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The Cost of Compassion

Five Women Who Paid the Ultimate Price
Barbara Pawlikowski

Product Description


In 1992, Five American Missionary Sisters,

Members of the Ruma, Illinois, Province of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ,

Were Murdered by Soldiers during a Civil War in Liberia, West Africa.


This is a story about women who promised to dedicate their life to serving others. The women portrayed here, Sisters Barbara Ann Muttra, Shirley Kolmer, Mary Joel Kolmer, Agnes Mueller, and Kathleen McGuire, displayed a unique courage, competence, and commitment in their missionary calling. But they were also funny, joyful, intelligent, stubborn—and, yes, afraid.

You will want to read about these relatively unknown American martyrs…

  • To be inspired by ordinary women—some call them “saints”—who were willing to face danger head on rather than run away from it as they were fervently urged and certainly able to do.
  • To experience the unique bond that developed among these “Sisters” and between them and the people they served.
  • To understand what happened in Liberia during the brutal fourteen-year civil War (1989-2003), one of Africa's bloodiest, during which more than 250,000 Liberians were killed and a million others were displaced into refugee camps.


The Cost of Compassion is a well-spring of healing for all who still carry within us the traumas and scars of war. This book is a great contribution to the healing and reconciliation of my beloved Liberia—an ideal still very distant.

—Most ReverendTony Borwah, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Gbarnga, Liberia, and President, Catholic Bishops Conference of Liberia


By her excellent portrayal of intimate details of the lives of five selfless American women who came to be swept up in a horrible war in a tiny African country 25 years ago, Barbara Pawlikowski re-energizes the hope their murderers will be brought to the bar of justice.

Gerald S. Rose, Former Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Liberia

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