In the early hours of November 16, 1989, a battalion from the Salvadoran army entered the campus of the University of Central America in San Salvador and shot 6 Jesuit priests in the head because they were intellectuals—and because they spoke against the war and the oppression of the poor. Unexpectedly, the troops also found the housekeeper and her daughter in a nearby room. They were at the University because they sought shelter from the violence in their neighborhood.
The Jesuits believed the Salvadoran poor were “crucified peoples’ who bore the wounds and cross of Jesus. They could not be silent about injustice, just as St. Oscar Romero could not be silent. Because they were the “voice of the voiceless,” they were killed to silence their challenging, prophetic words. Hopefully, their life and death give us courage to speak the truth and to be a voice for justice, locally and globally, in our country and in El Salvador, the land our Sister Community.
The memorial rose garden, near the location the Jesuits were killed, is a reminder of the promise of new life, of resurrection, for all who embrace the cross of Jesus.