Friday, December 2, 2011
Sister Dorothy Kazel was born in Cleveland in 1939. From the time she entered the Ursuline Sisters in 1960 she reached out to disadvantaged and marginalized populations as a teacher to hearing impaired children. Papago Indians, and troubled girls.
Dorothy began her service in El Salvador in 1974, traveling to remote villages to develop lay leadership, teach reading and writing and nutrition. She once said of El Salvador, "This is a country writhing in pain - a country that daily faces the loss of so many of its people - and yet a country that is waiting, hoping, yearning for peace". After El Salvador's civil war broke out in 1977 Dorothy gave support and counsel to people whose loved ones had been butchered by death squads and whose villages had been destroyed. "I am committed to the persecuted Church here," Dorothy said.
Other church workers made similar commitments, including Maryknoll sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, and lay missionary Jean Donovan, who refused to return to the safety of the United States despite the dangers they faced as they worked with refugees of the war.
On December 2, 1980, Sisters Dorothy, Maura, and Ita, and Jean Donovan (who was only twenty-seven) were abducted, interrogated, raped, and murdered by five National Guardsmen, then thrown into a shallow grave. Their savage deaths resulted in international investigation into El Salvador's death squads.