2021: La Casa de la Solidaridad
On Tuesday, October 26, 2021, the Casa de la Solidaridad (usually referred to simply as “Casa“) will receive the Peter Hinde CRISPAZ Peace Award 2021 for its work in solidarity with Salvadoran communities from 1999 to 2017. Trena & Kevin Yonkers-Talz, who were the co-directors of Casa, will receive the award on behalf of the program.
About the Honorees
La Casa de la Solidaridad
Casa was the brainchild of Dean Brackley, one of the Jesuit priests who came to El Salvador to help take the places of the six Jesuits murdered by the Salvadoran army in 1989.
When Dean died of cancer in 2011, the program had been up and running for twelve years. As Jesuit Fr. Steve Privett, the former president of the University of San Francisco, said in his homily at the memorial liturgy for Dean,
Dean and I first became friends when we conspired together to establish Casa. He was the passionate visionary in the trenches and I, the stateside advocate.
In 1999, Dean and Steve hired Trena and Kevin to be the program’s co-directors. They held masters degrees in religious education from Boston College, and had worked in Belize with Jesuit Volunteers International. They guided and developed Casa at every step during its 19 years of existence.
The semester-long program, made available to students at Jesuit and other universities, had four pillars: accompaniment of the poor, rigorous academic study, living simply in community, and spirituality. Each of the students was placed with a poor, struggling community, and spent two full days there each week, sharing the lives of the people who lived there. Some of the communities were in San Salvador; others were in the countryside.
Casa came to be recognized as an effective and innovative educational model. Hundreds of university students — 700 from the U.S. and 65 from El Salvador — took part, working in 16 communities and making hundreds of homestays in Chalatenango province. Others were part of a summer-long health-focused program, and worked in six health clinics.
Many students have said that the Casa experience marked a turning point in their lives. One U.S. student said, “In order to accompany the Salvadorans, I had to learn about their spirituality . . . [and]I had to live simply so that I could better understand how they live… Most importantly, I had to learn what it means to be in a community. Salvadoran culture is very community-centric, and I would not have been able to see the beauty in how they form communities without being a part of the Casa community myself.”
Another student said, “Living in community taught me the importance of supporting one another through challenging and grace-filled experiences. I learned that if I am serious about committing to a life of accompaniment of the poor and faith, I cannot go the road alone. Since returning from Casa, I have sought out or created intentional community in one way or another.”
About the Award
Our annual peace award will henceforth be known as the Peter Hinde CRISPAZ Peace Award, in honor of our co-founder, Fr. Peter Joseph Hinde O. Carm. (1923-2020) and his lifelong commitment to peace and justice for the marginalized.
Inspired by the testimony of the martyrs of El Salvador, the CRISPAZ Peace Award was established in 2009 to recognize individuals or organizations that embody the preferential option for the poor in their work for the promotion of peace and social justice.
CRISPAZ has for more than three decades enabled thousands of individuals, many from North America, to accompany the Salvadoran people in their ongoing struggle for peace rooted in justice and compassion.
2021 Event Sponsors
- Kate Carter and Ann Magovern
- Ted & Diane Von Der Ahe
- Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
- Dr. Thomas Kunkel
- Lloyd and Caroline Sheaffer
- The Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools, Victoria Australia.
- Ignatian Solidarity Network
- The Jesuit Center at the University of Scranton
- Canisius College
- Pat McSweeney
- The order of Carmelites of the PCM Province
- Marthea Jager
- Lloyd and Caroline Sheaffer
Rutilio Grande Circle
- Scott Wright and Jean Stokan
- Ren & Elisa Austing
- Tabor House
Celina and Elba Ramos Circle
- Cathy Cornell & Paul Knitter
- 2020 Sr. Betty Campbell R.S.M and Fr. Peter Hinde O.Carm. (1923 -2020) Long-time peace activist.
- 2019 Jean Stokan and Scott Wright. Long-time peace activist.
- 2018 Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. renowned Liberation Theologian and Professor since 1964 at The University of Central American in San Salvador.
- 2017 Fr. Paul Schindler Long-time missionary with Cleveland Mission Society in El Salvador
- 2016 Fr. Tom Smolich S.J. International Director of Jesuit Refugee Services
- 2015 Hospitalito The Carmelite sisters at the Divine Providence Chapel
- 2014 Asociacion ProBusqueda. Organization that investigates cases of the forced disappearances of children during El Salvador’s civil war.
- 2013 COFAMIDE The Salvadoran Committee of Relatives of Killed or Disappeared Migrants
- 2012 CoMadres Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Prisoners, the Disappeared and the Politically Assassinated of El Salvador
- 2011 Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J.† theology professor at the UCA, and pastoral minister to the rural community of Jayaque, La Libertad
- 2010 Sr. Peggy O’Neill director of the Art Center for Peace in Suchitoto
- 2009 Centro Monseñor Romero at the University of Central America (UCA)