Voices of the Americas:
Remembering the Martyrs: A Challenge for Our Journey
December 1-5, 2005
San Salvador, El Salvador
An extraordinary meeting was held in San Salvador, El Salvador
December 1-5, 2005. Dominicans from Latin America, the Caribbean
and North America came together including representatives
of CODALC, the Confederation of Dominicans in Latin America
and the Caribbean, CIDALC, the Inter-Provincial Conference
of Dominicans in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Dominican
Leadership Conference (USA) the Dominicans of Canada, DSI,
Dominican Sisters International and participants from Santa
The purpose of the gathering was 1) to make stronger connections
among Dominicans in the North and the South; 2) to share
experiences of justice and peace as sisters and brothers
from South to North and North to South; 3) to celebrate
our collaboration past and present, and to dream about our
future together and 4) to remember the martyrs and invite
them to give us new life.
We chose the sacred ground of El Salvador because God passed
through here through the blood of the martyrs, who gave
their lives for truth and justice. We celebrated the 25th
Anniversary of the El Salvador martyrs: Maryknoll Sr. Ita
Ford, Sr. Maura Clark, Sr. Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan.
As well as remembering the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar
Romero and the Jesuits of UCA. We embraced them as the living
dialogue between South and North/North and South.
It was easy for us to laugh together and sing songs together
-- as if we were all old friends who have known each other
for a long time --like family returning home from a long
a journey. We shared our tears for the martyrs we know and
for the martyrs that have no name, who died of hunger, or
war, or neglect. We shared our tears for the poor whose
face is hidden and whose voice is silent. And in our exchange,
we found that our tears have the same bitterness, the same
hope, the same struggle. We found that a child who is hungry
in SanPaolo, is the same child who is hungry in New York.
We used the see, judge and act process in order
to analyze the situation of our world today. The first day,
we saw who we were and examined the realities of
each person in the group. We discovered that we were many
nationalities, many cultures, many ages, men and women.
The second day, we encountered the people and history of
El Salvador, visiting holy ground and hearing sacred stories
of the martyrs. The third day, we judged the reality
and began to name some truths about the world we live in
with the help of Jon Sobrino, SJ, Central American theologian.
With his reflection we began to rekindle hope from the perspective
of the poor. The fourth day, December 2nd we joined the
people of San Salvador, the Maryknoll Sisters, along with
hundreds of North American religious, in the crypt of the
Cathedral, where the tomb of Oscar Romero lies. There we
celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the martyrdom of the
four church women in a lively and joyous Eucharist. On the
fifth day, we shared reflection on Isaiah 40, a biblical
text which opens us to hope and invites us to raise a prophetic
voice in our work for justice and peace.
We found that we had a common ground together.
• We stand in the common conviction that we must
announce truth to the powerful.
• Our hope for the future comes from the shared memory
of the martyrs.
• Our own salvation abides in solidarity with the
• We all participate in the universal struggle for
human dignity and human right in their totality.
• We recognize that war and militarization impact
both North and South.
• We share a conviction about recovering the ideal
of authentic democracy that respects the rights of citizens,
which as been compromised by the political power of our
• We recognize that the economic model of the present
day increases the gap between rich and poor both in North
• From all of our convictions, we believe, as the
World Social Forum proclaims, “another world is possible”.
We also identified some difficulties which must
• We suffer the same realities, but we do not have
the same concept of those realities. Our points of departure
• The difficulty of language is not only linguistic,
but rooted in meaning.
• Both in the North and in the South, the poor are
hidden and without a voice, the middle class and wealthy
turn their face and do not want to see suffering and poverty.
• In the North, suffering is privatized and difficult
to express openly. The expectation is to be strong and self
• In the South, suffering is a part of daily experience
and is seen as a pathway to the holy by the poor.
Principles of Analysis: In the process of doing
social analysis we recognize the following pre-requisites:
These things must be present first in order to do justice:
• Compassion comes from authentic closeness with
• Passion for truth comes from dialogue and remaining
close to real situations of the world
• The presence of personal inner freedom and openness
• Work for justice and peace between South and North
requires a spirit of complementarity without prejudices
• Work for justice and peace between South and North
invites us to a contemplative awareness of the Word of God
in Sacred Scripture and in the people
Commitments: our work together
led us to act in the following areas:
Dominican Leadership Conference (USA)
1. We will post a news release and this declaration on
DLC’s website and Domlife.org.
2. The North American Co-Promoters of Justice, Peace and
Care of Creation, who were not present in our delegation,
will be invited to engage in the continuation of this process.
