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Casa News & Events

  •  There is Hope

    Tuesday, May. 8, 2012

    Maria Smith (Casa de la Solidaridad Fall '11) wanted to share with all of us this song about her experience in El Salvador. Check out this video!

  •  Financial Aid for Casa Bayanihan Students

    Thursday, May. 3, 2012

    Good news about financial aid!

    Thanks to the generosity of a donor the cost of the program for the fall 2012 semester is $5000, which includes tuition, room and board.  (This does not include the additional expenses such as airfare).  If you or someone you know is interested in the fall 2012 semester, please contact Heidi Kallen heidimkallen@gmail.com or Grace Carlson carlson.go@gmail.com right away! Application deadline is May 9.

  •  Vamos Todos

    Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012

    Vamos Todos
    (Lyrics by Michael Martinez)
     
     
    Desde ya ofrezco a Dios mi sangre... ( Mons. Romero voice)
     
    Actual Audio of his Assassination on March 24, 1980
     
    Words from his Homily on March 23, 1980:
    Quisiera hacer un llamamiento de manera especial.
    La iglesia, defensora de los derechos, no puede quedarse callada
    ante tanta abominación.
    Queremos que el gobierno tome en serio que de nada sirven las reformas si van selladas con tanta sangre.
    En nombre de Dios pues,
    y en nombre de este sufrido pueblo,
    cuyos lamentos suben hacia el cielo cada ves mas tumultuosos,
    les suplico, les ruego, les ordeno:
    En nombre de Dios, ¡cese la represión!
     
    Verse 1
     
    Vamos todos al banquete,
    a la mesa de la creación,
    cada cual con su taburete,
    tiene un puesto y una misión.
    Esta canción
     trae la liberación. 
    Esta es una homilía
    por Mi comandante,
    un jesuita,
    Rutilio Grande.
    Martyred for the sake his love
    so grande.
    Que Dios me mande
     y me despierte
    la consciencia.
    Dame la paciencia
    para que traduzque
    y que todos comprendan:
    the language of love
    que todos entiendan.
    Fighting the injustice with our blood,
    so your Will be done on earth as above.
    Heavens not a fantasía.
    La liberación tampoco es una teología.
    Es el pueblo que lucha y camina
    hacia el Reino de Dios;
     llegaremos un día.
     
    Chorus
     
    Vamos todos hacia el banquete
    a la mesa de la creación,
    cada cual con su taburete,
    tiene un puesto y una misión.
     
    Hoy me levanto muy temprano,
    ya me espera la comunidad,
    voy subiendo alegre la cuesta,
    voy en busca de tu amistad.
     
    Verse 2
     
    Hay que celebrar
    al mismo tiempo de luchar.
    No basta rezar.
    Nos falta mucho más
     para conseguir la paz.
    Aunque ya vino,
    Jesús Cristo
    a salvarnos.
    El vino y el pan nos
    une hacia cielo
    y la tierra con sus manos
    alzadas.
    Danos
    nuestro Pan de cada
    día.
    Dios invita a
    compartir comida
    pero casi nadie viene
    de lunes a viernes;
    solo los domingo.
    Los pobres si no
    tienen nada.
    Los ricos quieren todo
    se lo llevan con espadas.
     Ni nos miran en la cara.
     You ask why I bust this?
    I claim Social Justice.
     
    Chorus
     
    Vamos todos hacia el banquete,
    a la mesa de la creación,
    cada cual con su taburete,
    tiene un puesto y una misión.
     
    Hoy me levanto muy temprano,
    ya me espera la comunidad,
    voy subiendo alegre la cuesta,
    voy en busca de tu amistad.
     
    Verse 3
     
    Hoy me levanto muy temprano,
    ya me espera la comunidad,
    y todos mis hermanos.
    Voy subiendo alegre
    la cuesta.
    Voy en busca de tu amistad
    aunque me cuesta:
    mi vida,
    mi sangre,
    mi amor,
    mi hambre,
    mi familia,
    mi dinero,
     enfermedades.
    Esto le llaman
     Solidaridad.
    Trabajando juntos
    para la Paz
    en el mundo.
    Esta cruz la cargamos juntos
    con todos los difuntos.
    Un día llegaremos a un punto
    donde todos tendrán lujos en casa abierta.
     Un plato para todos en nuestra mesa.
    Sombra de árbol pa’ tu cabeza.
    Libro abierto, tu vida, mi puerta.
    La amistad no cuestiona tu credo.
    Un mundo nuevo donde todos amemos
     
    Si me matan, resucitaré en el pueblo Salvadoreño.
     
