Liberia Martyrs

Martyrs MandalaIn October 1992, five of our missionary sisters in Liberia were killed by soldiers in the army of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor during a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead.

Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra and Mary Joel Kolmer were killed on Oct. 20 as they drove the convent’s security guard home to a neighboring suburb. They never returned.

Three days later, soldiers shot and killed Sisters Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, and Shirley Kolmer in front of their convent in Gardnersville.

We remember them as fellow sisters radically committed to their ministry. Their lives and martyrdom have left an indelible mark on us.

They are "Martyrs of Charity."

Pope John Paul II

Shirley Kolmer 261

Sister Shirley Kolmer, ASC

“Perhaps we will come to see the day when everyone recognizes that we all inherit the earth and we can allow each person, each people to claim their rightful inheritance.”

Born: Dec. 15, 1930
Date of Religious Profession: July 1, 1947
Ministry: 31 years in the United States as a teacher, university professor, formation director for the former Ruma Province, provincial councilor, and provincial superior of the former Ruma Province; nine years in Liberia (1977-1978; 1984-1992) as a university professor, teacher, and high school principal

Killed: Oct. 23, 1992 outside of the sisters’ residence in Gardnersville, Liberia

 

Mary-Joel-Kolmer0001

Sister Mary Joel Kolmer, ASC

“Making this moment the best we can is the way life goes best, I say! We’ve got to share with our whole body as well as our soul when we do something, and that makes the difference between being alive or dead to something. They are all moments of beauty.”

Born: March 1, 1934
Date of Religious Profession: July 1, 1957
Ministry: 25 years in the United States as an elementary school teacher; 10 years in Liberia (1982-1992) as a teacher and aspirant director

Killed: Oct. 20, 1992 on the road between Gardnersville and Barnersville, Liberia

Kathleen McGuireSm

Sister Kathleen McGuire, ASC

“Ministry can only be the sharing of the gift that was given to me. However and wherever I am, my work, like the Father’s, is to breathe a little life into those I know, help them to come to be a little more fully, a little more freely who they are.”

Born: Dec. 28, 1937
Date of Religious Profession: July 1, 1956
Ministry: 35 years in the United States as a secondary school teacher, assistant high school principal, peace and justice coordinator for the former Ruma Province, sanctuary worker, and campus minister; one year in Liberia working for the rehabilitation of those psychologically scarred by the civil war

Killed: Oct. 23, 1992 outside of the sisters’ residence in Gardnersville, Liberia

Sister Agnes Mueller, ASC

“Once we realize that God’s presence, the face of God, can come through many, many different kinds of people, that because God’s faith is present and God is present in all these people, somehow or another there is a dignity and a respect for all people.”

Born: Nov. 18, 1929
Date of Religious Profession: July 1, 1948

Ministry: 15 years in the United States as a nurse; 24 years in the United States in religious education, as director of apostolic services for the former Ruma Province, as formation and novice director; five years in Liberia in religious education

Killed: Oct. 23, 1992 outside of the sisters’ residence in Gardnersville, Liberia

Barbara Ann Muttra 263

Sister Barbara Ann Muttra, ASC

“War is terrible! Peace. Pray for peace! Ask the Prince of Peace to visit Liberia in a special way for peace, understanding, forgiveness, and a cure for hurt and hatred.”

Date of Birth: March 11, 1923
Date of Religious Profession: July 1, 1943

Ministry: 28 years in the United States as a nurse and trainer of  health-care workers, three years in Vietnam as a refugee worker, 21 years in Liberia (1971-1992) as a nurse and teacher of health-care workers

Killed: Oct. 20, 1992 on the road between Gardnersville and Barnersville, Liberia