Sister Rose’s Passion is a documentary film on the life of Sister Rose Thering, a life that stood for love of Jews, for fighting prejudice, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. The film won an award at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, a year after it was made. And the heroine of the documentary, Sister Rose Thering herself received more than 80 humanitarian awards. Among them, the Anti-Defamation League’s Cardinal Bea Interfaith Award, was its first prize ever awarded to a woman.
It was in her early childhood that Rose instinctively rejected expressions of anti-Jewish prejudice. Born on Aug. 9, 1920, the sixth of 11 children, she grew up on a Wisconsin farm where Jews were spoken of in whispers, where in her parochial school catechisms and other religious texts portrayed Jews as Christ-killers. Rose, having learned of the stereotypical messages of intolerance early in life, found them truly troubling. She joined the Sisters of St. Dominic at 16, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the Dominican College in Racine in 1953, a master’s degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1957 and a doctorate at St. Louis University four years later. In recognition of her interfaith work, the Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies was established at Seton Hall in 1992; it has given scholarships to 350 teachers for graduate studies on the Holocaust.
Later, as a teacher, she examined the Catholic textbooks of her students critically and was shocked by what she found. She was in her 30’s and had been teaching for some time when she resolved to act against what she saw as a fundamental flaw in church teaching. “I had ordered the most widely used Catholic religious teaching material from high school and grade school,” Sister Rose recalled. “When I began to read, it almost made me ill.” She cited a passage that asked, “Why did the Jews commit the great sin of putting Jesus himself to death?” and another declaring, “The worst deed of the Jewish people was the murder of the Messiah.”
The result of Sister Rose Thering’s indignation was her study of anti-Semitism in Catholic texts and a dissertation for her 1961 doctorate at St. Louis University that propounded the evidence: textbooks and preaching that proliferate calumnies against Jews and Judaism.
In 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the ecumenical council known as Vatican II, he used Sister Rose’s study to draft portions of the historic Vatican document “Nostra Aetate” (“In Our Age”). It was this document that reversed church policy and declared of Jesus’ death “what happened in his passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today.” Her conclusion: “The Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by G-d,” is a most significant contradiction to age-old church doctrine.
“They were 15 lines in Latin,” Sister Rose commented later about Nostra Aetate, “but they changed everything.” Indeed, in Catholic texts, in sermons, and in other pronouncements of the church, a new attitude toward Jews was officially adopted and discussions between Catholics and Jews have been elevated to a more respectful plane. At Seton Hall, where she joined the faculty in 1968, Sister Rose established workshops on Judaism for church leaders and teachers, helped write a law mandating the teaching of the Holocaust and genocide in all elementary and high schools in New Jersey, and led student groups on 54 tours of Israel.
After her death at age 85, ADL’s Abe Foxman summed up Sister Rose Thering’s life: “She changed the course of history. She was a woman of valor who brought enlightenment, honor, scholarship, and pure passion to remembering and teaching about the Holocaust, to battling the demon of anti-Semitism and to challenging the ignorance and prejudice and the teaching of contempt for Jews.”
Below are all other entries received for the Children’s Essay Contest.
For quick access, click a name on the table below:
Age 10, Grade 5
Roses make a Girl Smell Good
I love roses. They are very pretty. I love all types of roses. Some roses are thorny. Some roses are very fragrant and many perfumes are made from the oil in roses.
There are over 100 types of roses. Roses form a group of plants that can be shrubs. Stems are often armed with sharp prickles. Roses are mostly in Asia. The leaves are borne alternately on the stem of a rose. The rose hip is the fruit of a rose.
Rose perfumes are made of rose oil and essential oils. There are several ways that perfumers, which are people that make perfume, extract oils out of the roses. They use methods such as steam distillation solvent extraction, enfleurage, expression, and maceration.
Steam distillation uses steam to transform the essential oils into gas that is then liquified. Boiling plants in water works is in this method, too. Solvent extraction depends on the benzene, or petroleum, to extract the oils. Flowers are spread onto greased sheets, which absorbs the oils, while maceration is similar but uses warmed fats to soak up the scents. The fats are then dissolved to leave the essential oils behind. Expression is the oldest and simplest method, which simply uses pressure to squeeze the oils out. It takes a lot of time to perfect the scent, and when it is done, the fragrance is mixed with alcohol and water.
