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Guatemalan shares life from exile to reconciliation

Gloria Kinsler, translator and missionary for 30 years in Central America, will give presentations on "Lives Intersecting: The Story of Julia Esquivel" during October, when Julia Esquivel was scheduled to speak. Gloria has known Julia for more than 40 years. Julia is ill and unable to travel to Spokane.

Through her poetry and ministry of reconciliation, Julia has captured the suffering and hope of Guatemalans in poetry that reveals her commitment to advocate for human rights, economic justice and political power for indigenous and poor people in her country. Gloria will read some of Julia's poems, as well as telling the story of Julia's witness.

Julia Esquivel

Visiting Spokane Oct. 12 to 21, she will speak for The Fig Tree’s Faith in Action Dialogue, being offered this fall in collaboration with Women Walking Together, Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, New Priorities Foundation, the Inland Northwest Presbytery and the Kalispel Tribe.

The free public events are at 3 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15, at the Women’s Hearth, 920 W. Second; at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16, at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall, and at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Weyerhaeuser Center at Whitworth University. Those interested in attending her workshop for the Bioneers Conference on Friday, Oct. 19, must register for the three-day conference.

Julia has often shared how the injustices in her land have been tied to U.S. government policies and corporate interests. As an educator, pastoral social worker and writer during 30 years of resistance to dictators in Guatemala, she has spoken on behalf of people who were threatened, traumatized and murdered. Because of her intensity, Gloria said she was at first intimidated by her. Then they became friends.

While some took up arms, Julia edited a magazine, Dialogo, to witness to God’s justice and compassion, and to bring healing to her land. In 1980, death threats forced her into exile, first in a monastic community in Switzerland, and then in Mexico and Nicaragua. She traveled in Europe and North America, telling of the “Guatemalan holocaust.” Returning to Guatemala in 1992, she started a ministry of reconciliation, expressing truth and compassion in her poetry to stir wisdom in the face of suffering and expressing a longing for love and hope to prevail.

For information, call 535-1813.