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 Jean Donavan

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Jean Donavan

  • Birth 10 Apr 1953 Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
  • Death 2 Dec 1980 El Salvador
  • Burial Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA
  • Memorial ID 14288942

Jean Donovan, the youngest of the four church women murdered on December 2,1980, was born on April 10,1953. the younger of two children and raised in Westport, Connecticut. Jean received a MA in business administration from Case Western Reserve University, then took a job as management consultant for an accounting firm in Cleveland. She was on her way to a successful business career. Not the shy or withdrawn type, Jean was described by friends as outgoing, a "driver,", a "joker,"Her mother, Patricia, described her as "a gutsy, loving, caring person." She loved riding her motorcycle and was once known for pouring scotch, her drink of choice, over her cereal in the morning. While volunteering in the Cleveland Diocese Youth Ministry with the poor, she heard about the diocesan mission project in El Salvador. It was what she was looking for. The director of the mission program, Maryknoll Sister Mary Anne O'Donnell, described Jean as intelligent, loving and apostolic and believed that, despite (or because of?) her fun-loving, hard-living ways, she had the signs of being a good missioner.
After her training, including a stint at Maryknoll, Jean arrived in El Salvador in July 1979,She became Caritas coordinator for the diocesan mission program. She worked in La Libertad with Dorothy Kazel, distributing food for the poor and the refugees and carrying out family education programs. She was strongly motivated by St. Francis of Assisi and by Archbishop Oscar Romero. She translated God's teachings into clothing for the poor, feeding the hungry, and caring for the wounded refugees - mainly children - who had lost what little they had..."
As for the people of La Libertad, they loved Jean Donovan and dubbed her, "St. Jean the Playful." Two weeks before she was murdered, she wrote to a friend in Connecticut: "Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and helplessness. Not mine, dear friend, not mine."


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  • Created by: Anita Salek
  • Added: 14 May 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14288942
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jean Donavan (10 Apr 1953–2 Dec 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14288942, citing Sarasota Memorial Park, Sarasota, Sarasota County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Anita Salek (contributor 18317668) .