Students Learn About Poverty and Faith in El Salvador

Students from a liberation theology class at USF pose while traveling in El Salvador. (Courtesy of Elle Lindsey Robinson)

Over spring break, a class of students in the Liberation Theology in El Salvador seminar went on an immersion trip to see firsthand the cities and sites they’ve been learning about in the classroom. The class, taught by theology professor Lois Lorentzen, is the first of six annual seminars about liberation theology in which students go on immersion trips funded by a private donor who wishes to remain anonymous. This course focuses on the role of faith in the liberation of oppressed people in El Salvador, a country whose government has habitually oppressed women, children and impoverished people. The class visited sites they had learned about, such as the village of Mozote where the Salvadoran government, under United States guidance, executed a massacre that killed over 1,000 citizens. Not only did they visit sites, but also they interacted with Salvadoran people actively involved in liberation theology, painting the inside of a church one day and marching in a celebration of the martyr Archbishop Romero, who was killed in 1980 for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed. Junior Ivana Rosas, who went on the trip, said of her experience, “It’s been a long journey. We started in a classroom, and going on this validated everything we learned.” The class will continue to meet for the rest of the semester. Rosas said, “It’s still a journey.”

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