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Pope recalls 40th anniversary of slaying of 4 US women in El Salvador

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/02/20

3 sisters and lay missionary were raped and assassinated by paramilitary soldiers.

Forty years ago, on December 2, 1980, two Maryknoll sisters, an Ursuline sister, and a lay woman missionary were killed in El Salvador during the nation’s civil war.  Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, along with Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay missioner Jean Donovan, were killed on a roadside, then buried in a shallow grave, on December 2, 1980. The four women were from the United States.

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The pope mentioned their deaths at the end of the general audience, on this 40th anniversary of their killing.

He said:

Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of four North American missionaries killed in El Salvador: the Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorthy Kazel and the volunteer Jean Donovan. On 2 December 1980, they were kidnapped, raped, and assassinated by a paramilitary group. They were serving in El Salvador within the context of the civil war. With evangelical dedication, and running great risks, they were bringing food and medication to the displaced and were helping poorer families. These women lived their faith with great generosity. They are an example for everyone to become faithful missionary disciples.

Founded in 1912, Maryknoll Sisters is the first US-based congregation of women religious dedicated to foreign mission.


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