Archive for the ‘Martyrs of Latin America’ Category

Feast of Sts. Cristobal Magallanes Jara and Agustin Caloca Cortes (May 25)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of Mexico (1916-1934)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT CRISTOBAL MAGALLANES JARA (JULY 30, 1869-MAY 25, 1927)

and

SAINT AGUSTIN CALOCA CORTÉS (MAY 6, 1898-MAY 5, 1927)

Mexican Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1927

Alternative feast day (as two of the Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution) = May 21

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I am innocent and I die innocent.  I forgive with all my heart those responsible for my death, and I ask God that the shedding of my blood serves toward the peace of our divided Mexico.

–Saint Cristobal Magallanes Jara, May 25, 1927

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In the aftermath of the fall of the old regime in Mexico, the new, revolutionary government persecuted the Roman Catholic Church, which had supported the previous dictator.  Many innocent people suffered.

St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara was a priest.  He, born in La Sementera, Totatiche, Jalisco, Mexico, on July 30, 1869, grew up on a farm and worked as a shepherd as a youth.  Our saint, once ordained to the priesthood, served in Totatche.  He built up the community in practical ways.  Magallanes Jara helped to found carpentry shops, an electrical plant, schools, catechetical schools, and a Mestizo-Indian agrarian collective.  After the revolutionary government closed the theological seminaries, our saint opened a covert seminary.  It was the Auxiliary Seminary of Our Lady of Guadalajara.

St. Agustin Caloca Cortés was one of the seminarians.  He, born in Teul, Zecatecas, Mexico, on May 5, 1898, had been a student at Guadalajara until the government closed that seminary.  Magallanes Jara supervised the conclusion of Caloca Cortés’s seminary education.  Caloca Cortés, ordained a priest on August 5, 1923, became the prefect of the Auxilliary Seminary.

Magallanes Jara and Caloca Cortés, as priests, were marked men.  According to the government, they also supported the Cristero Rebellion (1926-1929).  This was a false allegation.  Magallanes Jara, for example, openly opposed violence.  Both priests became prisoners.  Government agents arrested Magallanes Jara on May 21, 1927, when he was en route to celebrate Mass on a farm.  There were no trials, but there were bullets.  Both priests received the crown of martyrdom at Colotitlán, Jalisco, Mexico, on May 25, 1927.

Pope John Paul II formally recognized these two martyrs.  He declared them Venerables then beatified them in 1992.  He canonized them in 2000.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 13, 2020 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARBER LIGHTFOOT, BISHOP OF DURHAM

THE FEAST OF HENRI PERRIN, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC WORKER PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JOHN GLOUCESTER, FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTIN I, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR, 655; AND SAINT MAXIMUS THE CONFESSOR, EASTERN ORTHODOX MONK, ABBOT, AND MARTYR, 662

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROLANDO RIVI, ROMAN CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR, 1945

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Saints Cristobal Magallanes Jara and Agustin Caloca Cortés

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thankgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blesseds Manuel Gomez Gonzalez and Adilo Daronch (May 21)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Brazil

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MANUEL GÓMEZ GONZÁLEZ (MAY 24, 1877-MAY 21, 1924)

Spanish-Brazilian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1924

and

BLESSED ADILO DARONCH (OCTOBER 25, 1908-MAY 21, 1924)

Brazilian Roman Catholic Altar Boy and Martyr, 1924

Political turmoil has been the context of many martyrdoms.  Being stuck between a repressive regime and an equally bad rebellious force has long been a familiar reality for many people.

Blessed Manuel Gómez González was a native of Spain.  He, born in San José de Ribouteme, Pontevedra, on May 29, 1877, grew up on a farm.  Our saint, ordained a priest in 1902, served in his native land until 1904.

Above:  Flag of Portugal, 1830-1910

Image in the Public Domain

González served in Portugal from 1904 to 1913. Between the abolition of the monarchy (1910) and the establishment of a right-wing military dictatorship (1926) the First Portuguese Republic existed.  Politics were unstable, presidents came and went in rapid succession, and the militantly secularist regime persecuted the Roman Catholic Church and harassed priests.

