A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Shallow Grave

Dear All – I apologize for this post being a day late. I was in Columbus, Georgia working with the defendants who crossed the line at Ft. Benning this past November.

I wanted to share the story of one of the “crossers”, Sr. Diane Pinchot, an Ursuline sister who was in community with Sr. Dorothy Kazel who was killed with others in El Salvador. She said in her statement to the court that she decided to cross to both honor Sr. Dorothy’s memory and to call attention to the fact that over twenty years later the School that trained Sr. Dorothy’s killers is still open.

She shared with the court an art piece she had made to help her process the loss of Sr. Dorothy. It was entitled “Shallow Grave” and was a carving of how the four women’s bodies were found after being raped and murdered. The silence at the end of her explanation was total, in that moment those four women were present again.

It struck me how powerful memory is not just to recall those we have lost but to live into that memory so completely we act on their behalf and from what they have taught us.

Sr. Dorothy was committed to crafting justice in El Salvador, so deeply committed she gave her life rather then give up. The power who took her life thought they had silenced the song that Sr. Dorothy’s life sung . And yet the song continues over twenty years later through a friend and a fellow sister who refuses to believe that the best we can offer is violence, poverty, and silence.

How precious are those who we meet, love, work , live, share with and how mysterious the path that can form from the footprints they leave in our hearts. It is dazzling to think of all the different relationships within the FSPA community and how those different points ripple outward and upward and inward lending love and light to the world as Sr. Dorothy and Sr. Diane have done.

Thank you all for all you do, are, create, and share! To learn more about those who crossed the line at Ft. Benning this year go to www.soaw.org  …Much Peace Liz

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Comments on: "Shallow Grave" (5)

  1. theresa keller said:

    I was struck by this blog Liz, the silence that filled the courtroom continues in your comments.
    thanks for posting
    Theresa

  2. Liz, I am so grateful for your representing FSPA at these things. I am also grateful that so many people, including me, have been able to visit the place in El Salvador where the four women were murdered. Marie Des Jarlais and other members of the GATE staff through over 25 years have been taking their pilgrimage groups to the site. Hopefully all these experiences will help keep our memory of this horrific happening alive and active in our hearts.

  3. Nina Shephard FSPA said:

    Liz, I, too am most grateful for what you do in our (FSPA) name. Having worked in El Salvador, I hold the memory of all those killed in those terrible years after I left, including the 4 women, the Jesuits and housekeepers, and Archbishop Romero, in a very special place in my heart. Sr. Diane’s testimony was very touching. And obviously, others found it so as well.
    Peace and blessings!
    Nina

  4. As always, wonderful, thought-provoking reflection Liz. If anyone wants to learn first-hand the history and reality of life in El Salvador, consider taking a GATE journey. Global Awareness Through Experience (GATE) is a sponsored ministry of FSPA. We have a program to El Salvador from February 27 through March 8 that still has some room left on it. Another scheduled for August 6-16, 2009.

  5. Linda Mershon said:

    Thank you for a moving us all to our heart space with this reflection Liz. As you well know, I am so happy that you are able to do this work for FSPA. Thank you again. Linda

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