The history of Maryknoll in Latin America is rich and deep. Our commitment to the promotion of social justice and peace in the region cost several of our missioners their lives during the years of oppression, including Fr. Bill Woods, MM in Guatemala (1976), and Sisters Ita Ford, MM, Maura Clarke, MM and Carla Piete, MM in El Salvador in 1980. Some, like Fr. Miguel D’Escoto in Nicaragua, have served in public roles in support of those who live in poverty. Countless others have accompanied the Central American people in their daily struggles for survival, for social justice, for an end to the violence that destroys their communities; for new life.
Among the particular concerns of Maryknoll in Latin America are poverty, its causes and consequences; migration and refugees; health care, especially holistic care that includes good nutrition and preventative care; access to essential medicines for treatable or curable illness; HIV and AIDS; the rights and dignity of women and children; the response of authorities to the growth in gang violence; mining concessions; just trade agreements; debt cancellation; small and subsistence farming and other work accessible to people who are poor; and environmental destruction.