Above:  Flag of Portugal, 1910-Present

Image in the Public Domain

González left persecution and harassment in Portugal behind and arrived in Brazil in 1913.  He served in region of the Brazilian-Uruguayan border, in Soledade (1913-1915) and Nonoai (1915-1924), both in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, to be precise.  Our saint, active in building up his community, helped to decrease homelessness by increasing the supply of housing.

Above:  Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Scanned by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Image Source = Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (1957), 47

Brazil had serious troubles, too.  The country was a republic in name only.  People voted, but the results were foregone conclusions.  Institutionalized, ingrained poverty fueled rebellious tendencies in segments of the population; armed groups fought over land in the early 1920s.  Finally, in 1930, a right-wing military dictatorship replaced the old regime.  Brazil’s troubles continued.

Blessed Adilo Daronch was one of González’s altar boys in Nonoai.  Daronch, born in Dona Francisca, Cachoeira do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on October 25, 1908, was a son of Italian immigrants Pietro Daronch (murdered in 1923) and Giuditta Segabinazzi (died in 1932).  Our young saint accompanied González on visits to chapels.

González and Daronch were on a diocesan mission to chapels in May 1924.  Revolutionaries captured the priest and the altar boy, both of whom they captured, tortured, then shot at Feljâo Mirido, Três Passos, Rio Grande do Sul, on May 21, 1924.  González was 46 years old.  Daronch was 15 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI declared our saints Venerables in 2006.  He beatified them the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 5, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION:  PALM SUNDAY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF ANDRÉ, MAGDA, AND DANIEL TROCMÉ, RIGHTEOUS GENTILES

THE FEAST OF EMILY AYCKBOWM, FOUNDRESS OF THE COMMUNITY OF THE SISTERS OF THE CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIANO DE LA MATA APARICIO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY AND EDUCATOR IN BRAZIL

THE FEAST OF PAULINE SPERRY, MATHETMATICIAN, PHILANTHROPIST, AND ACTIVIST; AND HER BROTHER, WILLARD LEAROYD SPERRY, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, ETHICIST, THEOLOGIAN, AND DEAN OF HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM DERHAM, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND SCIENTIST

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blesseds Manuel Gómez González and Adilo Daronch

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza (March 30)   4 comments

Above:  Flag of Mexico (1916-1934)

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JULIO ALVAREZ MENDOZA (DECEMBER 20, 1866-MARCH 30, 1927)

Mexican Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1927

The suppression and oppression of religion in general and of the Roman Catholic Church, in particular, in Mexico, lasted from 1917 to 1944.  The roots of this policy were pre-revolutionary; the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Mexico had supported dictators.  (That is a recurring pattern around the world and over time.)  The Church was, therefore, politically suspect to the new regime, which had its own dictatorial tendencies.  The Mexican Revolution of 1917 instituted state control of religion.  The Church could not legally teach.  It could not legally comment on or lobby regarding any policy.  Religious orders and foreign clergymen were illegal.  Priests could neither vote nor hold public office.  Priests could not hold public office.  Priests could not legally wear clerical garb outside churches.  Tensions reached a new high during the Cristero War (1926-1929).

In recent decades the Roman Catholic Church has been adding Mexican martyrs (usually priests) from this period to its calendar of saints.

St. Julio Alvarez Mendoza was one of the martyred priests.  He, born on December 20, 1866, was a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1894, served as one place–Mechoacanejo, Jalisco.  He was a dutiful, dedicated parish priest.  Mendoza, not content to restrict his priestly duties to the spaces between church building walls, visited those who refused to attend Mass.  In the 1920s, when government oppression became more severe, our saint went underground.  He celebrated Masses away from the church building, for example.  The Mexican Army averted Mendoza in March 1927; the charge was being a priest.  Our saint, shot to death, received the crown of martyrdom on March 30, 1927.  Soldiers left his corpse amid garbage near the building of the parish church he had served as a shepherd.

Pope John Paul II declared Mendoza a Venerable then beatified him in 1992.  The same Supreme Pontiff canonized our saint in 2000.