    Come to the banquet
    the table is set
    by the creation of a nation común por la fé.
    Everybody has a chair and place to meet,
    but first we need a plate so the world can eat.
    ‘Cuz we starving out here,
    should I repeat?
    God invited us ALL,
    not just the ELITE.
    But the sick and the poor and the tax collectors.
    We could have a feast if the world would let us.
    In the belly of the beast,
    we become the meat
    to the gluttons, to the greedy, to the Pharisees.
    In a world of wars
    where the poor increase,
    and the score gets lower
    should we claim defeat?
    ‘Cuz we can’t even afford
    a peace accord.
    So we’ve come to the Banquet
    to meet the Lord.
     
    Les ordeno:
    En nombre de Dios, ¡cese la represión! (Applause)
     

     

  •  Going Global

    Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2012

    By Thomas Haskin

    Published on: The Ram

    There is nothing like going somewhere new in order to remember — or to realize— just how little you know. This is a daily occurrence for me here in El Salvador. For the last two months, I’ve been studying with a Santa Clara Universityrun program known as La Casa de la Solidaridad. A program aimed at Jesuit university students, Casa seeks to immerse its participants in la realidad — the reality — of this tiny Central American country.

    The question then is, of course, what exactly is that reality? Or, how might a gringo college kid here for four months come to access any part of it? While I am still in the process of discerning those answers, I have an
    idea about how our program strives to do that over the course of a semester. I am also learning about its limitations.

    I spend two full days per week in the urban community of San Ramon, visiting a preschool classroom in the mornings, making home visits with social workers and community leaders in the afternoons and seeking to provide a context for the lives these children lead. We learn of fatherless homes, families affected by alcoholism and domestic abuse, un- and under-employment, water-borne illnesses and poor infrastructure. The list, unfortunately, goes on.

    Though we are stationed in the prosperous and relatively safe neighborhood of Antiguo Cuscatlan, Casa emphasizes taking us out of the comfort of our houses (that we share with Salvadoran students) and showing us other parts of the country.

    Therefore, we additionally spent a week in the rural part of the country bordering Honduras, where much of the violence occurred during El Salvador’s horrific civil war in the 1980s. (A war in large part financed by the United States — another
    topic unto itself.) We heard stories and visited sites from those years, learning about how such a history still has major ramifications for the country and its people to this day.

    I recount this to underscore, that unlike when I studied in London last summer with Fordham’s program, here I am constantly interacting with Salvadorans, hearing their stories and traveling through the country, encountering Salvadoran “reality” as much as one can in two months.

    Yet I know there is still so much more. What about the hundreds of Salvadorans eating lunch in the air-conditioned food court of the brand-new mall complex near where I stay? Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut — is this the Salvadoran dream,
    what people do here when they have “made it,” when they have enough money that they do not have to worry about what those families in San Ramon confront on a daily basis? Then again, is this any different than the United States? What
    effect has the United States had on creating this culture?

    So, I ask, what about this reality? What is El Salvador — the war-torn families living in homes made of sheet metal with no running water, or the people who live behind armored gates and have personal drivers? Of course, the reality of El Salvador today is both and everything in between. We should recognize though that the former is altogether more common than the latter.

    That said, what this demonstrates is just how hard it is to understand “reality” outside of our own context. For me to understand the world as a gringo who was raised in the United States is hard enough, to desire an
    experience of anything else requires even more effort. Now that I am here in El Salvador, I am repeatedly reminded of just how many experiences of this world exist in the year 2012. With seven billion people on this planet, it’s tough to get a
    grasp on anything beyond one’s own reality — but I think getting an education demands that we try.
     

  •  Casa Bayanihan: Community a World Away

    Friday, Mar. 30, 2012

    Written by Edward Carpenter

    Published on 'From the USF Newsroom'

    As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, Teresa Cariño ’13 has memories of the Philippines that come mostly from the stories she was told growing up and what she glimpsed on visits from the backseat of the family car.

    Now, Cariño, a theology and religious studies major (at USF), is back in her parents’ homeland. Thanks to an anonymous donor, six other University of San Francisco students are with Cariño — all studying tuition-free and accompanying underprivileged communities as part of the Casa Bayanihan program.

    The scholarship includes room, board, and tuition, leaving only $1,000 in fees for students to pay. Likely as a result, more than double the number of USF students are taking part in the program as compared with fall 2011, when three made the trip.

