- Ita Ford, M.M. (April 23, 1940 – December 2, 1980) was a Roman Catholic Maryknoll Sister missionary to Bolivia, Chile and El Salvador. She worked with the poor and war refugees. On December 2, 1980, she was tortured, raped, and murdered, along with fellow missionaries Maura Clarke, M.M., laywoman Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U. They were killed in El Salvador by members of a military death squad of the right-wing Salvadoran military-led government. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 23, 1940, Ford was the daughter of William Patrick Ford, an insurance man who took early retirement due to tuberculosis, and Mildred Teresa O'Beirne Ford, a public-school teacher. She had an older brother, Bill (1936–2008), and a younger sister, Irene. The family lived at 1029 57th Street in Brooklyn.
- Sister Maura Clarke, M.M., (January 13, 1931 – December 2, 1980) was an American Roman Catholic Maryknoll Sister, who served as a missionary in Nicaragua and El Salvador. She worked with the poor and refugees in Central America from 1959 until her death in 1980. She was beaten, raped, and murdered..., in El Salvador, by members of a military death squad of the military-led right-wing government fighting the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front at the time of the Salvadoran Civil War.
- Jean Donovan (April 10, 1953 – December 2, 1980) was an American lay missionary who was murdered with three nuns in El Salvador by a military death squad while volunteering to do charity work during the civil war there. Jean Donovan was born to Patricia and Raymond Donovan, who raised her in an upper middle-classhome in Westport, Connecticut. She had an younger brother, Michael. She attended Mary Washington College in Virginia (now the University of Mary Washington), and spent a year as an exchange student in Ireland, deepening her Roman Catholic faith through her contact with a priest there who had been a missionary in Peru. Upon the completion of her master's degree in business from Case Western Reserve University, she accepted a position as a management consultant for the Cleveland branch of the nationwide accounting firm, Arthur Andersen.
Donovan was engaged to a young physician, Douglas Cable, and felt a strong call to motherhood as well as her call to do mission work: "...I sit there and talk to God and say 'Why are you doing this to me? Why can't I just be your little suburban housewife?' 
Dorothy Kazel (June 30, 1939 – December 2, 1980) was an American Ursuline nun and missionary toEl Salvador. On December 2, 1980, she and fellow missionaries Ita Ford, Jean Donovan and Maura Clarke were raped and murdered by members of the military of El Salvador. Kazel was born Dorthea Lu Kazel to Lithuanian American parents, Joseph and Malvina Kazel, inCleveland, Ohio. When she joined the Ursulines, a Roman Catholic religious order. In 1960, she took the name Sister Laurentine, in honor of an Ursuline martyred during the French Revolution. As the Roman Catholic Church modernized during the 1960s, she became known as Sister Dorothy. In the Central American community where she died, she was known as Madre Dorthea (Dorothy). She completed her bachelor's degree and novitiate between 1960 and 1965. Beginning in 1965, Kazel taught for seven years in Cleveland, and did missionary work among the Papago Tribe of Arizona.
* from Wikipedia
“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 could be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and loneliness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine.” – Jean Donovan
“I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning… Something worth living for – maybe even worth dying for…” -- Ita Ford, in a letter to her niece
"I want to be remembered as an Alleluia, from head to foot." -- Dorothy Kazel
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I am at peace here and searching – trying to learn what the Lord is asking. At this point, I would hope to be able to go on, God willing. . . . This seems to be what he is asking of me at this moment.” -- Maura Clarke, in a letter to her niece, just weeks before her murder
James, a Michigan federal prison inmate, wrote this letter to the National Catholic Register after reading an article about the four women:
". . . I am 20 years old and in prison. But I need to somehow explain the pain I felt when I read the news of the death of our sisters (in El Salvador).
"Not much in life anymore upsets or shocks me. I did, though, cry and I was moved to learn of what happened. Sitting here in isolation where I read the NCR, I felt a change, I felt the lives of the four (women). I mean, I never knew them but I felt them, I could see them smile and laugh, I felt their kindness and caring for people. This is why I cried, 'Why was it done?' It seemed such a cruel and senseless act.
"All at once I felt hate, sadness, and I really felt pain. I just don't understand! I don't care much about anything, until this day, when I realized how selfish I've been with my own life. I am not a dramatic-speaking person, but if I could give myself to bring them back, I would. By their deaths I felt life; I really felt a need to keep trying and not to give up. . . .
"I will pray for all of you, and at each mass say a prayer for our sisters. . . .