Narratives: José Miguel Jaramillo SJ (province of Ecuador), Chile

My arrival in Chile, on the way to theology studies, could not have been more “earth-shaking” than it was. Two hours after I arrived, there passed from this world Renato Poblete SJ, who bore witness of the social apostolate to this province as it was meeting to reflect on the apostolic frontiers to which we are all called. Soon after that came the earthquake, so strong that that it caused damage even as far as Santiago, so that we had to suspend the province retreat on the sixth day, during the Third Week of the Exercises. Then, torn between the uncertainty of someone disoriented because his destination was not the way he expected it to be and the impotence of wanting to help out but not knowing what to do or where to go, I spent several days working at home, getting the computers ready for the start of the academic year. Finally good news arrived: the Bishop of Rancagua was requesting help for the pastor in Pumanque, a town much closer to the quake. Rodrigo Poblete SJ, the superior of my community, decided that I should go, along with Beto Michelena SJ, to help the priest out. He had no assistants, his church was in ruins, his car was crushed, and his vast community was desperately in need of basic assistance and consolation.