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Sisters join hands in El Salvador

Three members of the SSJ-TOSF -- Sisters Alexanne Osinksi, Linda Szocik and Donna Wilhelm -- are in El Salvador as part of a delegation on women's rights issues from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6.

"El Salvador is the most violent country for women in the world," Sr. Donna said, after attending a forum on current women's rights in the war-torn country. "We became aware of the issue of femicide - women being killed simply because they are women." According to statistics, a woman is killed violently every 12 hours in El Salvador.

This issue is now landing closer to home. The lack of opportunities and resources has pushed millions of Salvadorans to the U.S. According to the forum presenters, 68 percent of Salvadorans migrating to the U.S. are women. These women and girls making the journey north are very vulnerable to sexual violence and human trafficking.

The delegation is being held in commemoration of the four U.S. churchwomen assassinated Dec. 2, 1980, in El Salvador. Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clarke, Ita Ford and Jean Donovan were murdered by the Salvadoran military. They dedicated their lives to accompanying children and families victimized by oppression and violence surrounding the country's civil war.

The SHARE Foundation is hosting the 30th Anniversary event. The North American group formed in 1981 to carry on the legacy of the four martyred women by supporting Salvadorans, with an emphasis on women's development and empowerment.

Among other events and sites viewed, the sisters visited the chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered in 1980 and the Divine Providence mural which depicts the El Salvadoran struggle.

The event is co-sponsored by Pax Christi USA and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. For more information on SHARE, visit

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