Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Martyrs of El Salvador

Today we commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the brutal murder of six Jesuits and their housekeeper and her daughter in San Salvador.  A group of highly trained soldiers entered the campus of the University of Central America in San Salvador shortly past midnight on Nov. 16, 1989.   Their target was the president of the university, Ignacio Ellacuría Beas Coechea, S.J., the rector of the university.  Killed along side of him were:  Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., vice-rector of the university, a leading expert on Salvadoran public opinion; Segundo Montes, S.J., dean of the department of social sciences; Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J.; Joaquín López y López, S.J.; Amando López, S.J.; Elba Ramos, their housekeeper; and Celina Ramos, her sixteen-year-old daughter.

These brutal murders shocked the world and called people called for immediate retribution.  Those charged were tried and only two were found guilty of the major charges the others were given lesser charges. They were murdered because they were labeled communists and were reported to be in solidarity with the poor.  The civil war in El Salvador lasted 12 years and claimed some 75, 000 lives.

These eight people joined Sisters Dorothy Kazel, OSU; Maura Clarke, MM, Ita Ford, MM and Jean Donovan (an Ursuline volunteer), as well as Archbishop Oscar Romero who were killed in the civil war also.

These senseless murders call for us to reflect on the value of every human being and challenge us to be persons of peace and justice.  May the cry for justice for all people be heard and respected for all.

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