Sister Rose Thering, a lifelong advocate for improving interfaith relations between Catholics and Jews, died May 5 at the age of 85.
Thering grew up in the largely Catholic town of Plain, Wis., and joined the religious community of the Sisters of St. Dominic at the age of 16. During her doctoral studies at Saint Louis University, she examined how Catholic teaching regards other religious faiths, particularly Judaism. Her research into antisemitism in the church influenced “Nostra Aetate,” the groundbreaking document issued by the Second Vatican Council in 1965. The document formally exculpated the Jewish people in the death of Jesus.
In 1968, Thering started an educational outreach program in Jewish-Christian studies at Seton Hall University, making regular trips to Israel and Europe to spread her message of tolerance and interfaith dialogue. She was a prominent advocate for Holocaust education and remembrance, in addition to serving as a national leader in the campaign to free Soviet Jewry.
The 2004 documentary film “Sister Rose’s Passion” chronicled her fight against antisemitism and was nominated for an Academy Award. Thering was honored with numerous awards from various Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. In 1992, Seton Hall University created the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies.
Thering is survived by two brothers and four sisters.