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On this day in 1989, six Jesuits and their domestic worker and her 16-year-old daughter were brutally murdered by American trained Salvadoran soldiers at their residence at the University of Central America (UCA) in the city of San Salvador. They were murdered because they and the UCA were perceived by right-wing political powers as favoring the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), an insurgent group that fought against the corrupt government. Moreover, one among them, Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., was openly critical of the government and the violence it perpetrated against its own people. The Jesuit Order, which ran the UCA, always expressed and lived in solidarity with those made poor and victimized by the political perversions of the Salvadorian regime The names of those martyrs are:
The liberation theologian, Jon Sobrino, S.J., was close friend and colleague of the assassinated Jesuits at the UCA. About his friends he wrote:
“It is true that they worked and served in the university, in the Society of Jesus, in the church, but in the final analysis they were not serving and working for the good of the university, the Society of Jesus, or the church. They were working to bring the crucified people down from the cross, in the language of Jesus, to eliminate the anti-kingdom and build the kingdom of God. Thus, they did not use the poor as a means to further their academic or religious interests – an ever present temptation, since we human beings manipulate for our benefit even that which is most sacred – but on the contrary, they used the latter as means for practicing mercy.” (Witness to the Kindgom: The Martyrs of El Salvador and the Crucified People. New York: Orbis Books, 2003. page 198)
Post by Amy Phillips, Rare Materials Cataloger for Woodstock Library