Among the many reasons I connect with El Salvador and write this blog are the inspirational people and stories I come to know. They include both Salvadorans and people from other countries who walk in solidarity with them. A couple of new books offer stories of inspiration which may influence you.
One book is the self-published Inspiring, Hopeful Voices of El Salvador. This book was compiled by Pastor Donald Seiple and Caroline Schaefer of St. Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church as a labor of love. They write about the book:
This is a collection of nineteen true stories representing El Salvador's remarkable people and those who choose to walk in solidarity with them. It is not a history book, but rather a collection of intimate stories told by its people or by those deeply involved and dedicated to their struggles. These personal accounts grow from interviews with a cross section of Salvadoran people encountered by the Reverend Donald J. Seiple, Pastor Emeritus of St. Stephen, during his twelve years of ministry in this tiny Central American country and by Caroline Sheaffer, a member of St. Stephen. Caroline developed this project to record the stories of the faithful Salvadoran people so that they would never be lost but would inspire others as they did her on her visits to the country.Since I know many readers of this blog have connections to the Lutheran Church in El Salvador, I know you will be interested in this book for its several interviews with people associated with that church. There is information about how to order on their website.
The second book is Vessel of Clay: The Inspirational Journey of Sister Carla. Maryknoll sister Carla Piette grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin and then dedicated her life to service of the poor in Latin America with Maryknoll, first in Chile during the Pinochet regime and then in 1980 in El Salvador. Sister Carla had heeded a call from Oscar Romero for assistance in the church's efforts to protect the vulnerable in El Salvador's growing conflict. She arrived there on the day Romero was assassinated. Later that year, she too would die, drowned in a flash flood as she performed her work.
Sister Carla's story is not well known. It tends to be overshadowed by the murder a few months later of her co-workers, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan and Dorothy Kazel by the Salvadoran military. This book, by Sister Carla's friend from Wisconsin, Jacqueline Hansen Maggiore, does a wonderful job of portraying one woman's dedication to serving the poor, regardless of where that call would lead her.