The Four Martyred Churchwomen

Cemetery in Chalatenango “Chalate,” El Salvador
where Ita Ford and Maura Clarke and buried.

December 2nd was the 30th anniversary of the four American church women martyred in El Salvador. Thirty years ago Sister Dorothy Kazel (Ursuline), Sisters Maura Clarke and Sister Ita Ford (Maryknoll) and Jean Donovan (Maryknoll Lay Missioner) were stopped by National Guardsmen after leaving the international airport south of San Salvador and beaten, raped and murdered.

Sister Ita Ford worked with refugees in the state of Chalatenago while in El Salvador. Her work took her to the village of Guarjila, the home of Fr. Jon Cortina. It was on a river, just outside Guarjila, where she nearly lost her life. A flash flood trapped she and Sister Carla Piette in their car. With the water rising Carla pushed Ita out of the window. Saving Ita was Carla’s last act before the water rose and swept away the vehicle.

The tomb of Maura Clarke and Ita Ford.

Maryknoll religious are traditionally buried where they served.

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