We visited Divinia Providencia where Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero lived and was martyred in 1980. A brief history of Romero: Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was born on August 15, 1917, to Santos Romero and Guadalupe de Jesus Galdámez in Ciudad Barrios. He was born into a very poor family in a dirt floor home. At age 13 he began working to pay his way to seminary in San Miguel but was quickly promoted to seminary in San Salvador and finished his studies in Rome. On April 4, 1942, Romero was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome. Romero remained in Italy to obtain a doctoral degree in theology which specialized in ascetical theology.
On February 23, 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador. His appointment was met with surprise, dismay, and even incredulity. While this appointment was welcomed by the government, many priests were disappointed, especially those openly aligning with Marxism. The Marxist priests feared that his conservative reputation would negatively affect liberation theology's commitment to the poor.
On March 12, 1977 a progressive Jesuit priest and personal friend of Romero, Rutilio Grande, who had been creating self-reliance groups among the poor campesinos (country people), was assassinated. His death had a profound impact on Romero who later stated, “When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, ‘If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path’.” In response to Father Rutilio’s murder, Romero revealed a radicalism that had not been evident earlier. He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture. As a result, Romero began to be noticed internationally.
On March 23, 1980, the day before his death, he gave a homily speaking directly to the soldiers. “Brothers, you are from the same people; you kill your fellow peasants… No soldier is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of God… In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people, I ask you, I implore you, I command you in the name of God: stop the repression!”
Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980 while celebrating Mass in San Salvador at a small chapel in Divinia Providencia. He was speaking about a parable just before he was shot: “Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies… The harvest comes because of the grain that dies… We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us.”
The little museum inside Divinia Providencia
Where Romero's heart was buried
Listening to the story of Romero
Artifacts of Romero
Photos from when Romero died and from his funeral
Artifacts of Romero
The clothes in which Romero was killed
Inside the chapel where Romero was killed
Hearing the story of his death