Sandra Spencer

A Memory of Lived Faith in the Base Christian Communities of El Salvador
- A Fruit of Liberation Theology -

By Sandra Spencer (formerly S. Philomena, SSND)

The Holy Family at Rest - the Flight of Egypt, Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), created in 1957. It was a gift to the Shrine by the artist in 1963. Basilica of the Nation Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C. used with permission
The Holy Family at Rest - the Flight of Egypt, Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973). Created in 1957, it was a gift to the Shrine by the artist in 1963. Basilica of the Nation Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C. used with permission.

It happened in the early 1980s in a refugee camp in Honduras. The people confined to this camp were from El Salvador. The population was basically comprised of women, older men, and young children.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame from El Progreso, Honduras had been able to gain access to this camp. Two of the Sisters were actually living there at the time. Our group of SSND’s was invited to come to the camp during the Global Apostolic Awareness Program that was operative in those years. A small group of us went to observe life, accompany the refugees, and to report back on any human rights issues that we might have seen.

The women, children, and men in the camp had come over from El Salvador fleeing the civil war in several different waves.

After a few days, a woman approached me and asked if I would consider coming to a meeting they were initiating. It would be at night because of the danger of meeting in daylight. They realized they were not supposed to gather, but they felt a great need to tell their stories.

Considering the pastoral need, and the women who were willing to meet in spite of the danger if they were discovered, I felt I could trust their sense of risk and their need to share their lives. The group started to gather around 6 p.m. in an old abandoned room that was rather out of the way. In the end, there seemed to be about 60–70 women present, no children. They could not risk their babies crying. Prayerfully consider their and Litany of Liberation. Also available in Spanish.

To learn more about Sandra Spencer, view her biography.

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