'The women won’t let us go'
Nov. 30, 2010
By Cheryl Wittenauer
Isabel Legarda was only 8 years old when the abduction, rape and shooting death of four American churchwomen 30 years ago in El Salvador drew the world’s attention to the tiny Central American country, raised questions about U.S. support for rightist forces there, and inspired a movement of religious activism.
|On Dec. 4, 1980, three Maryknoll sisters pray |
beside the bodies of the four American
Catholic women who were kidnapped and
slain two days before in El Salvador. (AP
Legarda has assembled a multiethnic and ecumenical mix of artists to perform next month in Boston the New England premiere of “Missionaries,” award-winning composer Elizabeth Swados’ choral drama based on the women’s letters, journals, lives and work.
Swados’ latest work, “Resilient Souls,” which premieres next month in New York, explores how people were affected by the women’s death, and how it changed their own commitment to the poor.
“This story doesn’t just resonate with Catholics,” said Legarda, whose “Missionaries” cast and crew include a pagan, an atheist, a Jew, a Unitarian and Protestants. She said she wanted a “village of people” to tell a story with universal meaning -- that the women sacrificed everything for their faithfulness to El Salvador’s poor in the early, brutal days of its as-yet-undeclared civil war.
“We still have situations that demand people’s commitment to justice, whether in Sudan or Burma or the Philippines,” Legarda said. “There’s a tinderbox everywhere that requires people to give of themselves, to give everything for love"
Pilgrims still flock to El Salvador... Continue to the rest of the story