Between May 11 and 20, 2017, a delegation of two sisters — one associate and one sojourner — and two women Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) scholars from Newman University will go on a pilgrimage trip to Liberia in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the five Martyrs of Charity (ASC Sisters) who lost their lives in Liberia fulfilling mission work.
The mission of the ASC sisters and Liberia worked to empower women and children, and improve living conditions by providing education, healthcare, faith services, and hope for those in need.
Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Rosemary Niedens is working with the ASC community on finalizing this opportunity for students to experience the international pilgrimage.
The two Newman ASC scholars who will be experiencing this pilgrimage are freshman Erin Schueller and sophomore Khoi Nguyen.
Schueller decided to apply to go on the trip because "it seemed like an amazing experience, and to be able to share it with other students and with the sisters I work with would be even more amazing. Learning about the martyrs through the 14 Profiles book made me extremely interested in the sisters and what they stand for."
"As for me," Nguyen said, "there are many reasons as to why I applied for and chose to go on the trip. I want to pursue nursing and public health and eventually get involved with non-governmental organizations that work to combat global issues such as hunger, lack of quality healthcare, and education, etc. I believe that donations are great but sustainability is the heart of humanitarian efforts. In other words, we must help people help themselves instead of merely giving."
The five ASC sisters in Liberia were killed in October 1992 by Liberian army soldiers during a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead.
Among these five sisters were Barbara Ann Muttra, Mary Joel Kolmer, Kathleen McGuire, Agnes Mueller, and Shirley Kolmer. Pope John Paul II called these women, "Martyrs of Charity."
Sister Shirley Kolmer, ASC
Served nine years in Liberia as a university professor, teacher, and high school principal. She was killed Oct. 23, 1992, outside of the sisters' residence in Gardnersville, Liberia.
Sister Mary Joel Kolmer, ASC
Ministered 10 years in Liberia as a teacher and aspirant director. Kolmer was killed on Oct. 20, 1992, on the road between Gardnersville and Barnersville, Liberia.
Sister Kathleen McGuire, ASC
Provided service for one year in Liberia working for the rehabilitation of those psychologically scarred by the civil war. She was murdered on Oct. 23, 1992, outside of the sisters' residence.
Sister Agnes Mueller, ASC
Performed services for five years in Liberia in religious education before she was killed on Oct. 23, 1992, outside of the sisters' residence.
Sister Barbara Ann Muttra, ASC
Served 21 years in Liberia as a nurse and teacher of health-care workers. She, as well, was killed on Oct. 20th, 1992, on the road between Gardnersville and Barnersville, Liberia.
More information on each sister can be found on Adorers of the Blood of Christ website.
Schueller explained, "This trip is going to be very eye opening and I am extremely excited to share my experience with others."
Nguyen hopes "that my experience in Liberia will inspire me to achieve my career and life goals, remind me that love is much needed in the world, and help me understand humanitarian efforts on a deeper level."