The scent roses give off depends on the rose’s color. Roses with the best scents are dark with thick petals. Red and pink roses usually give off the strongest scents. White and yellow roses smell like lemon and violets. Orange roses smell like fruit and clove. The scents are strongest in early morning. This is when the rose oil is harvested.
The oils in fragrances of roses have been valued since the Romans. Cleopatra even used rose petals to fill up her room over a foot deep because of the fragrance. Even today, roses are very important to fragrance perfumes.
I appreciate roses because the rose oil is in many of the perfumes I use. Roses really do make a girl smell good.
Age 6, Grade 2
“Rose Symbol of Love”
The colors of roses and their symbolism have a big impact on most relationships these days. It goes without saying that roses are one of the best ways to help express the emotion of love. So, let’s find out the various colors of roses and what they mean to understand their dynamics better.
Roses have been the symbol of love and affection since times immemorial. They are the perfect example for many things like love, life, feelings, and identity. They work as metaphors in poems and silent words in love stories. The importance of a rose cannot be left ignored. They cannot be replaced or underrated. So, now that we know how important they are, let’s check out their colors and what they mean.
A red rose is the exhibitor of love and passion. Giving a red rose to someone also stands for honesty and courage, as that is what it takes to express your true feelings to a woman. More so, it stands strongly for passion and desire.
A dark shade of red is used for expressing that the recipient is unconsciously beautiful.
A bouquet of white and red roses stands for unity.
Red and yellow roses together symbolize celebration and happiness.
Giving a person rose buds is a way to express that the receiver is youthful and beautiful.
Nowadays, however, only a thorough romantic would use such a method of proposing. Roses are important in literature and lifestyle. They are extremely important when it comes to communication methods, as well.
Age 10, Grade 5
When I think of roses, I think of those prickly things on the stem, called thorns. Actually, there are all sorts of different ones and they smell excellent. Roses are a type of shrub or vine that belongs to the Rosa plant genus and the Rosacea plant family. Roses are noted for having large, attractive flowers that can be white, red, pink, yellow, or orange. Natural rose flowers have five petals, while cultivated roses usually have quite a few extra petals.
My dad says bush roses grow into a large bush that can reach up to 6 feet tall. Well, that is only one of the types. Climbing roses have long stems that need to attach to a trellis or post. Shrub roses grow vertically and can reach up to 12 feet tall, while ground cover roses grow horizontally over the ground… Old garden roses are those varieties that were cultivated before 1863, and modern day roses are those that were crated after 1867.
Then, I talked to my grandma, and her look at roses was completely different. She thinks they are beautiful, and stand for love and peace. She has them planted in only one spot at her home, under a statue of the Virgin Mary in her front yard. Grandma has a lot of different kinds of flowers, but when the first rose bud starts to open it brings a smile to her face that no one can start to describe. My grandma gets roses from my family every year for her birthday.
I like roses because they smell good and they seem to make people smile when the receive them from someone they like or love. Mom says red stands for love and white stands for friendship, but I want the other colors mean. I am so glad that roses are still around, after all these years. I am also glad for roses, so people can still give them to their loved ones. It feels like roses have been a big part of my life and, my family’s life for generations and generations to come.
Age 11, Grade 5
Roses remind me of love. I see people give their wife, husband, and boyfriend, or girlfriend, etcetera bouquets of roses to show their love or friendship. Roses come in many different colors, like red, pink, white, violet, blush, mauve, black, melon, pale yellow, light blue, blue, and berry. Roses mainly grow on thorny bushes. The reason roses have thorns is to protect the delicate flowers. Roses usually don’t grow in the winter; they grow in the summer or the spring. I love the roses’ sweet fragrance. My favorite types of roses are the blue roses. They can be used for many things. You could use them for decorations, like in weddings or just for the center piece on the table. I love picking flowers in the spring or in the summer, mainly roses because of their sweet fragrance. Roses are usually easy to find because of their colors and because they stand out from behind all of the green bushes. They are special flowers because they symbolize a lot of things, not just love or friendship, but they can show a sign of new life or a life that has just ended. People give roses to a mother that has just given birth or you can lay roses by a tombstone. Roses remind me of a lot of things that I listed and even more. I love roses no matter what color they are. Roses are fun to use. You can use the roses to put in your hair as long as you take out the thorns, or you can sprinkle the petals into a warm bath water to help you relax. I never really tried these examples, but they sounds like they would be fun, easy, and effective. I love giving roses to my mother because the blue rose is her favorite type of rose, too! Even though we don’t have blue roses, I can still pick other colors of roses for her like the red, white, or even the pink. Picking roses can be a fun activity if you make it fun by maybe listening to music or even bring a friend along with you. I love roses more than a lot of things like candy or other sweets. That is everything roses remind me of.
