND WILLIAM HART, PRODUCERS


Carol Coburn, Ph.D. , Professor Emerita Religious Studies, Director of the CSJ Center for Heritage
P: 816-501-3713 / E:

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