Today we shared a "Liturgy for Four Women Martyrs" prepared by Joann Lamb for our Advent gathering of Women-Church in Claremont.
More than twenty of us gathered to listen to these women's words and to pray for a rebirth of justice in our world.
Pat Hynds spoke about knowing Maura Clark and Jean Donovan in 1980 when she was in training with Maryknoll before going to serve in Nicaragua (after raising four children).
She was at Maryknoll on December 3 when there were rumors that some women were missing in El Salvador, last seen Dec. 2 while driving to the airport.
The women had been raped and murdered by National Guardsmen, their bodies left on the side of the road. Nearby peasants were told to bury the remains, but one also told his priest.
A few days later the bodies were exhumed and identified.
"Carter was president," Pat said. "Right away he cut off aid to the Salvadoran government, but pressure was put on him and the US aid started again."
US Ambassador to the UN Jean Kirkpatrick said the victims were "not just nuns but activists," implying that their activism had caused their deaths, Pat said.
In 1981 Secretary of State Alexander Haig said that the nuns were not murdered but "caught in crossfire." Thus the US covered up the horror of the attack and any responsibility for it.
Five lower-ranking National Guardsmen were convicted and punished for the crimes. The higher-up men who ordered it were never held accountable.
"This was my baptism of fire into US foreign policy," Pat explained. "The beginning of my coming to terms with what US foreign policy is capable of doing and denying... and so many of these things haven't changed today."
We remembered in prayer:
Ita, Maura, Jean, and Dorothy
Sr. Dorothy Stain, who died in Brazil
the women of Juarez, Mexico
the women of the Congo
the women of Afghanistan
all women priests
women of the US Congress who can work to change US foreign policy.