Age 12, Grade 7
Beginning as a seed,
Becoming a beauty indeed.
All around the universe,
A flower so diverse.
Yellow, red, pink, white,
An endless color sight.
Expressing a romance so sweet,
Nothing willing ever defeat.
A mystery within each petal,
Their sentiments are several.
With thorns to protect,
Roses gather respect.
Having stories to say,
Especially on Valentines Day.
Always one of a kind,
Forever on your mind.
Priyanka A. Fayson
Age 6, Grade 2
What’s Your Rose-anality?
Roseville is a town where only roses grow. Roseville smells like nuts and lavender. It’s very colorful – like thousands of crystals. It has the nicest weather. It’s always sunny and warm. It’s the best place for beautiful roses to grow.
The roses went to go to Rosegarden Elementary. They had decorated flowerbeds in the classrooms. Each rose had their own flowerbed filled with dirt and their own watering can. The principal was Mr. Rudy Roseaville. The teacher was Mrs. Rose Roseplot.
Rugosa was a mean rose. She had lots of thorny stems, and liked living far from the other roses. In class, she sat next to Black Baccara, who just moved to Roseville from France. She was born on Valentine’s Day; the best birthday every for a rose! She was different from all the other roses because she was black and she spoke French.
“Hey, weird looking rose, I don’t think you’re cool. I think you are ugly because you’re a black rose,” said Rugosa. Black Baccara did not understand, so she just walked away.
Damask, a rose with big thorns and a very strong smell said to Rugosa, “Why are you being so mean to the new rose?”
Rugosa replied, “I’m not being mean! I’m just telling her about herself!”
Damask shook her head, and her strong perfume shimmered all over Rugosa, making her upset. Rugosa rolled her petals and stomped away.
Bermuda Rose was hiding behind the watering cans and saw what happened. She was a mysterious rose and no one knew where she came from. She thought, “Is this something I should tell Mr. Roseaville?” She was wondering if that would make her a tattlerose.
Grandiflora Rose, a tall rose who did not have a sweet smell, was behind the watering cans, too. She shyly said, “Bermuda, you should tell – that was bullying.”
Later that day, Mrs. Roseplot had a meeting on the rose carpet. She said, “we are all different in our looks, smells, and culture. That’s what makes us unique and the world so pretty. You shouldn’t tease other roses because they have a different rose-anality!”
Afterwards, they played “Guess That Rose” to learn more about each other, and Rugosa won!
Ruben Thomas Flores
Age 8, Grade 3
Why I Love Roses
Because they have my favorite colors: orange, yellow, red, and I like working at the Bidwell Mansion with mama Julie and I like how it is a circle and the circle is my favorite shape and mama Julie has a lot of flowers and roses and mama Julie is kind of a master at roses and flowers and my grandma has two roses and we have tomatoes and lettuce and it is good for bugs, like butterflies and bees, and mama Julie plants mix plants and she plants artichokes, poppies, thelrictrum borage, violets, and forget-me-nots. Plants are very good for nature and are useful for cakes when you get married and it’s useful for t-shirts. Roses are a good thing for our country and for our bugs and insects and it is very good for our world and it is good for the soil and it is good for the summertime and mama Julie plants with boney manure and chicken manure, but manure roses are a good thing, America.
