In 1980, four Catholic American churchwomen were raped and killed by Salvadoran National Guardsmen during the country's civil war. Recently, Pope Francis cleared the path for sainthood for the Salvadoran archbishop slain that same year, Oscar Romero. Why not do the same for these women, asks Heidi Schlumpf? Pictured here, one of the four: Maryknoll Sister Maura Clarke, a New Yorker who was 49 when she died.
Ita Ford, also a Maryknoll nun, had worked in Chile in the 1970s after the U.S.-backed military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government there. She had just arrived in El Salvador to take up missionary work when she was killed there at 40.
Dorothy Kazel had been engaged to be married before joining the Ursuline Sisters in Cleveland. After becoming a nun, she worked first as a teacher, then joined a mission team in El Salvador in the early 1970s. She was 40 when she was killed.
Jean Marie Donovan, a laywoman, grew up in Connecticut and was working for an accounting firm in Cleveland when a spiritual search led her to missionary work in El Salvador. She was 27 when she was killed.