Mary Jo McConahay is a longtime contributor to National Catholic Reporter and a prize-winning author, documentary filmmaker and freelance journalist who has reported from two dozen countries over 30 years. Her work has appeared online and in newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Salon.com, Time and California Lawyer. She is the author of Maya Roads, One Woman's Journey Among the People of the Rainforest and Ricochet, Two Women War Reporters and a Friendship Under Fire. Her book, Tango War: The Struggle between the Axis and the Allies for the Hearts, Minds and Resources of Latin America, 1933-1945, will be published by St. Martin's Press in 2018.
Mary Jo McConahay
Sept. 23, the people of Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala celebrated the beatification of their beloved "Padre Apla's" with an outpouring of prayer, song and splendid display that commemorated his violent death and road to sainthood as the first U.S.-born martyr.
Buenos Aires -- A May 3 Argentina Supreme Court ruling opens the door for early release of people convicted of crimes against humanity during the military dictatorship 1976-1983.
In rural Guatemala, a red double-cabin pickup rumbles past a sign painted on a crumbling adobe wall, Community in Resistance. The lonely road is so rough that passengers leave seat belts unbuckled to avoid bruises from the shoulder straps. When the truck emerges from a forest, a clutch of shelters appears as if imagined into being by a writer of magic realism.
An unholy reaction crossed the mind of Sr. Mary Peter Rowland on a day 33 years ago when she first hit the streets of Guatemala, which was supposed to be her new home. Goats and cows still grazed on lots in the capital, Guatemala City, and the unmistakable smell of animal manure wafted through the air.
"Oh, my God, I don't think I can do this," Rowland recalls thinking. "I'm from Brooklyn."