November 16th, 2016 marked the 27th anniversary of the El Salvador Martyrs, when six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were murdered at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador. This event, which occurred during the Salvadoran Civil War, reminds us of our mission and offers inspiration and vision.
The following men and women were brutally shot and killed in and around the Jesuit Residence on the campus of the University of Central America (UCA) on November 16, 1989: Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., Ignacio Martin-Baro, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, S.J., Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., and Amado Lopez, S.J. as well as their housekeeper, Julia Elba and her daughter, Cecilia Ramos.
In celebration of their lives and witness to the Gospel, a pilgrimage is set up throughout SLUH, marked by stations with images of the martyrs and brief biographies. It begins at the switchboard by the turnaround at the St. Ignatius statue and ends at the North American Martyrs Chapel on the second floor. The pilgrimage will be set up through this Friday, November 18th.
All are invited to take a 10-15 minute walk to pray with the martyrs and reflect on the witness of their lives to love, peace and justice. If you are unable to view the tour in person, click the slideshow below for a virtual tour.
“DO EVERYTHING SO THAT LIBERTY IS VICTORIOUS OVER OPPRESSION, JUSTICE OVER INJUSTICE, LOVE OVER HATE.” – IGNACIO ELLACURÍA, S.J.
STATION #1: JUAN RAMON MORENO
Father Ramon Moreno was born in Navarra, Spain in 1933. After becoming a Jesuit he spent the next eight years in El Salvador and returned in 1970 to direct the Jesuit seminary. While there, he also taught at the UCA. Father Moreno went to Panama in 1976 to set up the Ignatian Center of Central America to promote Ignatian spirituality and returned to El Salvador in 1985. Father Moreno loved working with the poor and wished to be a priest in a rural parish.
Father Ramon Moreno was killed on November 16, 1989 along with seven others in El Salvador for refusing to stop voicing concerns over the human rights issues of the poor.
JUAN RAMON MORENO…. ¡PRESENTE!
STATION #2: JULIA ELBA RAMOS
Julia Elba Ramos was born in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador on March 5, 1947. Elba and her husband Obdulio had four children. At the time of the massacre, Elba and Obdulio had two living children, one of whom was Celina Meredith.
Elba began working at the Jesuit residence at the UCA in 1985. Obdulio also began working at the Jesuit residence as a gardener and watchman. The night of November 11, 1989 Elba and her daughter were sleeping in a small room next to the Jesuits’ dinning hall. Elba was killed alongside her daughter Celina, her body wrapped around Celina’s, trying to protect her from the shooting. The night of the massacre, Celina’s father stayed at their home. He was the first to find the bodies of his wife and daughter alongside those of the murdered Jesuit priests.
JULIA ELBA RAMOS….. ¡PRESENTE!
STATION #2: CELINA RAMOS
Celina Ramos was born in Jayaque, El Salvador on February 23, 1976. In 1989 Celina was a high school student at the José Damian Villacorta Institute in Santa Tecla. The night of November 11, 1989 Celina and her mother were sleeping in a small room next to the Jesuits’ dinning hall. Celina was killed alongside her mother Elba, her mothers body wrapped around her trying to protect her from the shooting. The night of the massacre, Celina’s father stayed at their home. He was the first to find the bodies of his wife and daughter alongside those of the murdered Jesuit priests.
CECILIA RAMOS….. ¡PRESENTE!
STATION #3: IGNACIO MARTÍN-BARÓ, SJ
Father Ignacio Martín-Baró was born in November 7, 1942 in Valladolid, Spain. He was a scholar, social psychologist and philosopher and held many administrative positions at he University of Central America (UCA) after joining the Society of Jesus. Father Martín-Baró founded the University Institute of Public Opinion at UCA in order to look at the attitudes and opinions of the Salvadoran people.
Father Ignacio Martín-Baró was killed on November 16, 1989 along with seven others in El Salvador for refusing to stop voicing concerns over the human rights issues of the poor.
IGNACIO MARTÍN-BARÓ….. ¡PRESENTE!
STATION #4: FR. SEGUNDO MONTES
Father Segundo Montes was born in Valladolid, Spain on May 15, 1933. He began his life as a Jesuit in 1950 and worked at the Externado San José where he taught Salvadoran students. José Ricardo Espinoza Guerra, a former student, was the commander of the solders who would eventually kill Father Montes on November 16, 1989 as part of the Jesuit massacre in El Salvador. Father Montes was a human rights advocate and founded the Human Rights Institute at UCA (IDHUCA).
STATION #5: JOAQUÍN LÓPEZ Y LÓPEZ, SJ
Father Joaquín López y López was born in Chalchuapa, El Salvador in 1918 and became a Jesuit in 1952. In 1969 he helped to raise money to create the organization Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy), which he directed until his death. The organization had a large impact with thirty educational centers and 48,000 beneficiaries including children, youth and adults which addresses the lack of education in El Salvador; an issue of great concern to Father Joaquín López y López.
Father Joaquín López y López was killed on November 16, 1989 along with seven others in El Salvador for refusing to stop voicing concerns over the human rights issues of the poor.
JOAQUÍN LÓPEZ Y LÓPEZ….¡PRESENTE!
STATION #6: IGNACIO ELLACURÍA, SJ
Father Ignacio Ellacuría was born in Bilbao Spain in 1930. He joined the Jesuits at the age of 17 and studied, lived, and worked in El Salvador for 42 years. Ellacuría is known for his contribution to “Liberation Theology” which highlights the importance of liberating individuals who are oppressed in order for humanity to reach its full potential.
He believed that the reason for armed conflict in El Salvador was due primarily to the structure of injustice and it was the injustice that needed to be dealt with in order to end the war. He was assassinated along with seven others on November 16, 1989 for his opposition to the military dictatorship in El Salvador.
IGNACIO ELLACURÍA….. ¡PRESENTE!
STATION #7: FR. AMANDO LÓPEZ
Father Amando López was born in 1936 in Burgos, Spain. He spent much of his time in Central America in Nicaragua and was very active there before and shortly after the Sandinista revolution when he helped many suffering individuals. In 1984, Father López moved back to El Salvador to teach philosophy and theology at the University of Central America. He also served as a pastor to the poor community in Tierra Virgen near Soyapango.
When asked how he felt about leaving San Salvador Farther López responded: “But our hope is not in leaving, it is here. If I leave, the crisis will stay. Here I may be able to effect change.” Father Amando López was killed on November 16, 1989 along with seven others in El Salvador for refusing to stop voicing concerns over the human rights issues of the poor.