2020: Sr. Betty Campbell R.S.M. & Fr. Peter Hinde O.Carm.
Honoring Sr. Betty Campbell, R.S.M and Fr. Peter Hinde. O.Carm.†
Sr. Betty Campbell and Fr. Peter Hinde, O.Carm† were honored with the 2020 CRISPAZ Peace Award.
This year’s award ceremony was held virtually on November 17, 7:00 PM-8:00 PM EST. You can watch the ceremony below.
About the Honorees
Betty was the last of thirteen, with 9 brothers and 3 sisters. Her musician parents led her to develop her talents in music and art. Three brothers entered the field of medicine. Their father, an enterprising engineer, died when she was 11. Her mother began working in a Mercy Sisters’ hospital in Davenport, IA. Betty took up a nursing career. A few years later, she entered the Mercy Sisters’ congregation.
Betty has spent most of her professional life in solidarity with Latin America. As a nurse, she went to Sicuani, Peru in 1962, joining the pastoral team of Carmelite fathers and brothers, Mercy sisters, and PAVLA (Papal Volunteers for Latin America) volunteers. She worked in a small government hospital which, in 1964, she saw flooded with dead and wounded campesinos who had been attacked by the army as they staged a peace protest calling for the application of a land reform decree. For a while, she worked as head administrator of the hospital, but later left that to work in public health
Employing her talents in music and art, Betty organized a 28-person polyphonic choir, which gave presentations in a local theater. She did artwork that adorned the main hall of the parish and the tower of the cathedral. Ten choir members, along with Betty and Peter, formed a comunidad de base that served as the nucleus for a parish council and, later, a diocesan council
At their meeting in Medellin in 1968, the Latin American bishops called on religious to insert themselves in the life of the poor working class. Betty lived among the people in the new Christian base communities, experiencing theology of liberation and becoming aware of the U.S.’s unjust policies in Latin America. In 1971-72 she lived with Antonina Callo, a Quechua single mother, and her two children in a poor rural Quechua community. These experiences led Betty to change, prefer a simple lifestyle, and move away from consumerism and materialism. When she left Sicuani in 1973, she wrote about her experience with this type of ministry in a bi-lingual Spanish-Quechua health manual for rural communities entitled, “Khali Kaninchis.”
In 1973, Betty co-founded Tabor House, a Catholic Worker community, with Peter Hinde, O.Carm. Mary Sears, RSM, and Tadéo “Spike” Zywicki. Having grown up with 12 siblings, Betty found the Tabor mixed style of life congenial. A contemplative political action community, Tabor’s aim was twofold: to draw attention to the detrimental social and economic effects of U.S. governmental and corporate interest in Latin America and give hospitality to the homeless and political refugees.
One focus was with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and friendship with one of the founders, Laura Bonaparte, an Argentinian mother with six family members among the disappeared. Betty attended the meeting of family members of the disappeared at which FEDEFAM (Latin American Federation of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared) was formed, and joined Laura at the first public outcry in Buenos Aires of thousands of people in a march protesting the military government’s self-declared amnesty, “Punta Final.”
In 1978, during Nicaragua’s civil war, Betty was invited by the Sandinista rebels to work for a month at the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, in the clinic of a refugee camp. In 1979, she worked in another clinic in Triunfo, Honduras in early July,¸and when, on July 19, the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship, she moved the clinic across the border to Somotillo, Nicaragua. Later she went to Estelí to open a clinic in barrio Oscar Gomez.
Because she had participated in an action at the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund to protest its funding of the Somoza regime, she had to return to the U.S. for a trial date in Washington, DC in October. Before leaving Nicaragua, she went to the Central American Bank to gather information for the trial. By that time, Somoza had fled with the money loaned, so the trial was canceled and the charges dropped.
