Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
December 8, 2020
Today in our monthly celebration of International Women’s Day, we honor the four “Roses in December Martyrs”: Dorothy Kazel, OSU, Maura Clarke, MM, Ita Ford, MM and Jean Donovon. We honored them last week on the 40th Anniversary of their deaths, but we wanted to give a little more detail on each woman today.
All four were murdered in El Salvador by the Salvadoran military on December 2, 1980. They were murdered for their work with the poor of El Salvador. On that awful day, Dorothy and Jean made two trips to the airport to pick up sisters returning from an annual regional assembly. On the second trip, after they picked up Ita and Maura, the four were brutally attacked and murdered.
The Interfaith Peace Project
Dorothy Kazel, OSU
Dorothy Kazel was born on June 30, 1939, in Cleveland Ohio. She joined the Ursulines in 1960. She completed her bachelor’s degree and novitiate in 1965. She then taught for 7 years and did missionary work with the Papago Tribe in Arizona. She completed her master’s degree in counseling in 1974 and joined the Diocese of Cleveland’s mission team in El Salvador. Dorothy was one of 9 members working in three parishes. Her duties there were to train catechists, sacramental preparation programs and to distribute aid and supplies received from the Catholic Relief Services.
During the late 1970s Dorothy was spending lots of her time transporting people to refugee centers, finding food and medical supplies as well as shelters for them. Because they were unable to take the wounded to government hospitals, she would take them to medical clinics.
On December 2, 1980, she was murdered.
Jean Donovon was born on April 10, 1953, in Westport, Connecticut. After receiving her master’s degree in business administration, Jean worked for an accounting firm and volunteered in the Cleveland Diocese Youth Ministry with the poor. It was here that she made the decision to join the Diocesan Mission Project in El Salvador through Maryknoll in New York State.
Jean went to El Salvador in July 1979. She worked with Dorothy Kazel, providing service to refugees of the Salvadoran Civil War and to the poor.
On December 2, 1980, she was murdered.
Ita Ford, MM
Ita Ford was born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 23, 1940. She joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1961. In 1973, she was assigned to Chile during bitter times after the government of Salvador Allende was overthrown. Thousands of people, who were thought to be government opponents were put in prison, killed or vanished. During this time, she lived in Santiago, a poor Shantytown.
In 1980, Ita and her fellow Sister, Carol (Carla) Piette, went to El Salvador right after the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero. In El Salvador they worked with the Emergency Refugee Committee in Chalatenango, working with the homeless and those persecuted by the government that was determined to get rid of any opposition.
Carla and Ita were caught in a flood on August 23, 1980. Carla drowned but Ita was able to escape and make it to the riverbank. After Carla’s death, Sister Maura Clarke, MM, began to work with Ita in Chalatenango. The two traveled to a Maryknoll Sisters five-day regional assembly.
Upon their return, on December 2, they were murdered.
Maura Clarke, MM
Maura Clarke was born on January 13 1931. She lived in Queens New York and joined Maryknoll in 1950. In 1959, she went to Siuna, Nicaragua. Here she taught school and did other pastoral work. She was known by the people as “the angel of our land.” In 1977, Maura returned to the United States for a time to raise funds for her order and the missionary work.
Maura returned for a visit one year after the fall of the Somoza dictatorship in 1980. On August 23, when Sister Carla drowned in El Salvador, Maura decided to go work with Ita in El Salvador.
Four months later she would be murdered.