Age 7, Grade 2
Once upon a time when I was little my mommy would take me to rose gardens and see a lot of plants. There were roses and flowers. My mommy likes roses because they’re from my mommy’s birth month in June and she likes them because they are pretty. I like roses because they’re pretty and they’re lovely and gorgeous. My little sister likes roses because they are gorgeous. My daddy likes roses because he thinks they’re beautiful. I even love roses because I have Rose in my name. My name is Taylor Rosemarie Fochs. My favorite food to eat is a lot of things like ice cream, milk, hot dogs, carrots, and cucumbers. I’m from Stark Elementary School.
Age 11, Grade 5
In my opinion, roses are one of my favorite flowers. I was born into a flower loving family. We always have beautiful roses in our gardens. We have had climbing roses, hybrid tea roses, and old fashioned roses. All of these flowers have also stuck me before with their thorns.
Climbing roses are one of my favorite types of roses for one main reason. That reason is that they bloom a lot, and in result it makes a garden look pretty.
Climbing roses might look nice, but hybrid tea roses blow them out of the water when it comes to looks and smell. Hybrid tea roses are my favorite types of roses. In fact, I’m shopping for them right now.
Old fashioned roses are also really cool for one reason. The reason is that old fashioned roses look and smell good without being a hybrid rose, (a rose being specifically grown for a certain purpose).
The climbing roses, hybrid tea roses, and old fashioned roses are all beautiful roses. If I had to choose a favorite, it would be a three way tie. Well, at least that’s what I think. Nobody has the same opinion; well, at least I think so.
Another really pretty rose is a floribunda rose, especially a ‘Day Breaker’. ‘Day Breakers’ are my favorite floribunda because on the outside of it it is pink and on the inside of it is orange. Floribundas are really pretty roses.
Another really awesome rose is the grandiflora rose. Out of all the grandiflora roses, my favorite is the ‘Candelabra’. The ‘Candelabra’ rose is a light orange rose that smells fantastic.
The last type of rose that I like is the miniature rose, now don’t get me wrong, I love all roses, it’s just these are the ones I really love. Anyways, I love miniature roses because they are very easy to grow. If you know what I mean. Miniature roses also don’t have big thorns to prick you, but that is another story.
Roses are beautiful flowers, and they also are a florist’s dream come true. Thank you for reading my essay.
Age 10, Grade 5
Why I love Roses
I love roses! Roses are so beautiful. My favorite colors of roses are the pink and red roses. I love the roses’ scent. they relax me when I smell them. My favorite type of rose is the American Beauty rose.
There are roses everywhere. I love roses. They can be in trees, shrubs, and herbs. Most of the fruits belong to roses. My two favorite things. the rose petals are so smooth and soft. There are 100 species of roses. I love that. Roses can be in perfume, which will make me smell good
Roses are also easy to grow. This will be good so you can plant a lot. Roses can grow tall and fat, which is really cool. It’s really cool that the rose is the National Floral Emblem of the United States, which makes me like it more. The rose is also the state flower selected in Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, and District of Columbia, which is awesome. You know what, George Washington was our first rose breeder. I bet when I get older I will buy a lot of roses. Guess what: over 1,200,000,000 roses were purchased by the U.S. flower buyers. Amazing! The rose is a native to the United States.
About 60% of the roses grown in the U.S. are produced in California. California is so lucky. The most popular rose holidays in the U.S. are Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. Did you know that Columbus discovered America because of a rose? Amazing! Do you know what is cool? In the Middle Ages, it was usual for the wealthy to put rose petals and rose oil in their baths. It’s really cool that the rose was first honored by the U.S. Postal Service in 1978 with its very own stamp.
Guess what! There are 4,000 songs that have been written about roses. Did you know that the rose is called the ‘Queen of the Flowers’? Did you know that the largest rose bud is nearly six feet around? When it is fully bloomed, it has more than 200,000 blossoms.
Age 9, Grade 3
Roses are flowers
and flowers bloom.
Roses are red, yellow, green, blue, and black to white.
Some are big some are small.
Some are high and some are low.
All roses are cool.
Age 11, Grade 5
I love them because they come in so many different colors. They come in red, white, yellow, and lavender. Another reason is there are so many different kinds of roses. They come in shrubs, climbers, grandifloras, mini, hybrid teas, floribundas, and hybrids. I also love them for their sign of peace and love. The roses are one of the prettiest flowers. That is also why I love them. I love them for their two-thousand species of roses. I love the pattern the petals make. One more reason is you can grow or regrow them with others or by yourself. I love them because you can pick them for others. Roses remind me of spring and Easter with Jesus rising from the dead. I love roses so you can sniff them and say spring is finally here.