Two wrongs do not make a right.  Supporting a dictatorship is wrong.  So is executing priests for being priests.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Saint Julio Alvarez Mendoza

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Blessed Stanley Rother (March 27)   3 comments

Above:  Flag of Guatemala

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED STANLEY FRANCIS ROTHER (MARCH 27, 1935-JULY 28, 1981)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary, and Martyr in Guatemala, 1981

Roman Catholic feast day = July 28

Stanley Rother came to my attention in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).  When I began to take notes, I learned that Pope Francis beatified Rother in 2017.

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies.  I, therefore, determine the feast days here.  Rother’s feast day, on my Ecumenical Calendar is March 27.

Rother overcame academic difficulties and low expectations to become a priest, a missionary, and a martyr.  Our saint, born in Okarche, Oklahoma, on March 27, 1935, was a son of farmers Franz Rother and Gertrude Smith (Rother).  He grew up with three siblings in a Roman Catholic family.  Stanley struggled at Assumption Seminary, San Antonio, Texas; he spent six years there and did not graduate.  He did, however, graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, in 1963.  The 28-year-old joined the ranks of priests on May 25, 1963.  He served in parishes and missions in Oklahoma through 1968.

Rother became a missionary to Guatemala in 1968.  This was his request and his life’s greatest work.  The priest ministered to the Tz’utujil people; his base of operations was Santiago Atitlan.  Our saint mastered the Spanish and Tz’utujil languages, preached and celebrated Mass in Tz’utujil, founded a hospital, and taught mathematics and language via a local radio station.  Rother was a conscientious, dutiful, and dedicated shepherd of his flock.

The Cold War provided the context for Rother’s work and fate, and distorted U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.  In 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) manufactured a coup and overthrew the popular, democratically-elected left-wing government that sought to prevent the United Fruit Company from continuing to exploit impoverished Guatemalans.  The C.I.A. replaced that government with a brutal military dictatorship.  The Guatemalan Civil War lasted from 1960 to 1996.  Government death squads supposedly targeted left-wing rebels, but really targeted innocent civilians, often at random.  Roman Catholic priests who spoke out on behalf of their poor, oppressed parishioners often became targets of Guatemalan Army death squads, which frequently operated with the support of the U.S. Government, especially in the 1980s, during the Reagan Administration.  The army death squads were not communists, at least.

Guatemalan oppression became worse in 1980 and 1981.  Forces destroyed the radio station.  Death squads abducted and murdered catechists and parishioners.  After left-wing guerrillas attacked a unit of the Guatemalan Army in the area of Santiago Atitlan in 1980, death squads killed seventeen random civilians.  Rother also became a target for death squads.  He left Guatemala in January 1981 yet returned to his flock on April 11.  A death squad executed Rother in his rectory on July 28, 1981.  He was one of ten priests death squads murdered that year, with the backing of the Reagan Administration.

A Guatemalan appellate court bowed to pressure from the Reagan Administration to overturn the convictions of the murderers.  They were not communists, at least.

What happened to ideals?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 28, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBERT THE GREAT AND HIS PUPIL, SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIANS

THE FEAST OF DANIEL J. SIMUNDSON, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF HENRY AUGUSTUS COLLINS, ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH BARNBY, ANGLICAN CHURCH MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SOMERSET CORRY LOWRY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, who gave to your servant Blessed Stanley Rother

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 121

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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This is post #1900 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of the Martyrs of El Mozote (December 11)   1 comment

Above:  Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTYRED IN EL MOZOTE, EL SALVADOR, DECEMBER 11 AND 12, 1981

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They did not die.  They are with us, with you, and with all humanity.

–English translation of the inscription on the memorial, El Mozote, El Salvador; quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 541

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The El Salvadoran Civil War started after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero on March 24, 1980, and lasted until 1992.  The U.S. Government supported the repressive El Salvadoran government, which had ordered the murder of Romero, among many others.  The  number of dead civilians during the civil war was about 75,000.  Many Roman Catholic priests, lay people, and religious who advocated for the poor and oppressed were among the targets of official repression; they were allegedly communists.   They were actually following Christian morality.

