Friday, December 3, 2010

First Hand Account of Churchwomen Commemoration Events in El Salvador

Written on December 2, 2010 by Chantal de Alcuaz, this is a firsthand account of the activities SHARE delegates participated in on the 30th Anniversary of the deaths of the 4 US Churchwomen in El Salvador.

The Congregation for Mass
Today, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the four North American Churchwomen, we began by journeying to the place where the bodies of Ita, Maura, Jean and Dorothy were found.  A church and memorial have since been constructed on the site.  As the SHARE delegation neared the site, our three vehicles entered into prayerful silence to consider the life and legacy of the women we came to celebrate.  We gathered, overflowing from the church, with an international community, Maryknoll sisters, fathers, and lay missionaries, Ursuline Sisters, high school delegations from the US, and even family members of Maura Clark, and many more, to pray and celebrate the Eucharist.

The mass was jubilant, thanks in large part to the incredible musicians and singing.  After the mass we gathered at the memorial in front of the church for a short prayer service.

"I've been looking forward to having mass in El Salvador for a long, long time, and to have my very first mass in El Salvador in this most sacred place where the four women perished was beyond my expectations and more than I can take in,"  said Janet McLaughlin, one of the SHARE delegates.

After a delicious lunch at Maya Cafe the delegates traveled to Parque Cuscatlan to view the Monument of Memory and Truth and to listen to Madre Guadalupe Mejia, President of CODEFAM (Commitee for Family Members of the Disappeared).  "Yes, I knew them [the North American Churchwomen]... Their bodies were killed, but their spirits are in each of us... as we continue the struggle," said Madre Guadalupe.
Delegates making rubbings of names

After hearing of Madre Guadalupe's inspiring words of personal struggles and about the struggle to construct the monument we were given roses and made our way to the monument.  Delegates spoke of the courage and bravery of Madre Guadalupe, who's husband was murdered, in her life-long struggle to accompany those who's loved one's have been murdered and disappeared.  Delegates moved slowly down the wall, taking photos, making rubbings of names (many of the churchwomen) and in reflection and prayer.

Its not too late to honor the 4 US Churchwomen: use our celebration guide to plan a small event this weekend or make a donation to SHARE to help us empower the next generation of women in El Salvador. For more updates from SHARE follow us on Twitter @SHAREelsalvador or join our group on Facebook

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