Thirty years ago today, on December 2nd, 1980, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, lay missionary Jean Donovan and Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were brutally raped and murdered while serving the poor in El Salvador by that country's national guard.
The four women were recently commemorated in a new oratorio by composer Elizabeth Swados, called "Resilient Souls". The piece alternates between examining the murders and corruption and celebrating the spirit of each woman and the echo they have left for future generations. “Their generosity and selflessness and the twinkle, the not being so self-important, helps me focus my own beliefs, to not be so self-serious,” Swados said of the women. “They don’t dwell, they just get on with it. That’s a huge thing to learn.” Performances of the oratorio are being held in New York this week to benefit the Maura Clarke-Ita Ford Center which provides education and economic development assistance to women.
More information about the martyred women is available from the Inter Religious Task Force on Central America.