I love roses because they are my favorite kind of flower and my family’s favorite kind of flower. I love roses and watching them bloom and becoming the flower it is. I love roses because it only takes five petals for it to make the design. I love roses because it is the most plant written about it poetry. Roses are one of the most important religious symbols. I love roses because they are a symbol of many things. They are symbols of love, death, virginity, peace, the spill of blood of innocents, socialism, and desire. I love roses because they are a national flower of four states. The states of Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota, and New York. I love roses because 60% of roses are produced in California.
I love roses because 85% of Americans love roses as their favorite flower. I love roses because four-thousand songs have been about roses. I love roses because it is an artistic image for artists. I love roses because there is one rose in Germany that is one-thousand years old. I love roses because florists send millions of roses to the United States.
Age 11, Grade 5
Grandparents are the people who are always there for you. You can spend the night at their house. They even get you presents when you don’t. But they still love you no matter what.
So, every now and then, you can get some flowers at a nearby flower shop. They deserve more than a picture to remind them of you. It also helps them feel happy about themselves.
If they feel happy about themselves, they will be nicer to you and other people. Then they could laugh more and have more fun with you. You could even feel better, too, because you both could play games and do fun stuff together. And so you won’t be bored and say, “There is nothing to do here.”
Roses could also make your grandparents feel loved and not ignored. Then they will probably not get mad or yell at anyone. And if that happens, it could most likely make it a better time for you and your grandma or grandpa.
Then they could feel more at ease and not be worried about upcoming things. They could also get more work done because they aren’t worried or upset. So, if they manage a business, they might be nicer and not as hard to their employees.
They also might like getting them for decoration in their house. Roses could fin in because they are brightly colored.
Also, some roses smell good, like Hybrid Tea Roses. Hybrid Tea Roses smell like fruit or tea. But, they come from China, so they are rare to find in the United States. Hybrid Tea Roses are white, so they look really beautiful. And they also grow few petals on each flower.
You have to be careful because some roses have thorns. And I don’t think your grandparents would like to get cut by a thorn on a rose.
Roses might remind the of their wedding day and how great it was. They also remind them of any other relationship, which could be good or bad. Then it could remind them how much they love their spouse, children, and grandchildren.
Age 11, Grade 5
A lot of people in my family grow roses. My mom grows a rose bush in our backyard. There are yellow roses on my mom’s rose bush. My grandma grows roses all over her yard. She really loves roses. My other grandparents grow a rose bush by their mailbox. The roses on their rose bush are red. When I grow up, I want to grow roses to keep the family tradition going. When my brother grows up he should grow roses, too.
I love roses because they are pretty. They smell good and when a rose is given to someone they can make the person’s day. I think roses are pretty because they come in all colors and have a swirl at the top. I like roses because they can go with all seasons and occasions. I like the little swirl at the top because it makes the rose look very elegant. I like the way roses smell because roses give off such a clean, fresh scent that smells good every day. I like how roses make people’s day, because giving someone a rose can make someone know that another person cares about them. It can brighten up their whole day. It is funny how such a simple gift can make someone so happy.
I like like that roses are used in different products. When roses are used in body sprays and perfumes, you smell really good. Roses can also be used to make rose jelly. Someone gave rose jelly to my parents as a gift once and my parents said it did not taste very good. They said it tasted like roses smell.
I think roses are given to people the most at Valentine’s Day. I think this is because certain roses are a sign of love and Valentine’s Day is a holiday you tell someone how much you love them. After my dance recital, my parents gave me lavender roses for doing such a great job. The roses smelled really nice and stayed alive for about a week. They looked really pretty sitting on top of the piano. Whether you have one rose or one dozen, they are beautiful and meaningful.
Age 9, Grade 3
Roses, Roses everywhere
Rose petals in the air:
Roses, Roses on the ground
Roses, Roses all around.
Roses, Roses in the sky
Rose petals go dancing by.