    In its second semester, Casa Bayanihan, a jointly managed study abroad and immersion program with Santa Clara University, and Ateneo de Manila University in Manila, is modeled on the successful Casa de la Solidaridad program in El Salvador. The pillars of the program include: accompanying marginalized communities; rigorous academic study at the local Jesuit university, Ateneo de Manila University; simple community living; and spiritual formation.

    Students study the Philippines’ economy, culture, and society; gender equality; Tagalog; and more, as part of their coursework. Two days a week, Casa Bayanihan students work with local nonprofits or in disadvantaged neighborhoods to serve the disabled, learn from poor farmers how they grow crops in a community with no potable water or electricity, advocate for street children, or provide small businesses with micro-loans.

    By accompanying the disadvantaged in these ways, students learn from locals about the realities of their daily lives and the factors that contribute their struggles.

    As the world moves toward Asia, the mission of Casa Bayanihan offers students a more complete perspective on how changing economies and social systems affect the most vulnerable members of society, said Grace Carlson, Casa Bayanihan co-director.

    The program provides a safe environment where students can learn and step out of their comfort zone to see the privileges they benefit from. Hopefully, in their professional and personal lives, they’ll find a way to continue to use their education and their talents as advocates for the marginalized, Carson said. “We want to form healthy young people grounded in faith, rooted in justice, who can look at the world with critical eyes, relate to the struggles of others, and respond together in community.” 

    Cariño, who understands a good deal of Tagalog but doesn’t speak it, sees Casa Bayanihan as an opportunity to immerse herself in the language and culture of the Philippines she never knew. “My biggest challenge is separating my understanding and experiences of the Philippines of my childhood vacations and the nitty-gritty reality of the suffering and injustices that affect most of the country, as well as the hope and light that is there in the midst of all that,” Cariño said.

    Teresa Cariño (red dress) sharing with some neighbors and Bayanihan students in Manila.
  •  Memories of Rutilio Grande S.J.

    Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2012

    On March we celebrate life and witness of two great Salvadoran men: Mons. Romero y Rutilio Grande S.J. They were close friends and both of them suffered martyrdom as a result of their fight for social justice in El Salvador. Those who met them can not talk of one of them without mention the other. Here is a video with memories of Fr.Grande by Jon Sobrino S.J. and Salvador Carranza S.J.

     

     

     

  •  Learning about Rutilio Grande S.J.

    Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2012

    Salvador Carranza S.J. (aka 'Chamba') gave recently a talk as part of the Perspectives on El Salvador's Civil War Class, taught by Gene Palumbo. Fr. Carranza was a member of Rutilio Grande's team in Aguilares, he knew Mons.Romero and shared about the killings of the six Jesuits their housekeeper and her daughter at the UCA in 1989. Casa students learned about Salvadoran history from Carranza’s first hand experience. Students visited Fr. Carranza at Parish El Carmen, Santa Tecla.

  •  Meet the Students

    Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

    brianne

    Brianne Loomis

    Gonzaga University

    Hello! My name is Brianne, but I am in the process of changing my name to something easier to say in Spanish. I attend Gonzaga University in Washington State and grew up near Seattle. Here in El Salvador I will be accompanying the families of Mariona and I look forward to learning the local crafts and how to make pupusas! I cannot wait to grow as an individual and improve my Spanish, “poco a poco.”

    anthony-medina

    Anthony Medina

    Loyola University Maryland

    Hola Amigos! My name is Antonio. I go by Medina for all those wondering. I am from Secaucus, New Jersey. I am a junior at Loyola University Maryland where I study communications and hope to one day work for National Geographic in some form or fashion. I am currently living in Casa Ita as part of the Casa program in Antiguo Cuscatlan and find the people and the culture to be invigorating. I don’t know why I decided to come to El Salvador but something in me knew it was the right place for me to study abroad. My Praxis sight is El Pueblo de Dios en Camino and is located in San Ramon and the nearby community of Las Nubes. Every Monday and Wednesday I get to walk up a dormant volcano and listen to the beautiful inhabitants of Las Nubes. I couldn’t be more blessed. For now I’m taking things day by day and trying to live every experience to its fullest in my new home. Poco a poco.

