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Jean Donovan
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Martyr
    (April 10, 1953-December 2, 1980)
    Born in Westport, Connecticut
    American lay missionary
    Member of the Diocesan Mission Project
    Traveled to El Salvador to do missionary work in La Libertad during the country's civil war (July 1977)
    Brutally murdered along with three Religious Sisters in El Salvador by a military death squad (Dec. 1980)
    Known as 'the Catholic Martyr of El Salvador'
    Main Subject of the 1982 documentary, 'Roses in December'
    She inspired an Oliver Stone movie.
    Historians tend to identify her as a nun when she wasn't one.
    Her death was appropriated for the cause of Marxist macroeconomics.
    Alexander Haig suggested she may have been killed 'running a roadblock.'
    She complained to the American Embassy about being followed by servicemen in helicopters as a cautionary measure.
    Bill O'Reilly repeatedly claimed to have witnessed her and the nuns being killed, but the date of his reporting on the conflict makes this chronologically impossible. When later called on this, he clarified by instead claiming to have meant he 'saw footage' of them being murdered.
    Jeanne Kirkpatrick sparked heated controversy when she told the press 'I don't think the government was responsible. The nuns were not just nuns; the nuns were political activists. We ought to be a little more clear-cut about this than we usually are. They were political activists on behalf of the Frente and somebody who is using violence to oppose the Frente killed them.'
    She was played by Melissa Gilbert.
    The nuns dubbed her 'St. Jean the Playful.'
    She counted St. Francis of Assisi, Father Oscar Romero, and Dorothy Day as among her influences.
    She was inspired by Father Romero to give up a very promising executive career as an accountant and serve the poor as a missionary.
    She helped to bury peasants who were killed by Government death squads, also comforting their distraught loved ones in their grief.
    Her family was charged $3,500 to bring her body back to the US.
    She had several opportunities to leave El Salvador for the US, but she chose not to.
    Her two best friends were assassinated after walking her home from a movie.
    She was almost killed by a bomb thrown into a crowd while attending the assassinated Father Romero's funeral (the bomb ultimately killed 30 mourners).
    Her death sparked a widespread criticism of the United States' cold war policies of embracing brutal dictatorships to control the threat of communism.
    After years of investigations surrounding the joint government cover-up, it was revealed that two of her assassins were living in comfortable retirement in Florida.
    This resulted in the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which targeted accused human rights abusers for deportation, citing the church women's murderers as an example (Dec. 17, 2004).
    When asked about why she would not return to the states, she wrote 'I almost could, except for the children, the poor, bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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