Southwestern University announces the visit of Fernando Cardenal to campus on February 3, 2009. Cardenal is a Jesuit priest who served as minister of education and national coordinator of the Literacy Crusade during the Sandinista government in the 1980s. After completing his Jesuit studies in 1969, Cardenal joined colleagues in Colombia where he lived in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in the city of Medellin. His experiences in Colombia led him to dedicate his life to the liberation of the poor and to the struggle for social justice. Shortly after he returned to Nicaragua in the early 1970s, he was recruited by the Sandinista Front for National Liberation that ousted the Somoza dictatorship in 1979. Cardenal is recognized as a major intellectual and practitioner of theology of liberation. He is now director of Fe y Alegria in Nicaragua. The organization has been active in several Latin American countries for more than fifty years. Founded in the 1970s in Nicaragua, Cardenal leads an effort to bring popular education and sustainable development to poor and marginal urban and rural communities. In August 2008, he published his memoirs entitled Sacerdote en la Revolucion, a personal reflection on ethical, religious, political, and social issues affecting Nicaragua, Latin America, and the world over the past forty years.

The public access event, A Jesuit Priest in Revolution, will take place on Tuesday, February 3 at 4 pm in the Howry Center with a reception to follow. Through Spanish to English translation, Cardenal will speak about his life commitment to liberation theology, social justice and popular education and engage diverse audiences in direct  interaction and conversation.

The event is sponsored by the Global Citizens Fund, Fleming Lectures in Religion, and the Departments of Political Science, Religion and Philosophy, International Studies, Latin American Studies, History, and Spanish.

Suggested reading:

Michael Dodson, Nicaragua’s other revolution : religious faith and political struggle, Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Gustavo Gutierrez, A theology of liberation: history, politics, and salvation, Maryknoll, N.Y., Orbis Books, 1973.


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