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Remembrance of the Salvadoran Martyrs

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010
Remembrance of the Salvadoran Martyrs

Dear Members of the SCU Community,

In front of our Mission Church, the eight white wooden crosses bear the names of six Jesuits and two women who were brutally executed by members of the Salvadoran army on November 16, 1989. Our university joins with the Ignatian family throughout the world to pause and remember the price paid by these Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter at our Jesuit University of Central America in El Salvador.  They were slain by the government because they were educating their students about issues of human rights, economic justice and social responsibility in a society marred by extreme oppression. They were calling their university community to be instruments of transformation. Those crosses are a sober reminder of the important work we are about as a Jesuit educational institution.

I'd like to share words from Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., one of the slain Jesuits, who offered the Commencement Address here at Santa Clara in June,1982. In his comments, Fr. Ellacuria said, "We, as an intellectual community, must analyze causes; use imagination and creativity together to discover remedies; communicate to our public a consciousness that inspires the freedom of self-determination; educate professionals with a conscience, who will be the immediate instruments of transformation; and continually hone an educational institution that is academically excellent and ethically oriented.

Their commitment, their faith, their witness have fostered a deeper commitment to justice in the Ignatian family throughout the world and within our own university. The ongoing relationships we have cultivated through immersion trips, the Casa de la Solidaridad program, and scholarly exchanges have served to open our community to the many challenges of our brothers and sisters and to fulfill our vision in which we declare our desire to "educate citizens and leaders of competence, conscience and compassion and cultivate knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world."

On Sunday December 5th special acknowledgment of their sacrifice and that of the four churchwomen slain in El Salvador thirty years ago will be made at the 9 PM liturgy in the Mission Church.

May their extraordinary sacrifice continue to be a source of inspiration as we seek to transform our minds and enlarge our hearts.

Michael E. Engh, S.J.


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