Newman University will host presentations on Feb. 5 and 6 by Elizabeth Kolmer, ASC, whose sister Shirley Kolmer, ASC and cousin Mary Joel Kolmer, ASC were among five Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) sisters who were murdered in 1992 while performing mission work in Liberia, West Africa.
The presentations are the third in a series of four Mission Talks dedicated to the memory of the five ASC martyrs. Sister Elizabeth Kolmer will present “The Kolmer Family’s Response to Shirley and Mary Joel’s Death.”
The first presentation of the Mission Talk will be at noon Tuesday, Feb. 5, in the Tarcisia Roths, ASC Alumni Center inside the Dugan Library and Campus Center on the Newman campus. A complimentary buffet lunch will be provided for the noon talk for the first 40 people who RSVP by 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1 at 316-942-4291, ext. 2167.
The second presentation of the talk will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center, inside the Dugan Library and Campus Center on the Newman campus.
Both events are free and open to the public.
The five sisters, known as the ASC Martyrs of Charity, were brutally killed by Liberian troops during the bloody civil war that raged in the early 1990s in the West African nation. The women – Kathleen McGuire, ASC; Agnes Mueller, ASC; Barbara Ann Muttra, ASC, and the two Kolmers – had been in Liberia for many years working to help the poor through educational programs and medical clinics.
In observance of the 20th anniversary of their deaths in 1992, Newman University launched the four Mission Talks for the 2012-2013 academic year, which focus on different aspects of the sisters and their tragic end.
“I think Sister Elizabeth’s presentation will be especially moving, as well as interesting and informative,” said Newman Director of Mission Effectiveness Charlotte Rohrbach, ASC, who has presented Mission Talks over the past few years exploring various facets of Newman University and its mission. “The story of what happened in Liberia is compelling enough, but to hear how it affected family members will add a very personal touch.”
Sister Elizabeth Kolmer was born in Waterloo, Ill. Her relationship with the ASC dates back more than 60 years to when she made her first profession in 1949. She has served her order in numerous capacities, including as a founding board member of the Missouri Humanities Council, a member of the African Faith and Justice Network, and a member of several health care organizations and boards.
Kolmer earned a Ph.D. in American Social and Cultural History from St. Louis University, then began a 40-year career at the school teaching American Studies and serving as administrator of the American Studies Department. Kolmer has also served as a lecturer at the Maastricht international studies program in The Netherlands, and has presented and published research and other studies, primarily in the fields of American religion, women, and women religious. She has received several “excellence in teaching” awards, and many university professors and historians in this country consider her their mentor.
Although she officially retired from St. Louis University in 2004, Kolmer continues to do volunteer work with the homeless and poor in the Social Ministry Program at the university’s St. Francis College Church. She also enjoys doing advocacy work for several social justice issues.
Kolmer served several terms on the Newman University Board of Trustees during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2006 she received the university’s highest honor, the Cardinal Newman Medal.
For more information please contact Rohrbach at 316-942-4291, ext. 2167.