Responding to Archbishop Romero’s call for volunteers to accompany his people in El Salvador, Betty went to San Salvador in August 1980. The Archdiocese asked her to help as a nurse. She was sent to a parish church basement where 200 displaced people were being sheltered. She set up a clinic there and trained health promoters. When she had finished her work there, she was taken back to the archdiocesan office by the pastor, Fr. Manuel Antonio Reyes. He was later murdered for starting to build a permanent clinic in the parish. In another refugee camp, located behind the seminary, Betty helped set up procedures for caring for the wounded. At another camp, located in the basement of Sacred Heart Basilica, she set up a simple labor/delivery room for the many women about to have babies who were fleeing the bombing in the countryside.
Betty began to work with Maryknoll Sisters Carla Piette and Ita Ford in Chalatenango. She last saw Carla alive after a meeting at the bishop’s office, as Carla was hiding medicine in her jeep. She told Betty she had just finished making a retreat. As a North American, she had been feeling the weight of the social sin of her own government’s involvement in supporting and aiding the repression. She had come to see assisting the refugees, coupled with her solidarity with the people, as a way of disassociating herself from U.S. government policy and countering the sinful structures that tarnished all U.S. citizens.
A few days later, Carla and Ita were caught in a heavy rainstorm. When their jeep tipped over as they tried to cross a swollen river, Carla drowned, and Ita barely escaped. The following day Betty helped Ita with the trauma she had suffered and joined her at Carla’s funeral of Chalatenango. Ita and Maura Clarke, who replaced Carla, began to take Betty to the villages around Chalatenango to teach the people first aid, how to care for wounds and give injections. They gave Betty the name “Maria” and never told her the names of the villages they visited as a safeguard, in case she were picked up by the military. Many of their friends were killed: people in human rights work, nurses, priests, campesinos.
Then the four churchwomen — Ita and Maura, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan — were murdered, an event that shocked the church, the country, and the world. Betty accompanied the religious to Chalatenango for the Mass, funeral procession, and burial of Ita and Maura. She joined the many people who accompanied the bodies of Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donavan to the airport; they were flown to the U.S. for burial there. Betty and Peter were asked to return to the U.S. to rebut the lies of U.S. officials and give testimony about the life and work of their friends.
Tabor House in Washington D.C. was closed from 1981 to 1983, as the community was involved in solidarity work that took members on trips to Latin America. Betty and Peter spoke of the churchwomen and the suffering people and quoted Bishop Romero’s letter to President Carter asking that the U.S. government stop giving military aid to El Salvador.
They gave many talks across the U.S., describing the situation in Latin America and the U.S.’s political and military involvement there. They supported the Sandinista revolution as a real hope for all of Latin America, and they denounced the killing and disappearing of opposition leaders, a practice of the U.S.-supported dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
From 1977 to 1999, Betty and Peter went to Central America for two or three months each year to find out what was happening, take testimonies of the people suffering repression, and examine the role of the U.S. They took two long trips through Latin America by bus, receiving hospitality from families and churches, for six months from November 1976-May 1977, and nine months from June 1986-March 1987. All of the trips were undertaken to understand the reality, especially how the people saw the U.S. government and corporate involvement so that they could then share that testimony in the talks they would give in the U.S.
In 1984 Peter co-founded CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador). In 1988 Betty and Peter spent three months in Cuba to study the experience of the Catholic Church there and wrote up their experience to counter U.S. propaganda. The 99-page text was never published, for the situation of the people changed dramatically after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
From 2000 to the present, Betty has accompanied Peter on annual trips to El Salvador to become updated on the situation.
In 1995 Betty, Peter, and Spike moved to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to open Casa Tabor and accompany the church and the people in the border region. They soon began to receive delegations from parishes and schools in the U.S., intent on learning about the refugee situation at the border. Betty told them about the terrible violence suffered by families here; in recent years, Ciudad Juarez has at times been rated as the most violent city in the world.
Neighbors asked Betty if she could create a space for the women to share their lives. Since then, she has been giving workshops and serving as a facilitator for women’s groups dealing with issues of self-esteem, domestic violence, and the economic reality. Betty has learned a lot from the women about the reality of domestic violence, and bout how difficult it is to raise a family with the low pay the women earn in the assembly plants (the maquilas) and in domestic work. Betty has learned how the U.S. factories in Ciudad Juarez exploit the workers.