Roses can be big and tall
Or they can be short and small.
Roses are pretty indeed
They look nothing like a weed.
Oh how pretty they are at night
It is just quite a sight.
Age 11, Grade 5
Why I love roses
Why I love roses is because they’re pretty. They smell good. I like all colors of roses. My favorite colors are red and blue. I don’t like pink roses.
Sometimes I don’t like roses because they have thorns. Sometimes I don’t like how they smell. Sometimes they are ugly if you don’t water them. Why they have thorns is to keep the animals away.
I wish I had roses in my backyard. My favorite color rose is red. What roses I want in my backyard are all the colors, except pink.
My sister likes white and yellow. My mom likes blue and red. My grandparents like yellow and red. I don’t like the color yellow, but I do on flowers. Sometimes I like yellow roses if they smell good. I don’t like the color orange, but I do on flowers.
The blue roses are the color of the sky. White roses are the color of the clouds. There’s tie die, too! Sometimes roses come up from the ground. Orange is the color of the sunset. Purple is the color of the rainbow. Yellow is the color of the sun.
Lots of them come up in summer. And sometimes spring, too! Sometimes the thorns will hurt. I LOVE purple roses. Some roses match my jeans. Sometimes you can put it on your hat.
You maybe can put the petals in hot water and they drown. I think they do that in Hawaii. I have never been to Hawaii. I’ve never put my feet in water with rose petals. But I guess it makes your feet smell good.
You can even make a necklace if you can get the thorns off. Maybe you can do a bracelet and maybe earrings. But I have rose earrings and a rose necklace. But they’re not real roses.
Age 12, Grade 6
The Woodland Fairies
So there I was, in a place called Woodland. The people there made a lot of stuff out of wood. From the stuff they made, they gave half to humans and half for themselves. They were very nice and playful. They were like humans except for one thing: they were fairies. The fairies liked to have races in their free time. Mostly, they kept themselves busy by harvesting wood. They liked to eat nuts, nuts, and more nuts. They drank water from a nearby stream.
The wood fairies’ leader was “Birch Wood”. Birch Wood organized The Wood and Nut Festival every year. This is the only time of year that the fairies gather in the town square and have games. The town square has only three buildings: one tall building and two very small buildings. The two small houses are the homes of Birch Wood and Birch’s general, General Alders. The fairies at The Wood and Nut Festival like to fly from Birch’s house to the large building where the fairies keep their water, wood, and nuts. Birch announces the beginning of the festival from the top of this building.
The wood fairies’ population was very small. There are about ten wood fairies in all, including Birch and Alders. Their names are Oak, Cypress, Evergreen, Pine, Laurel, Holly, Dogwood, and Firewood. Oak, Cypress, and Firewood gathered the wood. Evergreen, Alders, and Pine gathered the nuts. Holly, Dogwood, and Laurel gathered the sticks for the fires.
The wood fairies were at war with the flower fairies. The flower fairies had ten fairies, also. Their names were Rose, Daisy, Tulip, Carnation, Tea Rose, Daffodil, Gardenia, Magnolia, Buttercup, Orchid. Rose was the leader of the flower fairies. Each fairy had a small garden in which she planted flowers. After the festival, the wood fairies stayed in the town square while Birch and Alders gathered birds to make the flower fairies surrender, for they were terribly frightened of birds. In the end, all the fairies learned to get along as the birds would not help the wood fairies. I enjoyed by time in Woodland and loved seeing the beautiful flowers. My favorite flower is the rose and my favorite fairy was Rose.
Age 10, Grade 5
My First Rose
Long ago, I tried to grow a rose.
I planted the seeds in my little pot.
Longing to see the seedlings,
I watered and watched them each day.
One day, after many weeks, I saw a sprout.
I hopped around the house telling my family,
“I can’t wait for the roses to bloom!”
Time seemed to pass by slowly,
As my young plant grew.
At last, the time has come,
The tiny rose buds blossomed.
Delicate, fragrant, and immaculate,
You have the prettiest petals.
Attracting the bees and the butterflies.
Oh beautiful roses,
It has been four years,
Since I first planted you with care.
You have become a good friend,
Together we have grown.
Light pink roses in my garden,
I will always cherish your presence.