There were also Protestants in El Salvador.  Many of them became targets of official repression, also.  Some of them lived in the village of El Mozote, about half of which was Protestant.  Many of these Protestants, living in the guerrilla-dominated province of Morazán, vainly attempted to be neutral.  Soon they learned horribly that, as Howard Zinn said,

You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

The population of the village increased because of the influx of refugees.  In December 1981, at the time of the massacre, about 1000 people lived in El Mozote.

Atlacati Batallion, created at the infamous School of the Americas, Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia, U.S.A., was conducting the ironically named Operation Rescue.  They were searching for guerrillas whom they suspected of hiding in El Mozote.  The questioning of villagers on December 10 yielded no information, for no guerrillas were present.  During two days (December 11 and 12), the soldiers brutally murdered all but one inhabitant.  They raped, decapitated, dismembered, et cetera.

The sole survivor was Rufina Amaya (1943-March 6, 2007), who watched as her family died terribly.  She also overheard soldiers discussing the faith of their victims.  Soldiers raped and shot one young girl repeatedly.  She sang until soldiers hacked her neck with machetes.

The massacre at El Mozote was the worst and largest massacre in modern Latin American history.  Rufina told her story.  Many journalists investigated and reported it.  The Reagan Administration and many conservative allies in the private sector downplayed the massacre, criticized the guerrillas instead, and sought to discredit journalists who reported the events of the massacre.

Rufina lived in Honduras from 1985 to 1990 then returned to El Salvador.  She never returned to live in El Mozote, however.  The village, abandoned for years, eventually became an active community again.  Rufina, who became a Roman Catholic lay minister, died on March 6, 2007.  Forensic evidence confirmed her reports, despite what the Reagan Administration, et cetera, claimed.

The blood of the martyrs cries out from the earth and belies the claims of those who defended the government of El Salvador.

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God of the martyrs, the oppressed, the poor, and the downtrodden,

we respond with justifiable moral outrage at accounts of massacres,

such as the one at El Mozote, El Salvador, in 1981.

We also recoil in disgust at the indifference of the United States Government

to that atrocity and to federal support for that brutal regime.

May we translate our anger and disgust into positive action,

demanding that our governments live up to the highest ideals of moral conduct at home and abroad.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jeremiah 17:14-18

Psalm 10

Revelation 6:9-11

Matthew 2:13-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 2, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WASHINGTON GLADDEN, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, HYMN WRITER, AND SOCIAL REFORMER

THE FEAST OF FERDINAND QUINCY BLANCHARD, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HENRY MONTAGU BUTLER, EDUCATOR, SCHOLAR, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JACQUES FERMIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY PRIEST

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Feast of Maura Clarke and Her Companions (December 2)   4 comments

Above:  Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY ELIZABETH CLARKE (JANUARY 3, 1931-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

ITA FORD (APRIL 23, 1940-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

DOROTHY LU KAZEL (JUNE 30, 1939-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

JEAN DONOVAN (APRIL 10, 1953-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

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U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN EL SALVADOR, DECEMBER 2, 1980

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What do you do when even to help the poor, to take care of the orphans, is considered an act of subversion by the government?

–Jean Donovan, December 1, 1980

One becomes a martyr.

These four women served God faithfully, especially among poor people, and followed Jesus to death.  Each one took up her cross and followed Christ.

The Cold War made for morally untenable compromises.  During U.S. presidential administrations of both major parties, the federal government supported brutal military dictatorships that targeted those who worked among the desperately poor.  The rationale for supporting such repressive regimes was that at least they were not communists.  One of these governments ran El Salvador.  Military death squads executed many, who in the name of Christ, worked with the poor, as well as many of those poor civilians, all in the name of fighting communism.

Dorothy Lu Kazel (1939-1980) had been Sister Laurentine of the Ursulline Sisters of Cleveland, Ohio, since 1960.  The native of Cleveland had taught at the Sacred Heart Academy in East Cleveland (starting in 1965) and taught catechism to deaf students at the St. Martin de Porres Center, Glennville, Ohio.  After serving as a missionary to the Papago tribe in Arizona in 1969, Kazel returned to Cleveland and earned her M.A. in counseling (1974).  That year she worked briefly at the Beaumont School for Girls, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  In 1974 she joined a mission of the Diocese of Cleveland to El Salvador.  In that country Kazel, workin with the poor in dangerous circumstances, became “Madre Dorthea.”

