On this day thirty-seven years ago, Salvadoran National Guardsmen abducted, raped, and murdered four American churchwomen: lay missionary Jean Donovan, Maryknoll sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, and Ursuline sister Dorothy Kazel.
A few months before they were killed, Ita Ford wrote a letter to her niece and goddaughter. It contained these lines:
I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you…something worth living for, maybe even worth dying for…something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can’t tell you what it might be — that’s for you to find, to choose, to love. I can just encourage you to start looking, and support you in the search.
Ford, along with Donovan, Clarke and Kazel, found something worth dying for. They knew they could be killed; they must have woken up each day knowing that day could be their last. In another letter, Ford wrote, “I don’t know if it is in spite of, or because of the horror, terror, evil, confusion, lawlessness – but I do know that it is right to be here.”
What gives your life deep meaning? What is worth living for – and dying for?