“I’m interested in changing the patterns and practices of society that keep [man] from living in dignity—poverty, discrimination, war, crime, corruption, ignorance and the like. This kind of change can usually be made only by people working together in organizations, teams, movements.”
(Speech to Immaculate Heart Community, Dec. 6, 1969. See Witness to Integrity: The Crisis of the Immaculate Heart Community of California, 269-270)
In 1965 Sister Patrice Underwood, IHM ministered in a parish in San Francisco, California and was asked to join the March to Selma. As Mother General, Anita gave Sister Patrice permission to attend and kept in touch with her throughout the historic struggle. Below is an excerpt from a letter Patrice wrote to the IHM Sisters upon her return from Selma, Alabama.
"I would like to tell you first of all, how I actually was able to go to Selma. A member of the Catholic Inter-Racial Council called me and asked if there was a possibility of a sister joining the group from San Francisco. The plane fare and accommodations would be arranged. I called Reverend Mother [Sister Humiliata] to inform her of the request. I had no idea she would call back in a couple of days and ask if I would like to go to Selma. I was shocked and delighted! However, I certainly felt that there were many sisters who would love to go and who would be able to come back and convey their experiences in a far more reaching way than I ever could. You can be sure that I felt it a great honor to be asked to represent all of you and other religious who would have loved to have been present. I need not tell you how unworthy I felt of this great privilege.
The sisters, parishioners and friends were at the airport to see us off. Before departure the first group who went to Selma returned. They briefed us on conditions and on proper precautions to be taken when we arrive. I was particularly happy to be able to talk with the two Maryknoll Sisters who gave me some idea of what to expect. After receiving a blessing, all present offered prayers for our safety, and sang hymns and freedom songs (yes, right in the airport) and then we were off for Selma. …how often I thought of all of you and wished so much that each of you could have been with me experiencing the great love of these people. It was their love which was the great force we felt in the ghetto."