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The following postings have been filtered by tag el salvador. clear filter
  •  Praxis Week

    Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013
  •  Exploring El Salvador

    Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013
  •  Accompaniment

    Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012

    Recently, my father came to visit me from the United States. We spent one morning in a Christian base
    community called El Pueblo de Dios en Camino (The people of God on the way). I wrote a little poem
    about the experience we had during a celebration of the word.


    El Pueblo de Dios en Camino. Celebration of the word.

    Stifling, hot, immovable air,

    provided by the Holy Mystery. Dispersed through the homily

    shared by all.

    Incomprehensible to my father.

    No holy sacrament, no body or blood of the Christ.

    Crisis. Salvation at stake?! Wait,

    back to translating.

    So much beauty lost in the process.

    Beauty, like language, cannot be caged.

    Only know, father, that they ask

    about your dying mother.

    They welcome you. Open arms. Common theme.

    Accompaniment enters my mind. Wait.

    What does it look like now? How can we accompany these people?

    Wrong question. What can we do

    to open our hearts to be accompanied?

    Two way street.

    To love others, one must first love herself.

    To accompany, one must be accompanied.

    I came to accompany, but was accompanied;

    my father the same, with his faith, his mother.

    To fully live, you must give yourself away to others,


  •  Celebrating Life

    Tuesday, Sep. 25, 2012
    Last Sunday, the same weekend that I spent in Las Nubes, I hiked down the mountain with Elsa a little before 7:00 and I went straight to El Pueblo de Dios en Camino. This day was the day that the community was going to celebrate the life of Carlos Acevedo (the catechist that was martyred) as well as the lives lost in the Mudslide of Montebello. Since I arrived so early, I began my day by helping Anita with some last minute things that had to get done- setting up chairs, sweeping, getting supplies ready, etc. Around 8:30, we took some large photos of some martyrs, some crosses, and some signs to the Ermita. If you recall, this is where the discovered bodies were laid out during the mudslide for family members to come and claim. As people arrived, we distributed flowers and signs with scripture verses on them. All in all, there were well over 100 people that came to share in this special service! Around 9:30, we all began a procession through the streets of San Ramon. This was a super chivo experience for me. The young and old alike were walking through the streets of San Ramon singing songs of liberation together. A large wooden cross led the procession, followed by huge pictures of some martyrs that were particularly close to the community. I was asked to help to carry the picture of Silvia, one of the martys that Anita knew very well- I was definitely humbled. As we walked through the street singing together (well, I was listening) we also shouted out chants. So somebody would scream out “Viva _____ (martyrs, victims of the mudslide, Monsenor Romero, Christian Base Communities, etc)” And we would all respond “Que Viva!” Which means, in a sense, “Long Live the King!” Or in our case, the presence of those are still with us. This was just a really cool experience of solidarity with the Salvadorians.

    Finally, we arrived at a large park. This park is made of the dirt mound leftover from the mudslide. So essentially, the earth that we were standing on was once part of the upper volcano and had caused many deaths. While nobody can confirm it, the park is also a sort of mass grave, since it was never formally overturned to ensure that no body parts were left. So we were really standing on holy ground, with a cross to commemorate the event. Here, we (over 100 of us) had a worship service. We sang songs, learned about Carlos Acevedo and the Mudslide of Montebello, and had communion together. Several youth from the community shared the sermon with us. At one point while we were singing a solemn song, the youth spread hundreds of rose petals all around us in the park. To me, these red petals among the dry, brown ground signified so many lives lost- a solemn occasion indeed. All is all, it was an incredible experience. But perhaps the most exciting part of it was that they used pan dulce for communion. Pan dulce is essentially any type of bread that is sweet- cookies, pastries, etc. I’m convinced that if churches in America gave out cookies instead of cardboard wafers for communion, all of our churches would be packed!

  •  SCU delegation visits El Salvador

    Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012

    A faculty/staff delegation from SCU is visiting Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador. They have visited the praxis site Las Nubes, historic places, and other communities.

  •  First day of Praxis!

    Monday, Aug. 27, 2012

    Students in El Salvador have started the experience in their praxis sites, we wanted to share some photos with all of you.

  •  Ready to Start!

    Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

    Casa programs are ready to start both in the Philippines and El Salvador. We are glad to introduce our new Community Coordinators!

    El Salvador: Michelle Lally, Diane Fitts, and Chris Campbell.

    Philippines: Sarah Young and Sullivan Oakley.

  •  Under the Trees

    Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

    Stweart Heatwole wrote this poem during his time in El Salvador. Check out the video!

