“Light to the Nations” Prayer Service held for Martyred Women on December 2
Six area sisters, including two Dubuque Franciscans, traveled to El Salvador to mark the 35th anniversary of murdered missionaries
It’s been 35 years since Sisters Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, and their associate Jean Donovan, were brutally murdered by Salvadoran National Guard members. The women had committed their lives to accompanying the children and families who had fallen victim to the escalating violence and oppression that eventually led to the civil war in El Salvador.
To honor their lives and work, Catholic Sisters of the Tri-State Area held a prayer service at the Cathedral of St. Raphael on December 2 in Dubuque.
“If [Sisters Ita, Maura, Dorothy and Jean] were with us tonight, they might be surprised about the attention they are still receiving,” said Sister Carol Besch, OSF, in her reflection at the prayer service. “Likely they considered themselves ordinary women living alongside the Salvadoran people in the midst of poverty and violence. They were called to be faithful to the most vulnerable around them, just as many catechists and lay leaders risked their lives and faced martyrdom as they protected those in need.”
From November 28 to December 5, 2015, six sisters from area congregations, including Dubuque Franciscan Sisters Char Enright and Judy Sinnwell, were part of a delegation of 100 women religious and community leaders who traveled to El Salvador to mark the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of the missionaries. The delegation was sponsored by SHARE El Salvador and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
“I have always admired their courage,” said Sister Charlotte of the four martyred women. “They so wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.”
While in El Salvador, there was a pilgrimage to the martyrdom site of the four churchwomen to hear first-hand testimonies by people who knew them as well as meetings with grassroots movement leaders, human rights defenders, and mothers of the disappeared. The delegation also explored root causes of migration to the U.S. and the current challenges impoverished communities face, including increasing violence.
“I participated in the 1998 delegation, visiting with women and men working for justice, and visiting some of the now sacred sites in that struggle,” said Sister Judy Sinnwell. “Having the opportunity to revisit at this time is significant for me, allowing me to educate myself and others about the reality there, a violent reality, which is one reason for emigration from that country today.”
Sisters Judy Sinnwell and Charlotte Enright are available to speak to groups in the Dubuque area about their experiences in El Salvador. To schedule a presentation, please call Sisters Judy and Charlotte at (563) 583-9786.
BVM Sisters Carolyn Farrell and Paulette Skiba and Dubuque Franciscan Sisters Judy Sinnwell and Charlotte Enright are available to speak to groups in the Dubuque area about their experiences in El Salvador. To schedule a presentation call Carolyn or Paulette at 563- 588-2351 and Judy Sinnwell or Charlotte at 563-583-9786.