From Ohio History Central
Dorothy L. Kazel was born on June 30, 1939, in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1960, she joined the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, a religious organization belonging to the Catholic Church. At this time, Kazel became known as Sister Laurentine.
Sister Laurentine became a teacher at the Ursuline Sacred Heart Academy in East Cleveland in 1965. Here, she taught business and religion courses. Eventually, Sister Laurentine also began to teach the catechism to deaf students at the St. Martin de Porres Center in Glenville, Ohio. After spending 1969 as a missionary among the Papago Tribe in Arizona, Sister Laurentine returned to Cleveland, where she attained a Master's degree in counseling in 1974 and accepted a position at the Beaumont School for Girls in Cleveland Heights. Ohio.
In 1974, Sister Laurentine also became a member of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese's Mission Team to El Salvador. In this new role, she became known as Madre Dorthea. She spent the next six years traveling between the United States and El Salvador, seeking to assist the people of this Latin American country. Madre Dorthea taught women in El Salvador ways to better care for their children. She also encouraged the Salvadorans to dedicate their lives to God and sought to develop lay missionaries among the people she met.
In 1977, El Salvador erupted in civil war. Madre Dorthea refused to leave the country, although missionaries and other foreigners especially were in extreme danger. She remained, providing assistance to the war's refugees. On December 2, 1980, El Salvadoran National Guardsmen abducted Madre Dorthea, as well as three other women missionaries. The women were tortured and sexually abused before being killed a few hours later.
As a result of Madre Dorthea'a death, the Sisters of Ursula became much more politically active, demanding that the United States government stop supporting foreign regimes that promoted assassination and the subjugation of women. The Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland remain active in missionary work overseas.