Families and friends of several dozen women who met violent ends filled a St. John's hotel room on Monday for a ceremony that honoured lives cut short.

One by one, the names of 68 women who were murdered or who went missing were read aloud at a service.

Candles at St. John's vigil

Candles were lit in the memory of women who were murdered or who went missing in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC )

Some of the women were killed recently; some cases date back to the 19th century. Each of the names told a painful story, some still vivid in the lives of family.

Patricia Rice still recalls how excited her sister, Sharon Drover, was in 1978 when the 17-year-old teenager got a new job at McDonald's and talked of how she would be able to buy Christmas presents.

After being seen getting into a car in downtown St. John's, Sharon Drover was never heard from again.

"I just figured something has happened. She'll get in touch with me," Rice said.

"But as the years went by I realized that's not going to happen."

Cathy Mullett came to remember her sister, Nina Walsh, who was killed in September 1996. 

"Nina was stabbed to death by a man known to her. Her body was discovered by her husband and two children," Mullett told the service.

After more than 17 years, Mullett said life is still not easy.

"Our family came to be her voice," she said. "She will never, ever be forgotten."

The service was held as part as Violence Prevention Month. It was organized by community groups, including Marguerite's Place, the Coalition Against Violence, the Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, and the St. John's Native Friendship Centre.