Tadeo followed his usual pattern of writing his chronicle and would cross back to El Paso once a week to buy a New York Times. The altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level became a problem for him as he was taking Coumadin for his blood. The combination made him bleed at the slightest cut or bump. He decided to move to McAllen, Texas, where he was hosted by Mercy Sister Marion Stromeyer after her father died; Tadeo and her father had been friends. Tadeo died in McAllen in July 2003. Betty and Peter, along with Tabor folk from San Antonio, conducted his funeral.
Betty and Peter worked hard at converting an abandoned adobe house into Casa Tabor. Betty cleaned up the patio, set up raised gardens for vegetables, and sought help to build the chicken coop, all the while providing her TLC for the chickens. Peter put up the pallet fence and laid out the labyrinth to help provide an atmosphere for prayer and reflection. Over a period of years Betty painted different memorial murals and developed the liturgy on the mystery of Ciudad Juarez. Simple lifestyle and respect for nature have become their central focus for life on the border.
Beginning in 1996, Betty and Peter crossed the border to El Paso every week to protest — at first against George H. W. Bush’s war on children and on the people of Iraq. Together with a small group, they continue to gather every Friday in front of the U.S. Federal Court House to protest the continuing wars of the misguided U.S. leadership.
In the patio of Casa Tabor in Ciudad Juarez, Betty has painted memorial murals on the wall of the arbor. Among the names written there: the 263 journalists killed in Mexico since 1993; the 56 priests killed in Mexico since 1990; the 43 students disappeared in Ayotzinapa; and the names of some of the 1,970 women and 18,443 men killed in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, some of the people disappeared in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, and some of the 450 migrants that die in the U.S. desert every year.
Betty asks that people in the delegations write names on the wall, stand in a circle and read the names, and then say a prayer. The people then take the names they have written home with them to remember them. People in Latin America suffering under dictatorial control did not have that opportunity; they had to wait till nightfall to write the names of their beloved on the walls of their cities.
Then someone in the delegation reads the words of former president Rafael Correa of Ecuador in 2009, when he visited El Salvador on the 20th anniversary of the massacre of the six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper, and her daughter: “The permanent struggle to change the conditions of life of our peoples constitutes: our profession of life, our song of love, our celebration of memory…taking the Christs down from their crosses…giving the heart…sowing dignity…risking our lives for the poor, the needy.”
Emilia Requenes, a teacher of children, came to join Betty in her work with the women. After a few years working together, she asked to join Casa Tabor. She stays in her own house, but frequently comes for prayer, breakfast, and planning. That was the pattern also for Dallas missionary Fr. Jim McKenna over the years till illness retired him to the care of a family nearby here in Juarez. As a diocesan priest, he treasured his independence. He died in 2016.
In 2012 Carmelite Brother David Semmens Joined Casa Tabor. He is the chaplain at the Federal Detention Center for refugees in El Paso. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso let him rent a little house on the campus of an area for retired priests. He adopted a vegan-type diet and found the earth their ideal for growing a garden. Until the Coronavirus struck, he came over every weekend to encourage us to respond to climate change. He leads the Carmelite Justice and Peace Integrity of Creation commission. Peter is a member of the same commission.
For those who have been received with love and respect not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America, U.S. immigration policy has become the greatest contradiction and pain; they continue to witness it up close. They take the considerable funds given to them by friends in the U.S. for work at the border and steer directly to the ministry for the refugees in El Paso and Juarez. Thank God for the solidarity between peoples across all borders.
His birth certificate and passport read “James J. Hinde, born in Elyria, OH,” as his Mom got off the train there to bring him to the light of day in a nearby hospital. Esther and Joe Hinde continued on to Sandusky from Cleveland to show their firstborn to grandparents. Travel would mark his future. Three sisters and a brother would follow him to round out the family, by that time living in Blue Island, a south suburb of Chicago.
He got off to a good start in baseball, thanks to his dad, and in his studies, thanks to the School Sisters of Notre Dame. At Mt. Carmel High, he was an excellent student and was named valedictorian of his class after working his way through school (1941). In his second year at Illinois Institute of Technology, he enlisted in the Army Air Force and was called up for active service in February 1943. He arrived on the island of Ie Shima, Okinawa, in late July 1945. On a mission to Seoul, Korea, his Squadron flew over Nagasaki three days after the atom bomb had been dropped there. He saw where the city had been, but for a brain-washed pilot at 15,000 ft, it was simply a casualty of war.
