Couple who died at hands of pirates were Catholics on a mission

A couple of days ago, I read about the two American couples killed by pirates in the Indian Ocean. What the mainstream media articles did not say was that at least one of them — retirees Scott and Jean Adam of Marina del Rey, California — were Catholics, and were cruising in that part of the world as part of a personal mission to hand out Bibles.

According to Catholic News Service (CNS), the Adams were parishioners of St. Monica’s Catholic Community in Santa Monica, California, and had been sailing around the world since 2004. So far in their 2011 leg, they had stopped in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India, passing out Catholic Bibles from the American Bible Society and New International Version Bibles from the International Bible Society. They found trouble en route to Salalah, Oman:

Their 58-foot sloop, the Quest, had separated from the Blue Water Rally cruise fleet traveling from Australia to the Mediterranean when they were hijacked by 19 Somali pirates in the northwest part of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman. The pirates captured the Adams and their friends Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle.

While four U.S. naval ships were not far behind the captured boat and negotiations were underway, gunfire erupted on the Quest and the two American couples were found dead. The Adams’ pastor, Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson, praised the couple, telling CNS:

“They were faith-filled people, people of the Scripture, people of the Eucharist. They were great people of our community.”

While it doesn’t appear the Adams were killed for their faith, they certainly didn’t choose an easy way to reach out to people in the far-flung corners of the earth. May they rest in peace.

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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