Anniversary of five ASC Liberian martyrs remembered by Adorers

Five Adorers of the Blood of Christ killed 25 years ago while serving as missionaries in civil war-torn Liberia were honored last week.
Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra and Mary Joel Kolmer were ambushed on Oct. 20, 1992 while attempting to drive an employee to the safety of his home. Three days later the three remaining Adorers serving in Liberia at that time – Sisters Shirley Kolmer, Agnes Mueller, and Kathleen McGuire – were ordered out of their home and killed by rebel forces. All were from southern Illinois.
In the fog of the civil war, word of their deaths did not reach the Adorers’ province in Ruma, Illinois, 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.
The Adorers marked the 25th anniversary of their martyrdom with commemorative events at their centers, the former motherhouses, in Ruma, Illinois; Wichita, Kansas; and Columbia, Pennsylvania.
The Adorers began serving in Liberia in the early 1970s, after priests of the Society of African Missions invited them. Over the years, 17 sisters worked in Liberia, staffing health clinics, teaching in schools, doing pastoral work, mentoring and training young Liberian women interested in joining the Adorers.
When Liberia’s first civil war erupted in 1989, the sisters and an aspirant to the community evacuated to Ivory Coast. By the end of August 1990, they had returned to the U.S. But the following year, 1991, Sisters Shirley Kolmer, Agnes Mueller, Mary Joel Kolmer and Barbara Ann Muttra, returned to Liberia, joined by Sister Kathleen McGuire. By late October 1992, the sisters were dead, along with hundreds of thousands of Liberians.
As part of the 25th anniversary commemoration, the Adorers sent three sisters, two Newman University students and two community associates on a pilgrimage to Liberia in May 2017 to visit the places and people the five had served. One of the sisters also met with bishops and others to look into the possibility of returning to ministry in Liberia.

Documentary online
A new 22-minute documentary about the ASC sisters’ lives and legacy by filmmaker Bill Streeter may be viewed at adorers.org/martyrsdocumentary.