He was promoted to the rank of Captain in the Reserves after 3 1/2 years in the service, including 18 months of in the Pacific. During that time, he read a little book a chaplain had given him, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.” Reading it helped him decide to study for the priesthood.
In the Fall of 1946, he entered the Carmelite Seminary at Niagara Falls, Canada. In the novitiate, he was given the religious name Canisius. He did theology studies at the Carmelites’ Theology House in Washington, D.C., and was ordained in June 1952. After teaching for three years at Carmel High School and seminary, he went to Wolfnitz, in the Austrian mountains, for three years of contemplative life. Befriending fellow Carmelites who were German veterans from WWII, he began to break out of the shell of U.S. culture.
Three years later, while traveling through Europe, he met a young Japanese Catholic priest in Paris. Using Peter’s map and motorcycle, they teamed up to tour Paris, and then went by train to Lisieux, where St. Therese of Lisieux had lived and died. They began to share more deeply, and Peter discovered that, like him, his companion had been a fighter pilot, and that while he was in training, he had lost his whole family when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
The two were stunned by the providence of their meeting. After a long silence, Peter said, “When we get to Lisieux, I will celebrate Mass in reparation for the atrocities of the U.S. military on your people.” His companion replied, “I will do the same, in reparation for the atrocities of the Japanese Armed Forces.” And so it was.
From 1960-65 Peter served as Master of Students at the Carmelite Theology House in Washington, D.C.. Peter and the students were soon caught up in the Black civil rights struggle. Peter considered this his second novitiate, as he began to see the deep structures of racism. It prepared him to see the structures of U.S. imperialism from the perspective of the victims: his friends.
Peter had been volunteering since 1958 to go to Peru and was finally sent there in 1965. His father died two months after his arrival. He flew back to Bradenton, Florida, to celebrate the funeral Mass with his mother and family. He stayed two weeks extra over Christmas with his mother. It was then that he studied the just-released documents of Vatican II. Returning to Lima, he taught Vatican II concepts in various forums and became involved with a group of progressive native clergy bent on social reform; Gustavo Gutierrez was one of them. In 1966 he joined the Carmelite mission in Sicuani, in the south sierra. There he was in charge of organizing missionary catechists for the rural Quechua communities.
In 1973 Peter and Mercy Sister Betty Campbell journeyed north, making contacts in Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Mexico on their way back to the U.S. In September 1973, just as the CIA-military repressive coup was taking place in Chile, they set up Tabor House, a Catholic Worker- type community in a poor barrio in northwest Washington, D.C. They were joined by Mercy Sister Mary Sears and Tadeo (Spike) Zywichi. Tabor had an anti-imperialist agenda, and did reverse mission work to evangelize the U.S. about negative U.S. influence in Latin America.
They immediately began to receive labor leaders and missionaries expelled from Chile and people who had been living on the streets and needed housing. They joined anti-war protests and initiated others in front of the embassies of U.S.-supported dictators in Latin America. Along with others, Peter and Betty invaded the White House and the IMF and were arrested and put on trial.
By 1975 the community had 25 members. It began the day with prayer and Mass. The contemplative rhythm of life made for deep reflection and analysis together. There was also a contemplative farm community outside the capital, which became a kind of retreat center. At Tabor, all members worked to cover expenses for food and rent. They dedicated half time to hospitality and half time to organizing protests. Peter was the principal contact person for outreach to allied institutions and activists; his prior experience in D.C. served them well.
In 1981, Tabor was closed, given that Peter and Betty were spending so much time in Central America, and so many Tabor members were working with refugees there. In 1983, Peter, Betty, and Spike opened Tabor in San Antonio, Texas, and in 1984 Dan Long invited Peter to join him in forming CRISPAZ, an NGO which brings delegations and volunteer workers to El Salvador.
