Dorothy Kazel

Dorothy Kazel

“The light shines on in the darkness; the darkness cannot overcome it.”

Forty years ago, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and three other American women — Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford of New York and lay missionary Jean Donovan of Cleveland — were abducted, raped, and murdered in El Salvador for aiding Salvadorans who had fled their homes in the midst of civil war. Raised in Ohio, Kazel entered the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland and after teaching in area schools, she joined a Cleveland missionary team in El Salvador in 1974. When civil war broke out, Kazel defied death threats to tend to war refugees. She had already worked in a women's prison and with the poor and critically ill in the United States. Kazel drove trucks -- known as "the rescue squad" -- into the guerilla-held mountains to seek out refugees and bring them back to the safety of refugee camps. She had strong solidarity with the Salvadoran people and wanted to help them achieve dignity and liberation. Through her example, we can stand today for justice and equality for all people, serving the poor and refugees, just as she did.

Commissioned by Fr. Peter Soohyun Bang

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