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Modern Day Martyrs

Modern Day Martyrs

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Modern Day Martyrs

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  1. Modern Day Martyrs The Jean Donovan, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Maura Clark Story

  2. El Salvador Missionaries Jean Donovan Sr. Dorothy Kazel

  3. El Salvador Missionaries Sr. Ita Ford Sr. Maura Clark

  4. Come, Follow Me • Each of these brave women gave up their comfortable lives to follow Jesus. • They did what the rich, young ruler could not do. • They gave up their possessions. • They gave up their families. • They gave up their lives.

  5. The Rich Young Ruler Matthew 19:16-26 16 And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life ?" 17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good ? There is only One who is good ; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." 18 Then he said to Him, "Which ones ?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER ; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY ; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL ; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS ; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER ; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." 20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept ; what am I still lacking ?" 21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven ; and come, follow Me." 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving ; for he was one who owned much property. 23 And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved ?" 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

  6. Jean Donovan • Jean Donovan was born on April 10, 1953. • She was raised in upper-middle class Connecticut. • She attended Mary Washington College in Virginia and majored in economics. • At age 20, she studied abroad at the University of the City of Cork in Ireland. • There she met a priest who would change her life, Fr. Michael Crowley.

  7. Growing Pains • She began attending Legion of Mary meetings led by Fr. Crowley. • Each week he encouraged them to help someone in need. • Fr. Crowley spoke passionately about the sufferings of the poor in third world countries and the need to help them with material goods and justice. • Crowley challenged them not to waste their lives, but to become real Christians by serving the poorest of the poor.

  8. Growing Pains • Jean joined the Legion of Mary student group and began serving the sick and poor. • Crowley told the group to “identify with them (poor), feel their insecurity, their rejection, then you begin to understand the world in a new way.” • Slowly, Jean began to realize that she could live without her many possessions, and that through loving service, she could find happiness.

  9. Who do you say that I am? • After graduation and after starting a new job, she decided that her life was not fulfilling and to achieve a deep and internal peace, she needed to change her life. • Despite concern from her family, she decided to join the lay missionary program in El Salvador. • She joined the Cleveland mission team and became a Maryknoll lay missioner in Central America.

  10. Dorothy Kazel • Born June 30, 1939 • Joined the Ursuline Sisters - a teaching order in Cleveland, OH, in 1960. • Before entering, she was engaged to be married but felt called to the religious life. • She postponed her marriage to test her calling and remained with the Ursulines until her death.

  11. Sr. Dorothy’s Commitment to the Poor • Dorothy’s brother, James, said of her decision, “She wanted to work with the people who didn’t have the advantages of the people in the United States. She wanted to spread the Gospel to people who needed help.”

  12. Faith, Hope, and Charity • A friend of Dorothy and Jean states, “They went to El Salvador, a country named after the Savior of the World, to preach the good news to the poor.” • “They trained catechists, assisted in formation of basic Christian communities, and oversaw the distribution of Catholic Relief aid and food supplies.

  13. Faith, Hope, and Charity • “They worked with the refugees: securing food and medical supplies, finding shelters for them, taking the sick and wounded to medical clinics.” • “In the process of these duties, they fell in love with the beauty and warmth of the Salvadoran people.

  14. Jean’s Journey to Solidarity with the Poor • During the 1970s, the Catholic church began to speak out against injustice and oppression. • Priests and church workers pressed for justice for the poor, an end to violence, and for basic human rights of food, shelter, and equal share of land.

  15. Jean’s Journey to Solidarity with the Poor • Jean’s missionary group was based in the town of La Libertad as was Sr. Dorothy Kazel. • At first, Jean found it difficult to adjust to life in rural El Salvador. La Libertad had already suffered some of the worst violence of the time. • Jean found herself living without hot water, without plumbing, without TV, and without various other luxuries that she once took for granted. • After 1 month in El Salvador, Jean wrote to a friend. “I keep getting frustrated and wonder what I am doing here as opposed to being married. Sometimes I’ll think: Oh my God, I’m 26 years old, I should be married.

