USF's Stand 4 Conference commemorates the 20th anniversary of the killing of six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter by the Salvadoran military.
Twenty years after the killing of six Jesuit priests by members of the Salvadoran army in retaliation for their work promoting social justice in El Salvador, the University of San Francisco commemorated the priests’ deaths with a daylong conference Nov. 16.
The Stand 4 Conference,
with events scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., will provide a forum to
discuss issues of justice, workshops, and a candlelight vigil.
poverty to human rights and political advocacy, the conference,
sponsored by University Ministry, will highlight the solidarity between
USF and the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, where
the Jesuits were murdered.
“These Jesuits were targeted because
of their efforts to promote social justice and to empower the most
vulnerable members of society during a civil war that saw 70,000
Salvadorans killed and over one million people displaced,” said USF
President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. who personally knew the six Jesuits.
Privett called USF the perfect place to host a conference to
commemorate the deaths of the six Jesuits, their cook and her daughter
all of whom were murdered by Salvadoran soldiers, trained and paid by
the US government.
“We remember the martyrs, not for their
sake, but for ours – so that we will be a university community that
pursues its mission of discovering, communicating, and applying
knowledge in the world as it is for most of its inhabitants,” Fr.
Privett said. “We remind ourselves on this occasion that we are held to
a ‘higher standard’ than most universities. We do not say it all when
we say that USF is committed to academic excellence. We are clearly and
obviously about academic excellence, but we are about far more than
that. This anniversary is an occasion for us to focus on the ‘far more’
that Jesuit education offers students and the world in the 21st
The Jesuits’ murders were among countless systematic
killings of political opponents that took place during El Salvador’s
civil war in the 1980s and early 1990s. Most of those killed by the
Salvadoran government’s armed forces and paramilitary death squads were
civilians. The assassination of the Jesuits, their cook and her
daughter, was a result of their unwavering defense of the poor and
oppressed, and resulted in international condemnation for the
Salvadoran government, which ultimately led the government to end the
country’s 12-year civil war.
Killed in the attack were Ignacio
Ellacuria, S.J., 59, a Spanish-born Salvadoran citizen, the rector of
UCA and respected leftist intellectual; Amando Lopez, S.J., 53, a
Spanish-born philosophy professor and Jesuit priest; Joaquin Lopez y
Lopez, S.J., 71, a native Salvadoran and the director of a center for
humanitarian assistance affiliated with UCA; Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J.,
50, a Spanish-born Salvadoran citizen, and an analyst of national and
regional affairs and the founder and director of a highly regarded
polling organization; Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., 56, a Spanish native and
director of two university-related programs; Segundo Montes, S.J., 56,
a Spanish-born sociology professor who worked with Salvadoran refugees
in the United States; Julia Elba Ramos, 42, a cook in the Jesuit
residence, and her daughter Cecilia Ramos, 15.
The day’s events include:
9 a.m. – A Reflection on Ignatian Spirituality, Jesuit education, and the martyrs of UCA. (Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall)
10:30 a.m. – Mass of Commemoration by Fr. Privett (St. Ignatius Church)
p.m. – Keynote speaker Kevin Burke, S.J., academic dean and acting
president of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, and author ofThe Ground Beneath the Cross: The Theology of Ignacio Ellacuria. (St. Ignatius Church)
p.m. – Workshops: A series of workshops on lobbying, advocacy, civil
rights, and litigation presented by the Leo T. McCarthy Center for
Public Service and the Common Good, the Central American Resource
Center, and the Center for Justice and Accountability. (McLaren Complex)
6:00 p.m. – Candlelight Vigil: Procession from St. Ignatius Church to Lone Mountain.