Recent publications:

Below is an excerpt from of our most recent work: a conceptual map that illustrates the influences on and positioning of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus in Bembibre, Spain. To view the full work, click here .
Concept Map
The Catholic Church Second Stage Francoism (1957-1975)Socio-Political Conjoncture Resistance to FrancoSocio-Political Conjoncture Bembibre, Spain Second Vatican CouncilTheological and Institutional Conjoncture SIJ 1940s/1950s The Spanish Province of The Sisters of the Infant Jesus, St Maur The School Nicholas Barré - Founder (1662)Institute of Charitable Teachers(Founded during era of theological renewal) Novitiate in France;Congregation is Transnational The ArtsMusic, Literature, Theatre Liberation Theology Allende in Chile Paulo Freire’s writings Feminism Character of the congregation Ideas entering the congregation Perfectae Caritatis Transtemporal Inquiry

Resistance to Franco

"I don’t know whether you were aware that in the basement of the school, people from the PSOE (Socialist Party of Spain), the United Left, from Ponferrada and Bembibre came to meet as an underground group…If caught, our school could have been closed."

    - Yolanda Busto Gomez

Nicholas Barré, founder of the congregation

What were Barré’s theological and religious/political views that would penetrate that process of rethinking the apostolate?
  • Christian people can respond to the perfection received when they are baptized
  • In line with XVII century thinking, the Church as the central collectivity and place of reunion
  • Barre was very explicit in not subordinating the Charitable Teachers to the priest
  • The Teachers’ mission was the apostolate; spiritual exercises were to be subordinated to their teaching obligations
  • The Charitable Teachers were expected to share the existential conditions of the poor and take Jesus to them.

Perfectae Caritatis

The Vatican II Council Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, Perfectae Caritatis, focused on religious renewal in light of the original spirit of the Congregation. In response to this decree, the congregation returned to the intentionality of the founder Nicolas Barré, and the theological and intellectual influences of Barré would impact the process of renewal in the Sisters’ apostolate in the twentieth century.

Ideas Entering the congregation

Given the transnational character of their congregation, and having their novitiate situated in Paris, the Sisters were also exposed to developments across the world.

"Sí, yo me acuerdo que en aquel tiempo traían al grupo Quilapayum, los chicos que estaban estudiando en la universidad, porque era clandestino, no se podían escuchar en España, y lo traían grabado y yo tenía veintitantos años… Yo me eduqué con los jóvenes de Bembibre pero en ese intercambio… Y trajimos gente de América y dimos conferencias aquí y dimos conferencias con chicos aquí, con los jóvenes de Bembibre. E hicimos una manifestación sobre la paz. En la Casa de la Cultura (la vieja) nos juntábamos con los gemelos, Maruja… Yo recuerdo de traer y que me pasaban las canciones de Quilapayum y se las ponía a las internas. De las primeras cosas que organizamos fue sobre la teología de la liberación con los jóvenes."

"Yes, I remember that at that time the young people who study at the university brought recordings of Quillapayum [Chilean Group singing left wing folk] ; it was underground , the Group could not be listen to in Spain. The students brought tape recordings and I was twenty something. I educated myself with the young people of Bembibre through that exchange. .. And we brought people from America and we organize seminaries with the young people from Bembibre. ..And we had a peace demonstration. In the old Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture) we me met with the twins, Maruja… I remember that I was given songs from the Quillapayum and I played them for the girls who were boarding. One of the first things that we organize for the young people was on liberation theology."

    - Yolanda Busto Gomez

The decrees from Vatican 2 inspired the mission in Bembibre.

Bembibre, Spain
View of Bembibre Parish Church, 1950s
Sisters of the Infant Jesus - The 1940s an 1950s
The School in Bembibre in the long 1960s
The Sister’s transformation over the long 1960s

In June 2015, in San Sebastian, Spain, I curated an exhibition that accompanied a conference organized by Dr. Bruno-Jofre. Click the image above to look at the exhibition catalogue. The conference program can be viewed here.

I am also participating on the board of editors at Encounters in Theory and History of Education. Click on the image above to view our most recent call for papers.