Maryknoll lay missioner Melissa Altman is interviewed in this Nov. 22 story by Catholic News Service:
WASHINGTON. D.C. — Putting the words of the Gospel into action was always an important part of Melissa Altman’s Catholic family in Pennsylvania. Some of her childhood experiences of that family cornerstone came from a great uncle, a Maryknoll priest, who ignited the kindling of a spiritual fire that led her down the road to learn more about the life and experiences of missioners. Some of them included two Maryknoll sisters, a layperson who had completed the lay missionary training course at Maryknoll in New York, and an Ursuline sister — all four missionaries were murdered in El Salvador in 1980, just a year after Altman was born.
How the women lived and their work in El Salvador would prove to be an inspiration that later moved Altman and her husband, Peter, to move their young family to the small but troubled Central American nation.
She said that what she knew about the women and their work, coupled with learning in college about the effects of the Cold War on Latin America, and U.S. ties to it, “really affected me, and it planted a seed that I didn’t even realize was there at that time.”
“That seed was planted, and it kept growing without me realizing it,” Altman said in a Nov. 18 interview with Catholic News Service.