    Catherine-erbes

    Catherine Erbes

    Gonzaga University

    Buenos todos! I am Catherine Erbes and I’m majoring in Life at Gonzaga University with a concentration in Spanish language and global culture studies. We have only just started our semester in the lovely El Salvador, nestled in the crook of Central America but I have high hopes for our coming days here! I’m looking forward to exploring all the cultural dynamics of El Sal as well as the hearts and minds of the Salvadorans and my fellow CASA community members! Saludos :

    Matthew

    Matthew Ippel

    Georgetown University

    ¡Saludos a todos! My name is Matthew Ippel (Mateo). I hail from Dearborn Heights, Michigan and I am currently a Junior in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC where I am majoring in Regional and Comparative Studies. I am concentrating my studies on international development and social justice within Latin America and the Middle East. I spent last semester studying in Amman, Jordan and, now, I am here in El Salvador with the Casa. It’s great to be back to Central America – a place that I feel very much at home. With only two weeks into the Casa experience, I feel as if I have been a part of it for much longer! As the semester moves forward, I hope to engage El Salvador, the people, its history, and the hopes and dreams that many deeply desire. As I grow in my faith and discern God’s vocation for me, I also hope to develop relationships among my fellow Casa students, Casa staff, professors, and the people of FUNDESO (my praxis site) and explore the possibilities of what 'solidaridad' can lead to.

    Hannah

    Hannah Ladwig

    Marquette University

    ¡Buenas! I’m Hannah from Hales Corners, WI. I am a junior at Marquette University in Milwaukee studying International Affairs and Spanish. I am so thrilled to have joined the Casa community; in El Salvador I am surrounded by inspiring people and having a ton of fun. Although it’s still early in the semester, I can already tell that my classes at the UCA and praxis placement in Las Delicias will be rewarding experiences and that may time in El Salvador will be life changing. I am so excited to be taking a giant step toward simple living and solidarity with Salvadorans; “I want to link my destiny with that of the poor in this world” – Jose Marti

    john-byrd

    John Byrd

    Fordham University

    Hey! I am John Byrd and I study philosophy and theology at Fordham University in the Bronx. I am originally from Marshfield MA but I went to high school at Boston College High. I can’t believe that I am finally in El Salvador and I get to spend four amazing months here! While I had studied the history of the martyrs and the civil war, being here and hearing the reality of these events from first hand witnesses has already blown my mind and I am excited for that feeling to continue.

    Mary-catherine

    Mary Catherine McDonald

    University of Dayton

    Hi! My name is Mary Catherine. I am a sophomore from the University of Dayton double majoring in religious studies and human rights. I am so excited to be a part of this program! It is fascinating to be here and learn about the Salvadoran culture, history, and development while experiencing it. The people that I am meeting are teaching me so much through their love and openness that a class or text would not be able to communicate. I truly feel like a student of life itself. This experience is such a unique gift, and already I have learned and grown so much!

    Meg-stapleton

    Meg Stapleton Smith

    Boston College

    Hola a todas y todos. My name is Meg Stapleton Smith. I am a junior at Boston College and am majoring in Theology with a double minor in Faith, Peace, and Justice Studies and Catholic Studies. My praxis placement is El Pueblo de Dios en Camino and I am really looking forward to accompanying the people of Las Nubes. My hope is at the end of the semester I have irreversibly fallen in love with El Salvador, deepened my faith, and explored the depths of Liberation Theology.

    michael-martinez

    Michael Martinez

    Fordham University

    Primero Dios… Buenas!!! My name is Michael A. Martinez and I was born and raised in Miami, FL where I attended Belen Jesuit Prep. I am currently a student at Fordham University (Bronx, NY) dual majoring in Philosophy and Psychology with a concentration in American Catholic Studies. Due to my previous education, I have been infected with the contagious “Jesuit Virus” and am now participating in this amazing and unique experience that I am extremely grateful for. God has placed me with the San Antonio Abad community to learn, grow and love in faith with this beautiful country (which is very appropriately named “El Salvador” or “the Savior”). I am only certain of one thing: God wants me here and in the words of Dean Brackley, SJ, I am prepared to be “ruined for life.”

    patrick-diamond

    Patrick Diamond

    Loyola University Maryland

    Buenas! I'm very proud to be part of the Casa de la Solidaridad program in El Salvador. I hail from Loyola University Maryland in the charming city of Baltimore where I study Global Students & Latin American/Latino Studies. After witnessing the effect that El Salvador has had on many Loyola students, I've been patiently awaiting my own turn at the helm. In the short time I've been here I've been experiencing a continual expansion of my worldview through accompaniment and immersion.

    sara-hanel

    Sara Hanel

    Saint Louis University

    Hello! My name is Sara Hanel, I’m a sophomore studying Spanish and Social Work at Saint Louis University, and I was born and raised in Minnesota. I’ve already learned so much from El Salvador in my first few weeks, and I’m so excited that I get to be here for the next four months to open myself to new realities and learn and grow as much as I can from the beautiful people here.

    shannon-armstrong

    Shannon Armstrong

    University of San Francisco

    Hola a todos! I am beyond excited to be here in El Salvador, learning about a new reality and embracing life in a close community. While I am originally from Portland, Oregon, I am currently studying at the University of San Francisco. While working towards a major in Art History, I was recently captivated by the history and culture of Latin America and so I am now adding Latin American Studies to my academic pursuits. At my praxis site in Mariona, I am looking forward to a semester rich with experiences shared with the unbelievably kind members of the community.

