Many of us pass by the eight crosses in front of the Mission Church daily. They are a part of our familiar landscape but may not provoke thought, question, or recognition. These crosses, however, are a reminder of our University’s close ties to communities in El Salvador and symbolize the lasting relationship between Santa Clara University and Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in San Salvador.
These eight crosses are for six Jesuits (Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J.Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J. Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J.), as well as two women: a university cook (Elba Ramos), and her daughter (Celina Ramos). These eight were murdered in 1989 by the Salvadoran Military during the Salvadoran Civil War. While many of those impacted by the atrocities chose to go into hiding to escape the brutality, the Jesuits publicly stood alongside the Salvadoran people, confident that they had nothing to hide and had done no wrong working for justice. The eight are commonly known as the UCA Martyrs, who stood up against an unjust regime and were targeted for their commitment to their work and ideas that strongly opposed political forces in El Salvador. The brutal 12-year civil war had a lasting impact on the people of El Salvador who still continue to work through the trauma and suffering of the war.
Santa Clara’s relationship with UCA is based in the Jesuit values that we share, values that our community here works to instill in us. Santa Clara has various opportunities available to students, faculty, and staff to foster understanding of the experiences of Salvadorans, and to recognize these shared values. Included in these are the semester-long study abroad program for students to Casa de Solidaridad, a summer ten-day immersion trip for Faculty and Staff, and a summer ten-day immersion trip for students. The Casa de Solidaridad program engages students through living simply in community, deepening spirituality, integrating praxis sites and academic courses, fostering appreciation for the beauty of El Salvador, and giving students the opportunity to become part of the Casa community/family. Summer immersion trips to El Salvador through the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education support intensive reflection and collaboration to build bridges of solidarity and focus on advancing the causes of peace, justice, and human liberation.
Read more about what fellow students are up to now in El Salvador!
Contributed by Claire Ryan’ 14, Sustainability Intern, Residence Life
"Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador," Dean Brackley, SJ
Casa de Solaridad - SCU
The Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education