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Women Religious Travel to El Salvador for the 35 Anniversary of Martyred U.S. Churchwomen

web thumb el salv martyrs3On November 28, 2015 a delegation of 100 women religious and supporters will travel to El Salvador to mark the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of four U.S. missionaries who were assassinated by the Salvadoran military for their advocacy on behalf of refugees and the poor. Participating in the delegation are four Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, two of their associates, a Sister of Charity of Halifax from Boston, and others from the greater Boston area.   

The delegation is sponsored by SHARE El Salvador and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

After 35 years justice remains to be obtained for the murders of the 4 women and the thousands of Salvadorans killed during t he war. The delegation will include 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 will also explore root causes of migration to the U.S. and the current challenges impoverished communities face, including increasing violence. 

“Ita, Maura, Dorothy, and Jean were our sisters; to this day we remember their service and we honor their sacrifice,” says LC WR President Marcia Allen, CSJ. “It will be a privilege to represent LCWR in a delegation of women religious; to walk the land they walked and to remember yet again the gift they were to the people of El Salvador—the people with whom they shared God’s love.” 

“We want to remember Ita, Maura, Dorothy and Jean alive in the struggle of women,” says SHARE El Salvador Executive Director Jose Artiga. “We carry their spirits forward by supporting women’s vegetable gardens, education for girls, human rig hts advocates, and women running for political office. This delegation is a special opportunity to remind ourselves of the champions who are leading their communities toward a future of justice.”

The delegation will be in El Salvador from November 28 to December 5, 2015.

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Background

Thirty-five years ago on December 2, 1980, Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay volunteer Jean Donovan were martyred in El Salvador where they were living and working with the most vulnerable Salvadoran  communities, especially children orphaned by the violence of the war. 

In the aftermath of their death, hundreds of women religious and lay women volunteered to take their place accompanying the people of El Salvador. Over the last three decades, women religious have stood with the people of El Salvador through war, natural disaster, and social and economic crises. Their congregations continue to provide material aid for the reconstruction of El

Salvador, to support women’s projects around the country, and to fight for immigrant rights throughout the region and in the United States.

SHARE El Salvador: SHARE is a 35-year-old organization which strengthens solidarity with and among the Salvadoran people in El Salvador and the U.S. in the struggle for economic sustainability, justice, and human and civil rights. SHARE’s work includes binational projects and programming in El Salvador and the U.S. guided by core values of: women’s empowerment, citizen participation, leadership development and environmental sustainability. Learn more at www.share-elsalvador.org.

LCWR: The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1400 members, who represent more than 80 percent of the 51,600 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, the conference assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.

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