  •  The Rose Remembers

    Wednesday, May. 23, 2012
    The rose garden, at the UCA. Photo by David Romero S.J. (Casa Fall 2007).

    By Angela Alaimo O'Donnell, associate director of Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. Fordham University

     At the University of Central America (known affectionately as “The UCA,” pronounced oo-ka) in the heart of the city of San Salvador, grows a beautiful rose garden. The roses were planted and meticulously tended by a man named Obdulio Ramos. Obdulio once worked at the UCA as a handyman and landscaper, and his wife worked for the University, as well, keeping house for the Jesuits who served as leaders, scholars and teachers.

    On the night of November 16th, 1989, Julia Elba Ramos and her daughter, Celina, who was staying overnight with her mother, were awakened, dragged from their beds, and savagely murdered, along with 6 Jesuit priests who were living in the house: Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes, Ignacio Martin-Baro, Amando Lopez, Juan Ramon Moreno, and Joaquin Lopez y Lopez.

    Father Ellacuria, the president of the UCA, had been an outspoken critic of the corrupt leadership of the Salvadoran government and the civil war being waged against its own people. The government sent soldiers to assassinate him and to brutalize his body, and were given instructions to leave no witnesses; hence, the “collateral damage” of the 5 unlucky priests, the blameless housekeeper, and her 16-year-old child. The bodies were discovered the next morning, most of them prostrate on the lawn—the very ground where Obdulio’s roses now grow.

    These shots were heard around the world. Pictures of the slaughtered innocents were circulated widely, symbolic of the massacre of an entire people. International pressure forced the government to sign peace agreements and made way for more peaceable leadership to take root in El Salvador. The murders of these good people were terrible, and citizens around the world were moved to insure that their lives and deaths not be wasted. They are remembered to this day as martyrs whose sacrifice saved a nation and countless lives, and their collective symbol has since been the rose.

    Human beings have long associated Roses with Remembrance. The rose is a perennial: she blooms, faithfully, each year, attesting to the pitiless passage of time and, simultaneously, renewing the promise of the eternal. She is the queen of flowers, the biggest of blooms, possessor of the odor and attar that soothes and enchants all who approach her.

    It is no accident that the flower arrangement that best bespeaks our grief is the Bleeding Heart: white carnations arranged in the shape of a heart riven by a streak of blood-red roses. Red roses, in particular, are associated with human passion, with the heart, and with precious human blood—all words and things demonstrative of life. They insist, in the face of loss, that love endures.

    Five years ago, on the 16th anniversary of these deaths, I visited the rose garden at the UCA. It was a warm November day in San Salvador, and the roses bloomed in shameless abundance. I was awe-struck by the peace of the place, a small corner that breathes beauty amid a troubled city, blighted by new violences and new injustice, kidnappings and gang killings and grinding poverty, the wars—ever ancient and ever new—waged against the human spirit. I also learned that Obdulio had since died and another gardener has taken over his task of keeping these roses blooming, a husband’s and father’s refusal to forget outliving his own mortal body.

    The strangeness of being in that place—ground where precious lives were lost—and witnessing the testament of roses, made me feel the presence, in an other-worldly way, of the men and women who breathed their last breaths there. The roses were rife with remembrance of people I had never met, and somehow they were there among us, reminding us of how steep the cost of freedom, justice, and peace has ever been (and will ever be).

    “A terrible beauty is born” (gracias, Senor Yeats), and that “Beauty will save the world” (gracias, Senor Dostoyevsky). I wrote the poem below in the days that followed, another attempt at remembrance—though no arrangement of words can offer the solace of a single rose.

    Return of the Saints

    November 19, 2007
    The Rose Garden, University of Central America
    El Salvador

    Tonight the grass is bloodless,
    and you’re surprised to find
    beauty where your bodies once lay,
    your new wounds blooming red as roses.

    The man who planted them is gone.
    For years he tended every stem,
    hands sure as a father’s
    soothing his dying child.

    Only the murdered ones return,
    a gift given in exchange
    for the horror of death in the dark
    roused from your lonely beds.

    Your crimes (un)common as love:
    aiming truth at the face of falsehood,
    claiming justice for the disappeared,
    shaming the proud and the fortunate few.

    No one calls you saints, even now.
    You loiter on the well-trimmed lawn,
    toe stones along the brickwork paths,
    search for your selves in empty rooms,

    then retreat as you once refused
    to retreat, before the coming sun,
    your roses blooming red
    at the heart of the martyrs’ garden.


  •  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!