    Stewart-Heatwole

    Stewart Heatwole

    Saint Louis University

    Hello my name is Stewart Heatwole from Morton, Illinois. I am a Social Work and Theology major at Saint Louis University. I am incredibly excited to be in El Salvador, the thing that gives me the most excitement is the opportunity to learn from the people of El Salvador. These first weeks have taught me that there are no better teachers on how to live life, than the El Salvadorian people.

    ted-lynch

    Ted Lynch

    Hola! My name is Ted o Eduardo depending on whichever is easiest. I come from Cheyenne, Wyoming and usually take classes at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. This year I am living in Casa Romero in Antiguo Cuscatlan with the best Salvadoran and American housemates one could ask for. My praxis site is Tepecoyo and I am taught by some of the most interesting people at the UCA. Stay chivo!

    tom-haskin

    Tom Haskin

    Fordham University

    Hello to all! My name is Tom Haskin and I am a junior studying history at Fordham University. I think that a desire to explore realities previously unknown to me has brought me to El Salvador, a desire to constantly alter, broaden, and refine my worldview. I hope to challenge myself in these next four months to examine what it means to be both un estadounidense and — more generally — any individual, in this 21st century of increasing interconnectedness and globalization.

    LaceySchmitt-blurb

    Lacey Schmitt

    ¡Buenos! My name is Lacey Schmitt and I am from Eden, NY. I am studying International Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. I am already enjoying my time here with the Casa community and Casa Ita. I came to El Salvador to fall in love with the Salvadoran people and this country. I am looking forward to the coming months that I will be working with the people of El Cedro. There is no better way to learn than being immersed among those who know life best.

    kelsey-silva

    Kelsey Silva

    University of San Francisco

    Hey! My name is Kelsey and I am a junior studying International Relations: Latin America at the University of San Francisco. Jesuit education has fueled my passion for social justice and service learning, and now the CASA program in El Salvador is offering me more. I was interested in the El Salvador program because of my desire to serve, but my three emotional weeks here so far have shown me the importance of community and confianza over action and ability. Casa de la Solidaridad has ultimately given me more love, more reflection, and more inspiration than I ever could have expected, and I am realizing that there is just more for myself and for the world. The Salvadorans we are living with, and their testimonies of Monseñor Romero and the Jesuits, are true examples to live by. My continuing months in El Salvador will be spent exploring ways to embody the Jesuit mission, possible Spanish translations for my name, and an understanding of how uselessness can be the best possible thing! La paz.

    alexa-spring2012

    Alexa Phillips

    Saint Louis University

    Howdy! My name is Alexa Phillips and I am a sophomore at Saint Louis University. I am studying Spanish with a concentration in American Studies and International Studies, Political Relations and Special Education (a mouthful, I know) and I hail from a small town in central Illinois. I am so excited to have this opportunity to work alongside these beautiful Salvadorans and to learn all that I possibly can about this way of life. I am spending these wonderful four months in the midst of some truly inspirational people in Tepecoyo and I cannot wait to spend as much time with them as possible. As one of my dear Casa Ita friends would say, this experience and opportunity truly is ¡Que increible!

     

  •  Jon Sobrino talks with Casa Students

    Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012
    Last Friday, Jon Sobrino S.J. shared some words of wisdom with Casa students in Gene Palumbo's Perspectives on El Salvador's Civil War class. He spoke about his experience as a jesuit priest in El Salvador, his memories of the six jesuits murdered at the UCA in 1989 and some of his memories of Dean Brackley S.J.

    Today we want to share with all of you those memories of Dean Brackley S.J. by Jon Sobrino on a video.

    Click here to watch an excerpt of Sobrino's speech

  •  Earthquake Update from Philippines

    Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012

    Greetings from Manila,
    As you may have heard, there was a recent earthquake off affecting the islands of Cebu and Negros, Philippines on February 6 2012.  A tsunami alert was issued for residents of the coastal regions of Cebu and Negros, but lifted at 2:30pm February 6.  
    We, in Quezon City (Metro Manila), which is 356 miles north of the epicenter, are safe. 
    As always, we will continue to monitor for student safety.

    ~Casa Bayanihan

    Read news about the earthquake