Father Martin Thomas was born on April 25, 1932 in Sidcup in London, England. He was raised by his family in Wimbledon and attended Wimbledon College. He began his missionary work at Saint Michael’s Mission in Mhondoro, but was transferred to Musami shortly before February of 1977. He was a zealous priest who loved literature.

On February 6, 1977, nationalist guerrillas arrived at the mission, rounded up the white staff (which also included five Dominican sisters), and took them a short distance away. In the words of Father Dunstan Myerscough, a priest who survived by throwing himself to the ground when the shooting began: “Finally, three of them turned on us and raised their guns…we didn’t know they were going to shoot us until the firing started…when the firing stopped I looked up and saw that the other seven were dead and that there was nothing I could do for them.”  Father Martin Thomas was 45.

Sources: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/lifestyle/tragic-brother-remembered-at-st-johns-27364874.html

http://archive.catholicherald.co.uk/article/11th-february-1977/1/seven-missionaries-killed-in-rhodesia

http://www.dsiop.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=294:news-from-dominican-sisters&catid=33&Itemid=56

http://newsaints.faithweb.com/new_martyrs/Zimbabwe.htm

http://www.jesuit.org.uk/features/musami.htm

Christopher Kerr

Chris joined the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) as executive director in 2011. He has over fifteen years of experience in social justice advocacy and leadership in Catholic education and ministry. Prior to ISN he served in multiple roles at John Carroll University, including coordinating international immersion experience and social justice education programming as an inaugural co-director of John Carroll’s Arrupe Scholars Program for Social Action. Prior to his time at John Carroll he served as a teacher and administrator at the elementary and secondary levels in Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Chris speaks regularly at campuses and parishes about social justice education and advocacy, Jesuit mission, and a broad range of social justice issues. He currently serves on the board of directors for Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). Chris earned a B.A. and M.A. from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He and his family reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio.