Adorers across U.S. Region commemorate deaths of Five Martyrs of Charity


The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, commemorated the 20th anniversary of the deaths of the five Martyrs of Charity in October with a variety of events at the ASC Centers in Columbia, Pa., Ruma, Ill., and Wichita, Kan.

ASC Columbia Center
Saturday, Oct. 20
Events at the Columbia Center took place at St. Anne’s Retirement Community, on the same grounds as the Center, 3954 Columbus Ave.

Scheduled activities included:

  • A meal at the Retirement Community
  • A panel discussion featuring:
    – Martha Wachtel, ASC – Former missionary in Liberia
    – Sister Claire Chabot – Bernardine Franciscan Sisters community
    – Theresa Hicks – Volunteer coordinator for the Society of African Missions

ASC Ruma Center
Sunday, Oct. 21
Events at the Ruma Center included family members of the martyrs, Liberian women who lived with the martyrs in Liberia, other Liberians connected with the Adorers, area religious congregations and clergy, people who assisted the Adorers at the time of the killings, and others. The Ruma Center was decorated with an African theme.

Scheduled activities included:

  • Mass, with reflections by Barbara Jean Franklin, ASC
  • A presentation by U.S. Regional Leader Barbara Hudock, ASC, Raphael Ann Drone, ASC, and Ramona Virgil. The mistress of ceremonies was Elizabeth Kolmer, ASC, sister of Shirley Kolmer, ASC and first cousin of Mary Joel Kolmer, ASC.
  • A PowerPoint presentation, and a display of books related to Liberia, the deaths of the five martyrs, and personal stories of people who knew them.
  • A cemetery procession, where Adorers and guests processed as one family to the gravesites of the martyrs’ remains. White roses were placed on the martyrs’ graves, and prayers were offered for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace in Liberia and throughout the world.

ASC Wichita Center
Sunday, Oct. 21
The theme of the celebration at the Wichita Center was “The raising of consciousness concerning the plight of the Liberian people.” A special display featured a photo of the five martyrs and various articles, including a fish net, soil, a cross, stamps and coins.

Scheduled activities included:

  • Mass with special Mission Sunday Liturgy. Wichita Center Chaplain Father Thomas Welk celebrated Mass and gave the homily.
  • A prayer service in the Center’s Assembly Hall.
  • A presentation immediately following on the martyrs and Liberia, by Janet Sue Smith, ASC, a former missionary in Liberia and now the center’s director of community life and mission.
  • A reception in the ASC dining room following the presentation.