During these decades, Peter and Betty have made frequent, lengthy trips to Central and South America to stay abreast of what’s happening there. Among many others, they’ve met with Bishop Julio Gerardi (later assassinated) at his Human Rights Office in Guatemala; Brazilian Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga, making a three-day retreat with him in Nicaragua during the Contra war; Cardinal Paolo Evaristo Arns, in Sao Paolo, Brazil; Jesuit Tercer Mundistists in Argentina; and Don Samuel Ruiz in Mexico, who briefed Peter and Betty after they arrived in Chiapas the week after the Zapatista uprising.
They closed Tabor in San Antonio on April 30, 1995, and opened Tabor in Juarez in September 1995, planning to spend their remaining years accompanying the Church and people south of the border. Carmelite Brother David Semmens joined Tabor in 2016. After working as a volunteer at a refugee center in El Paso, he accepted a chaplaincy at the El Paso Refugee Detention Center. Emilia Requena, a retired teacher, also joined Tabor, and works with the network of activist women.
Tabor received many delegations — one year they had 50 — but the 2008 depression combined with extreme violence in Juarez cut off all group visits. The recovery was slow, but by 2019 they had 39 delegations. Then, in March 2020, the Covid -19 plague shut down everything.
Peter had a light stroke in 2018. He recovered quickly but decided, at age 95, to stop celebrating Masses in public. He no longer attends the bi-weekly clergy meetings but stays in touch with pastors nearby. Additionally, he continued to participate with CRISPAZ and visit El Salvador once a year until 2019. In each visit, Peter’s charisma, love for people, and commitment to peace and justice were always present.
His recent passing due to complications from COVID-19 leaves a huge void, but at the same time offers us the gift of hope so we may continue his legacy.
About the Award
Inspired in the testimony of the Martyrs of El Salvador, the CRISPAZ Peace Award was established in 2009 to recognize individuals or organizations that embody the preferential option for the poor in their work for the promotion of peace and social justice.
CRISPAZ, the awarding organization, has for more than three decades enabled thousands of individuals, many from North America, to accompany the Salvadoran people in their ongoing struggle for peace rooted in justice and compassion
2023 Event Sponsors
North American Church Women 40th Anniversary Circle
- Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
- Theodore A Von Der Ahe Jr.
- Jesuit Community – Loyola University Maryland
- The University of Scranton – The Jesuit Center and The Ellacuría Initiative
- Dr. Tom Kunkel
- Ignatian Solidarity Network
- Hope Border Institute
- Spellman Jesuit Community @ Fordham
- Fr. Carl Markelz Carmelite Province
- Maria Berriozabal
- The Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools, Victoria Australia.
- Sister of Mercy of the Americas
- The CRISPAZ Board fo Directors
- Richard Dahlke (Resurrection Parish), Michigan
Rutilio Grande Circle
- El Salvador Retreat Group
Celina and Elba Ramos Circle
- Jane and James Baker
- Paul Ryan
- Lucy Edwards
- Jean Stokan & Scott Wright
- Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
- 2019 Jean Stokan and Scott Wright long time peace activist.
- 2018 Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J. renowned Liberation Theologian and Professor since 1964 at The University of Central American in San Salvador.
- 2017 Fr. Paul Schindler Long-time missionary with Cleveland Mission Society in El Salvador
- 2016 Fr. Tom Smolich S.J. International Director of Jesuit Refugee Services
- 2015 Hospitalito The Carmelite sisters at the Divine Providence Chapel
- 2014 Asociacion ProBusqueda. Organization that investigates cases of the forced disappearances of children during El Salvador’s civil war.
- 2013 COFAMIDE The Salvadoran Committee of Relatives of Killed or Disappeared Migrants
- 2012 CoMadres Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Prisoners, the Disappeared and the Politically Assassinated of El Salvador
- 2011 Fr. Dean Brackley, S.J.† theology professor at the UCA, and pastoral minister to the rural community of Jayaque, La Libertad
- 2010 Sr. Peggy O’Neill director of the Art Center for Peace in Suchitoto
- 2009 Centro Monseñor Romero at the University of Central America (UCA)