Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - At the end of today's general audience, Pope Francis recalled the ordeal of four missionaries with the words: "Today is the fortieth anniversary of the death of four North American missionaries killed in El Salvador: the Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, Ursuline Sister Dorthy Kazel and the volunteer Jean Donovan. On 2 December 1980, they were kidnapped, raped and assassinated by a paramilitary group. They were serving in El Salvador within the context of the civil war. With evangelical dedication, and running great risks, they were bringing food and medication to the displaced and were helping poorer families. These women lived their faith with great generosity. They are an example for everyone to become faithful missionary disciples".
Prior to arriving in El Salvador, Sister Ita Ford and Sister Maura Clarke had served missions in Chile and Nicaragua for years, while Sister Dorothy Kazel had been working in that country for some time. The Episcopal Conference of El Salvador announced a Jubilee Year of Martyrs for 2020, 40 years after the martyrdom of St. Oscar Arnulfo Romero (see Fides 28/1/2020), in which he recalled that "the martyrs gave their lives to us to accompany us on our pilgrimage of faith. We want to hear her voice and at the same time make this voice resound". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 2/12/2020)