Remembering the martyred sisters

LOCAL MARTYRS–Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra, Kathleen McGuire, Shirley Kolmer, Mary Joel Kolmer and Agnes Mueller are pictured in a drawing commissioned by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. These five sisters were killed 25 years ago this month while serving as missionaries in Liberia.

Twenty-five years ago this month, five Adorers of the Blood of Christ serving as missionaries in Liberia were killed in that west African nation’s long civil war.

Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra, ASC and Mary Joel Kolmer, ASC were ambushed while attempting to drive an employee to the safety of his home on Oct. 20, 1992. Three days later, on Oct. 23, 1992, the three remaining Adorers serving in Liberia at that time – ASC Sisters Shirley Kolmer, Agnes Mueller and Kathleen McGuire — were ordered out of their home and killed by rebel forces. All of the women were from southern Illinois.

In the fog of war and chaos at the time, word of their deaths did not reach the Adorers’ province in Ruma, until Oct. 31.

No one has ever been brought to justice for the crimes of the sisters’ killings, and the Adorers have not pursued any investigation or prosecution.

This month, the Adorers will mark the 25th anniversary of this defining moment in the life of their community with commemorative events at their centers (former motherhouses) in Ruma; Wichita, Kansas; and Columbia, Pennsylvania.

Invited guests will attend a welcome, prayer service and program in honor of the five women – proclaimed Martyrs of Charity by Pope John Paul II – and view a new mini documentary on their lives and legacy by filmmaker Bill Streeter of Hydraulic Pictures in St. Louis. The 22 minute film may be viewed at this link:

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.