CPF Board Chair Issues Statement on Unrest in Bolivia

St. Francis Photo from Campus Leahy Carmen Pampa Bolivia

As our Carmen Pampa Fund team in St. Paul was finalizing our 2019 Annual Report, Bolivia was thrust into the international spotlight.

What first started as relatively peaceful protests in response to Bolivia’s contentiously debated and closely watched presidential election on October 20th, has since become a divisive and impassioned conflict. As there are always two sides (or more) to every story, we won’t attempt to explain the varying points of view on the situation. We only wish to acknowledge the growing conflict and encourage you to learn about it — from multiple media sources.  In the end, we expect you will come to know what we know:  it is a very complex and nuanced conflict with no clear explanations or answers.

Needless to say, it is a time of great uncertainty in Bolivia. It’s impossible to know right now how the conflict will resolve itself in the coming weeks or months. In all the uncertainty, we are certain of only this: the importance of education and preparing young leaders.

Founded 26 years ago on the Feast of St. Francis, the College has worked to empower poor, indigenous youth to be leaders — young Bolivians committed to addressing social and economic injustices. In fact, at the core of the College’s Franciscan spirit and founding mission is a call to “search for truth and goodness.” More than academics, the College exists to promote peace and justice.

It’s in that same Franciscan spirit that I share the St. Francis Prayer for Peace. It’s a prayer that has served as a spiritual reference for students and graduates during the past 26 years. And now seems like the appropriate time to share it as a reflection for all of us.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

If you’ve had the privilege of visiting or living in Bolivia, I know the country holds a special place in your heart. In this time of deep division, we invite you to please keep the Bolivian people in your thoughts and prayers.

Peace and good,

Mark Leahy

Carmen Pampa Fund Board Chair

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