Pope Remembers 40th Anniversary (C) Vatican Media

El Salvador: Pope Remembers Women Missionaries Killed During the Civil War

On 40th Anniversary of Their Deaths

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 By Gabriel Sales Trigueroa

During the General Audience held today, December 2, 2020, in the Library of the Apostolic Vatican Palace, Pope Francis remembered the 40th anniversary of the death of four North American women missionaries killed in El Salvador.

The Holy Father recalled that in 1980, Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Maryknoll nuns of the Society of Apostolic Life, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and volunteer Jean Donovan, were “kidnapped, raped and killed by a paramilitary group.”

And they did so, while they were serving El Salvador, taking food and medicines to the displaced and the poor in the context of the Civil War, with “evangelical commitment and taking great risks,” he said. These women “lived their faith with great generosity” and they “are an example to all to become faithful missionary disciples,” he concluded.

Remembrance of Their Death

 As published on Maryknoll’s Website, today is the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Sisters in El Salvador, buried in a shallow grave. Remembered also on this day are the 70,000 Salvadorians that died during that nation’s Civil War.

“In the measure that we come close to the vision and hope of these women, our life and our faith are renewed. The inescapable challenge of their lives and deaths calls us to compassion and solidarity with the poor. They were not blind to evil and sin in our world, or naive about its causes. The heart of their faith was centered on the sanctity of human life. Their wisdom flowed from the Person, the message, the life, the Death and the Resurrection of Jesus,” reads the site.

Today, “four decades later, the rawness of the life and death of these women calls us to open our lives to the ultimate challenge of the Gospel. “We must find inspiration in the tragedy . . . we hope and pray that what we have learned through these martyrs’ sacrifices may touch your lives forever,” states the text.

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