Area Catholic Sisters invite the public to “Light for the Nations,” a special commemorative prayer service in honor of the 35th anniversary of four martyred church women in El Salvador at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 2, at the Cathedral of St. Raphael, 231 Bluff St. in Dubuque. A social will follow the prayer service in the Cathedral Center.
Because of their work and dedication to the poor, Sisters Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, and Maura Clarke, and their associate Jean Donovan, were brutally murdered by Salvadoran National Guard members 35 years ago on December 2, 1980. Jean and Sisters Dorothy, Ita, and Maura 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.
From November 28 to December 5, 2015, six sisters from area congregations will be part of a delegation of 100 women religious and community leaders who will travel to El Salvador to mark the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of the missionaries. They include Sisters Carolyn Farrell, BVM, and Paulette Skiba, BVM; Dubuque Franciscan Sisters Charlotte Enright, OSF, and Judy Sinnwell, OSF; and Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters Mary Howard Johnstone, OP, and Pam Mitchell, OP. The delegation is sponsored by SHARE El Salvador and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
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
The prayer service on December 2 is the third and final initiative of the area communities to mark the Year of Consecrated Life, which Pope Francis declared to be celebrated from November 30, 2014, to February 2, 2016. Area Catholic Sisters marked the Year of Consecrated Life earlier in the year by hosting an open house at each congregation’s Motherhouse and in recent months, area women religious invited their associates and employees to help prepare and serve meals to those in need as part of a collaborative service project.