We recognize and remember the 40th anniversary of the murder of four Churchwomen in El Salvador: Catholic Sisters Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, and Maura Clarke, and laywoman Jean Donovan. The women served in El Salvador during a time of great political unrest that was fueled by financial support from the United States to the Salvadoran government. On December 2, 1980, the women were abducted and killed by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military for their ministry to those living in poverty. They were targeted because they accompanied refugee families who were victims of the escalating violence and oppression that eventually led to civil war. The people of El Salvador suffered horrific violence during this time, and many religious men and women who stood in solidarity with them, including Saint Oscar Romero, were killed.
To learn more about the Churchwomen and their courageous story, we interview Ursuline sisters of Cleveland Sr. Martha Owen and Sr. Rose Elizabeth Terrell. In honoring the Churchwomens' legacy, we discuss their lives, their connection to Cleveland, Ohio, and the ongoing work for justice and nonviolence they inspired.
Sr. Martha Owen, OSU, was mission partners with Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU, beginning their time in El Salvador in 1974 as part of CLAM (Cleveland Latin American Mission Team). They lived and worked together for 5 years in El Salvador.
Sr. Rose Elizabeth Terrell, OSU, began her time in El Salvador about 30 years after the murder of the Churchwomen and worked in community in a rural mountain town. She also provided opportunities for others to visit the site of the murder and to pray in community, carrying on the legacy of the Churchwomen.
1. Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland: We Remember and Recommit - Information on the Churchwomen and additional events around the 40th Anniversary. https://www.ursulinesisters.org/we-remember-and-recommit
2. Roses In December Toolkit - Bios of Sister Dorothy Kazel, OSU, Sister Ita Ford, MM, Sister Maura Clarke, MM, and Jean Donovan and resources on the conflict in El Salvador. https://bit.ly/2L1IzjL
3. Audio clip of Dorothy Kazel, OSU from historyspeaks.com. https://historyspeaks.clevelandhistory.org/2016/08/22/sister-dorothy-kazel/