Jean Donovan was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in El Salvador.  She, born in Westport, Connecticut, on April 10, 1953, had been a business consultant in Cleveland, Ohio.  Donovan, having earned her M.A. in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University, had gone to work for the firm of Arthur Andersen.  She had also begun to  volunteer with poor people in Cleveland.  The call to serve God in the poor took precedence.  Donovan quit her job, joined the Maryknolls, and trained to become a missionary.  She arrived in El Salvador in July 1979.

Donovan and Kazel worked together in El Salvador.  They were some of those who kept vigil with the casket of St. Oscar Romero (1917-1980) in March 1980.  They witnesses the military attack on the large crowd at his funeral on March 30, 1980.  Hundreds suffered injuries and forty-four died.  Donovan and Kazel knew the risks they took daily, and that each day could be their last.

Donovan was no fool, especially about U.S. military helicopters.  Her father build them for a living.  One day in November 1980, Donovan, 27 years old, riding her motorbike, noticed a U.S. military helicopter following her.  She recognized its name and model.  When Donovan asked the U.S. Ambassador about the helicopter, he denied the presence of any such equipment in the country.

Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were Maryknoll Sisters.

Clarke, born in Queens, New York, New York, on January 13, 1931, was a daughter of Irish immigrants.  She joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1950 and made her vows in 1953.  After graduating from the Maryknoll Teachers College in 1954, she taught at St. Antony’s Parish School, in the Bronx.  Then Clarke spent 1959-1977 working with poor people in Nicaragua.  She spent 1977-1980 in the United States as part of a Maryknoll Sisters World Awareness Team.  She worked mostly on the East Coast.  Our saint returned to Nicaragua in 1980.  There she remained consistently until August.

Ita Ford, born in Brooklyn, New York, New York, on April 23, 1940, joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1961, having graduated from Marymount College.  Failing health forced Ford out of the order in 1964, but she returned seven years later.  She worked as an editor at Sadlier publishers from 1964 to 1971.  She rejoined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1971.  The order sent Ford to Chile in 1973, shortly after the CIA-sponsored coup d’état that over threw the Allende government and installed Augusto Pinochet, who terrorized the civilian population for 18 years.  She left Chile for El Salvador in 1980, shortly after the assassination of Archbishop Romero.  In El Salvador Ford worked with Sister Carol Piette (September 29, 1939-August 23, 1980).  Piette and Ford were escorting a recently released prisoner to his home when they became caught up in a flood.  Piette gave her life to save those of Ford and the former prisoner.

Ford joined with Clarke in Nicaragua later that month.  Ford returned to Chalatango, El Salvador, with Clarke replacing Piette.  Later the women returned to Nicaragua briefly.  They returned to El Salvador on December 2, 1980.  Kazel and Donovan met them at the airport.

Soldiers abducted the women, beat all of them, raped Kazel and Donovan, and shot each woman in the back of her head.

The U.S. Government’s response was inconsistent.  The Carter Administration, set to expire in just over a month, suspended military aid to El Salvador.  Its policy toward brutal governments in El Salvador had been inconsistent, despite Carter’s pronouncements about the importance of human rights in foreign policy.  The Carter Administration had long been aware of the El Salvadoran death squads.  Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom in March 1980 had prompted international outrage.  The Reagan Administration, which did not link human rights to foreign policy in Latin America, restored military assistance and never pressured the government of El Salvador to respect the human rights of its citizens or those of the United States.  At least the government of El Salvador, with its death squads, was fighting communists, right?  The Carter Administration’s hypocrisy and the Reagan Administration’s indifference regarding human rights in Central America were both objectionable, but the former was preferable to the latter.

Clarke reflected,

One cries out, “Lord, how long?  And then too what creeps into my mind is the little fear or big, that when it touches me very personally, will I be faithful?”