3. DLC will provide a CD of photos of this meeting to share
with DLC congregations and provinces and with the whole
4. We will work with CIDALC and CODALC and Canada to create
links among our websites and share the perspective of South
with North and North with South through stories and commentary.
5. We will identify a group of translators for ongoing work
in Spanish and French.
6. Our NGO Representative in NY will contact the International
Co-Promtoers of justice and Peace to add to the agenda in
Prouihle, a dialogue about the possibility of a seminar
on Immigration, Work and Free Trade.
7. Our NGO Representative in NY will send information from
the UN on trade agreements and immigration to Latin American
8. We will contact the Dominican High School Preaching Program
and College Preaching Programs to help build awareness of
9. We will be sure that this topic will be on the agenda
of our 2006 Annual Meeting in Sinsinawa. We will ask delegates
who are present at this meeting and who will be present
at the Annual Meeting to be part of the report.
10. DLC staff and Executive Committee will consider sharing
and raising awareness of South/North relationships to new
members, students, novitiates and encouraging new members
to have experiences outside of North American culture.
11. Our NGO Representative in NY will contact Dominicans
in the USA who are working in immigration to share their
stories with South and North.
12. We will encourage the Justice and Peace Promoters to
include immigration and human trafficking in the 2006 Call
to Action Meeting in July, 2006.
1. At our 2007 Assembly, we will put this experience on
2. Each zone will transmit information bout this meeting
within the zone.
3. We will share information in each country at the Federation
and secretariat level.
4. We will communicate with the Justice and Peace promoters
in each zone and share information on immigration.
5. We will bring this information to the Justice and Peace
Meeting in Ecuador in June, 2006.
6. We will find ways to share information with DomLife.org.
7. We will put information on our website.
1. We will post this declaration on our website and create
a link to Domlife.org.
2. Each delegate committed himself to write a one-page reflection
on this meeting which will be posted on the website.
3. We will communicate in each zone about it.
4. We will publish the results and the action steps that
come out of the Justice and Peace groups.
5. We ill circulate the proceedings of the CEDI meeting
in Costa Rica.
6. We commit to work with COFADALC and develop the idea
of creating sister cities in Latin American and North America.
7. We made a commitment to publish a book on the letters
of sisters in prison.
8. We would like to propose to begin collecting the story
of Dominican martyrs, catechists, delegates of the Word,
North and South. To create a new Dominican Martyrology.
9. We salute the process that is taking place in Mexico
on migrants at the border.
10. We propose a gathering of Dominican in Mexico and at
the US southern border which will be open to everyone on
11. We propose a North/South seminar on Immigration, Work
and Free Trade convened by the International Commission
for Justice, Peace and Care of Creation.
1. We agreed to initiate informal contact at the dinner
table about this meeting with as many sisters and friars
2. We will put this meeting on the agenda of the Provincial
3. We will publish something in the newsletter.
4. We will talk with the webpage editor of the Order (www.op.org)
about how we might share information.
5. We ill publish (every two months) a column in our news
bulletin “North/South South/North”.
6. We will make contact with other Dominican entities in
Canada to inform them.
7. We will find people who are interested in this relationship
to start a committee.
8. We will talk with other groups and organizations in Canada
about their experience and work on immigration.
9. If people would like to come to the 2008 Eucharistic
Congress in Canada, please contact us.
1. Joao Xerri and Chrys McVey will present a report of
this meeting tothe master general and Council, with aid
2. Margaret Ormond will inform prioresses in Asia-Pacific,
Africa and Europe.
3. Margaret, Joao, Rose Ann Schlitt and Chrys will meet
with co-promoters of Justice and Peace, Prakash and Marie-Therese
Periault, OP, to share how we see the link with J&P.
4. We will prepare a report for IDI.
5. Margaret and Chrys will contacts leaders of groups here
in one year’s time for a progress report.
6. DVI will publish results in their bulletin, and connect
with local J&P.
7. Marcio Coute, OP and Chrys, during IEOP meeting, Easter
week in Dybrovnik, will share the experience of this meeting,
using the experience of the provincials themselves. They
will start again the process of forming a European Dominican
Family Secretariat (mandated by Krakow).
8. Marcio and Chrys will also share with the Dialogue Commission,
meeting in Istanbul in June, the relevance of this meeting
for the work of the commission.
9. Marcio and Chrys will work together toward putting in
practice the exchange of students, also mandated by Krakow.
10. DVI will publish in their bulletin and make a connection
the justice and peace people
We invite the Dominican Family in the Americas to engage
in dialogue about justice and peace. We believe that the
work of justice and peace is ineffective without this dialogue
between North and South and South and North. We commend
this work to Maria de Guadeloupe, Mother of the Americas.