A Dramatic Film of Martyrdom in El Salvador

November 15, 2023

This Thursday, November 16th, marks the 34th anniversary of the martyrdom in San Salvador of six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and daughter.  

In 1989, amidst a long and bloody civil war, Ignacio Ellacuria SJ and his colleagues worked tirelessly to secure a negotiated peace. Targeted by the Salvadoran military High Command, they were brutally assassinated in their university residence. The sole witness to the event, Lucia Cerna, was subsequently kidnapped by the CIA and FBI.

The film, ‘What Lucia Saw’, is an excellent factual dramatization of the killings and the disturbing aftermath in the United States.

It can be viewed, exclusively and free of charge, on the Archbishop Romero Trust website here.

It is a Spanish production with English subtitles, and it lasts for 103 minutes.

The six Jesuits and their women co-workers are amongst 47 proposed martyrs brought together in a collective Cause for Beatification expected to be formally launched in 2024.


Those who were slaughtered that night were: -

1. Ignacio Ellacuría, aged 59, was Rector of the university, political scientist extraordinaire, distinguished liberation theologian, brilliant philosopher and a leading exponent of Xavier Zubiri’s work.

2. Ignacio Martín-Baró, aged 47, was Vice Rector, distinguished social psychologist focused on human rights and mental health.

3. Segundo Montes, aged 56, was Director of the Human Rights Institute of the University (IDHUCA), which meticulously documented human rights abuses.  His focus was on the extraordinarily vulnerable internal refugees and people displaced by the fighting.

4. Juan Ramon Moreno, aged 56, was a renowned writer, guide and promoter of Ignatian spirituality, librarian of the Romero Centre at the university, and Province Secretary and the Province archivist..

5. Amando López, aged 53, was a lecturer in theology and philosophy and university administrator.

6. Joaquín López y López, aged 71, was Director of ‘Fe y Alegría’ a movement for basic education and social development whose activities are directed to the most impoverished and excluded sectors of Salvadoran society.

7. Julia Elba Ramos, aged 42, was housekeeper/cook to the Jesuit community

8. Celina Ramos, aged 16, was the daughter of Julia Elba.

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