Remembering Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J. (1946-2011)

BY CHRIS KERROctober 16, 2011

The University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, El Salvador, announced earlier today that Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J., passed away this weekend after a brave struggle against cancer.  Brackley was  sixty-five years old and had been living, teaching, and ministering in El Salvador for the majority of the past eleven years.

After the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests at the UCA in El Salvador, Brackley volunteered to leave the U.S. for the war-torn country and begin ministering as a professor, academic administrator, and pastoral minister to poor communities in El Salvador.  He became known as a passionate theologian, writer, and advocate for the poor of Central America and throughout the world.  He spoke at many Jesuit universities across the U.S. about solidarity and social justice and at various times taught at a number of them as well.  In 2003, Brackley spoke at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, in Columbus, Georgia.   In 2004, he released well known book “The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times”.

Brackley entered the Society of Jesus in 1964, became a priest in 1976, and earned a doctorate in Religious Social Ethics from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School in 1980.

Read the statement from the UCA at:

Articles, Audio, and Video Excerpts from Dean Brackley, S.J.:

Higher Standards for Higher Education: The Christian University and Solidarity
Speech at Creighton University – November 4, 1999

Enemies of War: Yanquis Return to El Salvador
PBS – 2001

The Jesuit University in a Broken Wolrd
Loyola Marymount University – January 25, 2005

“Justice in Higher Education” Keynote Address
John Carroll University – October 16, 2005

Audio Interview with Dean Brackley
Commonweal Magazine – February 21, 2008

Brackley Receives Pedro Arrupe Award at University of Scranton
University of Scranton – May 3, 2010

Migrants: Illegals or God’s Ambassdors
National Catholic Reporter – March 14, 2010

Obama’s visit to the land of Romero leaves behind questions
National Catholic Reporter – March 24, 2011

Jesuit who replaced slain Salvadoran priests dies
National Catholic Reporter – October 17, 2011

Meeting the Victim, Loving the Poor (introduction by James Martin, S.J.)
America Magazine – October 19, 2011

Video Reflection created by former students and friends of Fr. Brackley
YouTube – October 20, 2011

Rev. Dean Brackley, 65, Dies; Served in El Salvador
New York Times – October 29, 2011

Books written by Dean Brackley, S.J.:
The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola Divine Revolution: Salvation and Liberation in Catholic Thought

2 replies
  1. Megan Kamerick
    Megan Kamerick says:

    I was so fortunate to meet him in November 2009 when a group of us from Albuquerque attended the UCA 20th anniversary commemoration. He was wonderfully generous with his time and so informative about what was happening in the country at that time. And he was a wonderfully warm and welcoming person as well.

  2. Caroline Kilduff
    Caroline Kilduff says:

    Dean had such a profound impact on my life. I knew him from the semester at Fordham University in the Bronx before he left for El Salvador. It was a “happy accident” that we met – the Theology class I signed up for was switched to his Community Service Theology class. Learning from him, being in his presence….you just knew he was special. He taught a classroom of privileged college kids how to SEE the world. Living in the Bronx, so many needed help – soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries. So we got out and made a difference. The most important lesson….these are not charity cases but PEOPLE entitled to RESPECT and DIGNITY. To know he’s gone so soon, breaks my heart a bit. Every Oct.16 I go to church, I light a candle, I say a prayer and I shed a tear. Bless you Fr. Brackley


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