Tuesday, February 16, 2021


 Latin America has forced a redefinition of who is a martyr. The definition matters — for spiritual, political, and historical reasons. This is the first of a series. It begins with a photo of a flier I found pasted on a wall in rural El Salvador in 2015, thirty-five years after the murder of these women, a sign of veneration.

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The first time I ventured into the countryside of El Salvador in 1983 was to visit the graves of Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, two of the four American churchwomen beaten, raped, and murdered by members of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military.

Their assassinations forty years ago, commemorated recently in prayer services, webinars, and zoomed gatherings around the world, has come to stand for the thousands who gave themselves for faith in a better future for the poor of Central America during the liberation wars of the last century. HERE IS A STORY I RECENTLY WROTE ABOUT THESE WOMEN , about why people think they matter today, and whether they should be called “saints.”