For our September episode, we are joined by Sr. Sheila Marie Tobbe, an Ursuline Sister of Cleveland and COAR board member, and Mary Stevenson, the Executive Director of COAR and graduate of Beaumont High School, a ministry of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. We talk about the mission and history of COAR and how its connection to Cleveland has lasted for decades. COAR, known as the “Children’s Village”, stands for the Community of St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero and is located in Zaragoza, El Salvador. It was founded in 1980 as an orphanage by a Cleveland Diocese Mission Team priest, Fr. Ken Myers, during El Salvador’s civil war. Today, COAR works with 1,000 students, preK-12th grade and has 50 children in residential foster care. It includes a medical and dental clinic, pharmacy, and trade shops. Our episode shares about the model of care and community COAR has established in El Salvador and in Cleveland.
Sr. Sheila Marie Tobbe, OSU is an Ursuline Sister of Cleveland and serves on the COAR Peace Mission board . She taught at Beaumont High School for 18 years and served on the Administrative Team. She continued her work in religious education at 4 parishes in the Cleveland area. Her ministry extends beyond the classroom as a founding member of the Interreligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia. Sr. Sheila Marie has volunteered on many boards and committees and served as a National Council Member for Pax Christi USA and helped to develop the Anti-racism Team of Pax Christi USA.
Mary Stevenson is the Executive Director of the COAR Peace Mission – the U.S. fundraising and outreach arm of the COAR Children’s Village in Zaragoza, El Salvador. She was a student at Beaumont High School in Cleveland Heights in 1974 when Sr. Dorothy Kazel, OSU, left to begin her five-year assignment on the Cleveland Diocese’s Latin American Mission Team.Mary become Executive Director in 2004.
1. To learn more about COAR and support their work, visit their website at www.coarpeacemission.org or call (440) 943-7615. You can support COAR children through donations, by a service visit, to sponsor a child, or by spreading the word.
2. 4 U.S Catholics Killed in El Salvador - Washington Post article from December 5, 1980
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