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  •  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.

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    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.

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  •  “El ejemplo” | Remembering Oscar Romero

    Friday, Mar. 30, 2012

    Written by John Byrd

    Published on www.ignatiansolidarity.net

    During our time together in Mariona, my new friends Oti and Aida have filled many hours sharing their memories of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The strong hug he provided in a time of struggle. His homilies echoing from every radio in town. Even the horrors that they encountered at his funeral.  But, as we shared a cup of coffee in a small room of Oti’s house, I asked them for a few words to describe this man and they both had to pause for a moment. “… love… solidarity… a voice for the voiceless… the fight… the defender of the poor…” As I listened to these two women speak, one word resounded in my mind “ejemplo.”

    Archbishop Romero was, and continues to be, an example for those of us who desire to live our lives oriented toward social justice.  He placed himself firmly on the side of the poor and took their struggles to be his own.  He used his privilege and strength as the head of the Church of San Salvador to call for a more just nation.  He listened intently to the needs and desires of poor and suffering Salvadorans and he responded not only in words but in deeds.  During his three years as Archbishop, Monsignor Romero lived simply, prayed constantly, and refused to compromise his morals.

    Reflecting on my situation as a student at a Jesuit university, I have begun to see that this man exemplifies all of the qualities this education tries to foster in me.  I heard the phrases “men and women for and with others,” and “the preferential option for the poor” a thousand times since I was in high school but it was when Oti and Aida spoke of the Monsignor that I fully realized what this sort of life looks like. My hope is that I will be able to convert this new understanding and follow the example Archbishop Oscar Romero has set when I return home from this semester at the Casa de la Solidaridad in El Salvador.

     “…amor… solidaridad… Voz de los sin voces… lucha… defender de los pobres…”

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    John Byrd with praxis site partners, Shannon and Brianne, at Mariona.