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 526

All four women were faithful to the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBAN, FIRST BRITISH MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BIBLICAL AND CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, AND CONTROVERSIALIST; SAINT JOHN FISHER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, CARDINAL, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT THOMAS MORE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, JURIST, THEOLOGIAN, CONTROVERSIALIST, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF GERHARD GIESCHEN, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF YORK, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NOLA

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of the world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 122

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Ignacio Ellacuria and His Companions (November 16)   5 comments

Above:  The Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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FATHER IGNACIO ELLACURÍA (NOVEMBER 9, 1930-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER IGANCIO MARTÍN-BARÓ (NOVEMBER 7, 1942-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER JUAN RAMON MORENO PARDO (AUGUST 29, 1933-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER AMANDO LÓPEZ QUINTANA (1936-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER SEGUNDO MONTES MOZO (MAY 13, 1933-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

FATHER JOAQUIN LÓPEZ Y LÓPEZ (AUGUST 16, 1918-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

JULIA ELBA RAMOS (DIED NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

CELINA MARICET RAMOS (1973-NOVEMBER 16, 1989)

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ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, NOVEMBER 16, 1989

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This is my country and these are my people….The people need to have the church stay with them in these terrible times–the rich as well as the poor.  The rich need to hear from us, just as do the poor.  God’s grace does not leave, so neither can we.

–Father Segundo Montes Mozo, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 500

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These saints come to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Robert Ellsberg, All Saints (1989).  Perhaps Holy Mother Church will formally recognize these martyrs eventually, but I do so today.

In this post I choose to focus on making a few comments and to leave the biographies to a source that provides ample information.  Follow this link for that invaluable information, O reader.

During the El Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992), the U.S.-supported government of El Salvador, as a policy, murdered 75,000 civilians.  The list of martyrs of El Salvador is, of course, lengthy, including Father Rutilio Grande Garcia (1928-1977) and Archbishop Óscar Romero (1917-1980), who died before the civil war, and these eight martyrs, from late in that conflict.  The U.S. government supported that violent government in the context of the Cold War, for the El Salvadoran regime was fighting communist rebels.  However, far-right wing elements within the El Salvadoran military defined “communist” to mean anyone to their left who criticized them.

Six Jesuit priests, living on the campus of the (Jesuit) José Simeon Cañas Central American University, San Salvador, El Salvador, had made themselves thorns in the side of the government, with its policy of murdering civilians.  The priests’ faith required that they speak out against such violence.  In the early hours of November 16, 1989, military personnel murdered the six priests, their housekeeper (Elba Ramos), and her 16-year-old daughter (Celina Ramos).  Ironically, the Ramoses had sought safety from bombings and from violence in the streets; they had hoped to find security with the priests.

These murders backfired on the El Salvadoran government, which initially blamed communist rebels.  International disgust and pressure, including from the U.S. government, led to the negotiated end of the civil war in 1992.

These priests lived their faith.  They lived the incarnation during a civil war.  Their faith led them to martyrdom.  They could have said (and probably did) with Archbishop Helder Camara (1909-1999),

When I feed the poor, they call me saint.  When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.

These Jesuit priests and the Ramoses stood in line with Hebrew prophets, Jesus, two millennia of martyrs, Father Grande, Archbishop Romero, Archbishop Camara, and radical Australian Baptist minister Athol Hill (1937-1992).  All of the above stood with God on the side of justice.

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Loving God, why do the just and innocent suffer?

We read and hear ancient theological answers to that question.

Regardless of the truth of any of those answers, they fail to satisfy.

Hasten the age of your justice, we pray, so that

the meek will inherit the earth,

we will beat our swords into plowshares and learn war no more,

artificial scarcity will cease, and

nobody else will have to suffer or die for the love of one’s neighbors.

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.

Joel 3:9-16

Psalm 70

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 15, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ZACHARY OF ROME, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JAN ADALBERT BALICKI AND LADISLAUS FINDYSZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN POLAND

THE FEAST OF OZORA STEARNS DAVIS, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, THEOLOGIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VETHAPPAN SOLOMON, APOSTLE TO THE NICOBAR ISLANDS

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This is post #1700 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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https://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/proper-for-christian-martyrs/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/proper-for-christian-martyrs/

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