Reflections from GHRC Founder Alice Zachmann

This year, GHRC Founder Alice Zachmann wrote a letter to our supporters, which we wanted to make available to all those who may not be on our mailing or email lists:


Sister Alice Zachmann

Dear friends of Guatemala and GHRC,

Some time has passed since I last wrote to you about our common concern for the people of Guatemala, but the situation there is never far from my mind. Though I’m no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, I still serve as a member of the Advisory Board, and am still often asked why I founded the organization.

The answer to that question lies in the intertwined histories of Guatemala and my own life.

My first visit to Guatemala was in 1975. In many ways it seems so long ago, yet in other ways, such a short time ago. I traveled that first time to visit a friend, Sister Rita from my community, who was a missionary in San Lucas Toliman working to support the efforts of the people to improve their lives. After a week, I was smitten by the natural beauty of the people and the country, but appalled by the poverty, neglect and discrimination against the Mayan people. I left with the determination to help as much as I could by sending supplies to the clinic with anyone I knew going to Guatemala. I continued my ministry at a parish in St. Paul, MN until October of 1981 when I received a request from Guatemalans and returned missionaries to visit them in Washington, DC. Continue reading