The SHARE Blog

Why the Four US Churchwomen are Important Today

December 15, 2010

On December 5th, St John Francis Regis, a long-time SHARE sister in Kansas City, MO, hosted a prayer service in commemoration of the four US churchwomen killed in El Salvador 30 years ago.  Over 200 people attended a service that included processions, prayers and a powerful reflection by Sr. Mary McGlone. You can read the story about the event on a local newspaper’s website.

Father Tom Holder reflects on the date:I believe there are several reasons why the commemoration is still important today. There is still work to be done and we need to remember the commitment and courage of the four churchwomen to give us strength to do the hard work of justice. We need to make sure the younger generation has a sense of the real history of the region and the ability our country has to influence things, both in good and bad ways. In the Kansas City area, there are growing numbers of Salvadoran immigrants. They are here because they still suffer hardship and persecution. We need to hear the stories so that we can continue to be in solidarity with the people of El Salvador. The four churchwomen teach us the importance of putting a face on the issues. They inspire us by their example and call us to see the people of El Salvador as our brothers and sisters.

Churchwomen Delegation Photo Album is up!

December 9, 2010

The SHARE delegation in front of the church built on the site where the bodies of the 4 Churchwomen were found

Check out our Flickr Album from the delegation here: Have some fantastic photos from the delegation that you want to SHARE. Let us know. Or if you want more updates from SHARE join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter @SHAREelsalvador.

Quotes from the final weekend of the Churchwomen Delegation

December 6, 2010

With the delegation coming to a close, delegates shared many interesting and profound responses to the experience with SHARE. We’ve compiled a few quotes here to provide food for thought to those of you who weren’t able to join us in El Salvador for this memorable occasion. 

Delegates at Archbishop Romero's tomb

The delegation spent the first part of Saturday in San Salvador’s main Cathedral and in the crypt below, which is the final resting place of Archbishop Romero.  After this experience one delegate commented:

“The contrast between the ornateness of the main cathedral and the simplicity with which Romero lived his life was startling and very disturbing.  It makes you question the role of the Catholic Church in the social issue of our times.” -Belinda Monahan, OSB Read More »

A Delegate Reflection

December 5, 2010

A reflection from Patricia Crowley, OSB:

I keep tripping across Dostoyevsky’s quote about our being saved by beauty (if by nothing else). In the midst of present stories of violence, pain, struggle, loss and with memories of fear and anger and suspicion frm my time here in 1990, I feel overwhelmed by peace and hope and the beauty of Salvadoran faces. Life is hard here. Poverty is deep. Yesterday we visited the community of Llano Grande in Tecoluca– a group of 45 families who have claimed a piece of land here and built a home (of cardboard and branches and old tin) with a small garden and washlines and love.

To learn more about how you can visit El Salvador on a SHARE delegation visit our website or email us at For more updates from SHARE follow us on Twitter @SHAREelsalvador or join our group on Facebook.

Delegate Reflection: Mercy Touches Wounds of El Salvadoran People

December 4, 2010

This account was written after the first day of the delegation for the Sisters of Mercy blog by Jean Stokan, a SHARE Board Member and representative of the Institute Justice Team of the Sisters of Mercy.


Mercy Touches Wounds of El Salvadoran People

Written by Jean Stokan, Institute Justice Team
December 02, 2010
Nine members of our Mercy family are traveling to El Salvador Nov. 29-Dec. 6 as part of a 50-person delegation commemorating the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of four U.S. churchwomen who were working with those who are poor and oppressed in that Central American country.  The following is their first blog post from El Salvador:
We started our first full day in El Salvador going to the chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated. On a wall leading up to the chapel is a powerful mural of Romero surrounded by his beloved people.
Some are depicted as under weights of oppression, others are smiling. Romero in holding a child with one hand and the other hand is raised, with a striking blood-red stigmata in the center. His feet as well are imaged with the stigmata.
Read the rest of the account on the Sisters of Mercy blog.

First Hand Account of Churchwomen Commemoration Events in El Salvador

December 3, 2010

Written on December 2, 2010 by Chantal de Alcuaz, this is a firsthand account of the activities SHARE delegates participated in on the 30th Anniversary of the deaths of the 4 US Churchwomen in El Salvador.

The Congregation for Mass

Today, the anniversary of the martyrdom of the four North American Churchwomen, we began by journeying to the place where the bodies of Ita, Maura, Jean and Dorothy were found.  A church and memorial have since been constructed on the site.  As the SHARE delegation neared the site, our three vehicles entered into prayerful silence to consider the life and legacy of the women we came to celebrate. We gathered, overflowing from the church, with an international community, Maryknoll sisters, fathers, and lay missionaries, Ursuline Sisters, high school delegations from the US, and even family members of Maura Clark, and many more, to pray and celebrate the Eucharist. Read More »

Remembering the 4 US Churchwomen

December 2, 2010

“It’s been a very big positive event. For people who have been doing this work for years, it is a great chance to share and remember. All of our groups are involved in this work and the struggle somehow,” said Jose Artiga, SHARE Executive Director, from the event honoring the 4 US Churchwomen at the site where they were killed in El Salvador.

The women, who dedicated their lives to walking with poor and marginalized communities in El Salvador, were killed 30 years ago today on December 2, 1980.

SHARE launches revamped solidarity gift program

Let SHARE help with your holiday shopping! Our solidarity gifts programs makes it easy for you to donate to SHARE and give a gift to a friend or loved one at the same time. All you have to do is choose which SHARE project you want to support and enter the name and email address of the person receiving your gift. We will email a customized letter to your friend or loved one to inform them that a solidarity gift was made in his or her honor.

We just updated our solidarity gift page to include 5 exciting, new projects. Ranging from school supplies to seeds for organic gardens, your donation will help SHARE support the people of El Salvador in their struggle for economic and social justice!
Make your donation to SHARE a solidarity gift today!

Have questions? Contact Meg at or 510-848-8487.

Delegation Day 2: Ballet and La Pequena Comunidad

Delegates joined the Folkloric Ballet in dance

Yesterday delegates visited La Pequena Comunidad, a Christian Base Community  of women religious that has been active since the late 1970s. They have walked with poor and persecuted Salvadoran communities before, during and after the war. It was a busy day of bonding, reflection, and expression through song and dance.

Watching a performance of the Folkloric Ballet was a highlight for the group. Shirley Tung from Pax Christi summed up the ballet performance like this:  “I thought it was just a wonderful experience because I was able to share the spirit of the people that were dancing as well as all the people that were applauding for them. I have six left feet when it comes to dancing, but who cares. It was sharing in their happiness. ” Read More »

Remembering the 4 US Churchwomen: An Article from the National Catholic Reporter

This article was originally published in the National Catholic Reporter on November 30, 2010. It is a well written  commemoration of the 4 US Churchwomen and the impact they have had on generations since their deaths, thirty years ago today on December 2, 1980.

‘The women won’t let us go’

Nov. 30, 2010By Cheryl WittenauerIsabel 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

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