As many of you are aware, the Thirtieth Anniversary of the deaths of the Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donavan is this December 2. When many of us first heard the news of their deaths, we realized that that event was somehow going to change things for us. And it did. It mobilized us in ways that we did not expect. Many of us did not know the women personally but that didn’t seem to matter. When women who were working with the poor were murdered, we needed to say, “No more!” For many of us an attitude, a decision or change in our lives happened.
This past week Chris Morrison, Mary Dowd, OSU, and I met with Elizabeth Swados to talk about possibilities for an anniversary celebration. Mary and I had worked with Liz to spread the good news about “Missionaries,” a musical piece written by Liz about the events in El Salvador. When the Maura Clarke – Ita Ford Center, in Bushwick, was celebrating its tenth anniversary, Liz wrote a second piece called “Ten Years of Hope”.
At the meeting, Elizabeth reminded us that at the end of Missionaries, there is a song that says, “And flowers will grow and flowers will grow….” In reflecting on that, I thought that it could be the starting point for us. What have been the “flowers” that have resulted from what we have learned and experienced over these years? How have their deaths affected us? Have we made any choices that have made a difference in our lives? How can this be reflected in music so that a sense of new life can be revealed?
Liz would love to hear these stories while she is writing the piece so that the music reflects a message of hope, joy and determination. I was thinking that we might create a garden or a field filled with these stories, these flowers. Who knows what might come out of what is written.
I have established a new e-mail address for this project – Thefourwomen@gmail.com. I invite you to contribute your ideas or stories, so that Liz can, in a sense, bring the full story up to date.
Thank you very much. Hope to hear from you.
Mary Burns, SC
Founder of the Maura Clarke – Ita Ford Center