Born in San Marcos, Guatemala, in 1930, Esquivel
went on to study at the University of San Carlos
in Guatemala, the Seminario Biblico Latinoamericano in Costa Rica, and the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey
She has worked as a teacher, principal, and pastoral social worker.
She is also a writer and human rights activist.
native Guatemala endured nearly 30 years of catastrophic political violence under the rule of a series of dictators, Esquivel
watched as thousands and thousands of Maya, Quichez and other indigenous groups were savagely murdered.
Hundreds of villages were literally wiped off the face of the earth and the entire nation experienced a type of profound communal trauma in the face of massive and often arbitrary brutality.
Where others gave up hope, or took up arms in resistance, Esquivel
searched for another path toward peace.
Against this bloody backdrop, Esquivel
played the role of activist, poet, and minister.
stood as a witness to God's justice and compassion, and acted as a healer amidst a land of suffering.
As an exile, Esquivel
lived in Switzerland among the nuns of the Grand Champs monastic community for eight years.
At other times she
lived in Mexico and Nicaragua as well.
Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of exile, Esquivel
time as an opportunity for education, as school for her
own development and as a time to heal from the pain she
experienced watching so many people endure fear, torture, and death.
base in Switzerland, she
traveled throughout Europe and into the United States and Canada, speaking, organizing, and advocating on behalf of the millions suffering in the Guatemalan holocaust.
strength through time in reflection and prayer, searching for a way toward healing -- healing for her
own wounds and rages, and the healing of her
wounded and raging nation.
has begun to find and create that healing in her
ministry of reconciliation, in her
work with global solidarity movements, in her
work with churches and rural communities in Guatemala, in prayer and contemplation, and in the spirit of truth and compassion that pervades her
says that her
poetry was literally like oxygen for her
, arising as much out of need as out of volition-the need to heal, the need to keep on living.
Threatened with Resurrection: Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan, Elgin: Brethren Press
Floreceras Guatemala, Mexico: United House Publications
The Certainty of Spring: Poems by a Guatamalan Exile, Washington, D.C.: Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean, 1993.
Some Secrets of the Kingdom, Guatamala: SEED, 1997.