On December 2, the congregation commemorated the 40th anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs, as 40 is a number symbolic of a completion of a journey. The national event was entitled as 40 Roses in December. However, the congregation decided on the planting of tulip bulbs as a tulip is a sign of deep love and rebirth.
In 1980, five people were martyred. Saint Oscar Romero sacrificed his life while praying—the ultimate sacrifice in the Eucharist. Later in that year, four church women were abiding with the poor during El Salvador’s long-suffering civil war. They were cut down by a military regime which was threatened by the women’s holy witness.
Jean Donovan and Sisters Dorothy Kazel, Ita Ford, and Maura Clarke were honored with a brief biography including their own words. Sister Ellen Carr, who knew Maura personally, shared a reflection.
The memorial concluded on Wednesday, December 9, with the planting of 40 tulip bulbs in the convent garden. Additionally, Sister Rose Sevenich added an especially blessed symbol to this planting—holy ground. Soil from the site of the martyrdom in El Salvador will nourish the bulbs, and bless this memorial.