  16. Blessed are the Poor In Spirit • Jean quickly fell in love with the Salvadoran people. The poor began to teach about love. They shared their lives, their suffering, and their hope. • Jean said, “The poor really strip you, pull you, challenge you, evangelize you, show you God.”

  17. Blessed are the Poor in Spirit • People were being killed everyday, every hour, throughout the country. Their bodies were left on the street. “When you see police here, “ Jean wrote, “you certainly don’t feel they’re gong to protect you. You feel like they’re going to shoot you.” • In April 1980, government death squads killed several young catechists and community leaders, and destroyed the church’s alter and the house of the pastor. In May 1980, hundreds of Salvadoran refugees were brutally murdered as they tried to cross the border between El Salvador and Honduras. • “Things now are so much worse, it’s unbelievable,” Jean wrote to Fr. Crowley in late May 1980. “People are being killed daily. We just found out that three people from our area had been taken, tortured and hacked to death.

  18. Ita Ford • Ita Ford, born April 23, 1940, was a Maryknoll Sister who served as a missionary in Bolivia, Chile, and El Salvador. She worked with the poor and war refugees. • In Chalatenango, where Ita Ford worked, the violence was just as brutal. Jean told Fr. Crowley, “They’ve got bodies lying all over and no one can bury them because they get shot if they try.” • “The nuns got a message to leave in 6 days or they were gong to be killed. People don’t have liberty to do anything. They have to take a side. And it’s very hard to take a particular side. It’s so much harder to fight for your liberty in a nonviolent way than it is with a gun.”

  19. Journey to the Cross • Ita Ford admitted that most of their efforts were aimed simply so they could “keep walking down this dark road without becoming as dark as the situation.” • “You say you don’t want anything to happen to me, “ Ita wrote her sister. “I’d prefer it that way myself, but I don’t see that we have control over the forces of madness, and if you choose to enter into other people’s suffering, or to love others, you at least have to consent in some way to the possible consequences. Actually, what I’ve learned here is that death is not the worst evil. We live with these evils, hate, manipulation, selfishness. We look death in the face everyday. But the cause of the death is evil. That’s what we have to wrestle and fight against.”

  20. Maura Clark • Maryknoll sister, Maura Clark, replaced a sister and co-worker of Ita Ford who was killed in the violence. • Sr. Maura’s friends expressed concern that she was going into the war zones of El Salvador. She was previously assigned to work in Nicaragua. • She told her friends, “If we leave the people when they suffer the cross, how credible is our word to them? The church’s role is to accompany those who suffer the most, and to witness our hope in the resurrection.”

  21. The End Is Only The Beginning… • Jean and Dorothy drove to the airport to pick up Ita and Maura who were returning from a conference in Managua. • The four women were last seen alive leaving the airport. • Two days later, their bodies were discovered in a shallow grave about fifteen miles away from the airport.

  22. Message to the World • Jean, Dorothy, Ita, and Maura were ordinary people who struggled with the harsh realities of the world and decided to do something about them. • When we think of these heroic women, we are struck by the seriousness of their faith, their commitment to the poor, their insistence on justice and peace, and their willingness to give their lives for oppressed people.

  23. Lessons of a Disciple • Jean and the Sisters’ lives is an example of how to accept God’s call to discipleship – giving up all that we have and dying to the flesh. • Identification and solidarity with the poor – the more they let go and the more they connected with suffering people, the greater was their freedom, grace, joy, and hope. In the face of the poor, these women found the face of Jesus. In the faces of the Ecuadoran people, they discovered the presence of the living God. • Internal peace and joy – worldly possessions cannot give us the kind of peace and joy that these missionaries found in helping people.

  24. The meaning of Jean and the sisters’ life and death, as well as other martyrs, is not just in their sacrifice and their witness, but in the call to follow in their footsteps, to enter into the life of the poor and marginalized, to struggle for justice with them, to stand with them, to defend them, to speak out for them, and to become one them. Jesus calls us to walk the road of peace and to become God’s instruments of justice and peace.

  25. Bibliography • Pax Christi USA; www.paxchristiusa.org; JEAN DONOVAN AND THE CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP