Romero’s Relics

Carmelite Sister Maria Julia Garcia shows some of Archbishop Oscar Romero's relics at a museum in San Salvador.

When Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980, the vestments he wore were bathed in blood. After the attack, Carmelite nuns who managed Divine Providence Hospital in El Salvador kept them and other belongings with the greatest possible care. For 35 years, the congregation and the sisters running the hospital have taken care of the relics. Now Archbishop Romero is scheduled to be beatified in San Salvador on May 23 and the government may declare the chapel a National Cultural Heritage site. Sister María Julia García, the Carmelite superior and director of the hospital, worries that this would put the sisters in a very awkward situation because they would have no say in the care of the relics. “We, as the moral owners of these relics, fear that they will be taken away from us and relocated to another place, where they would not be treated with respect,” she said.

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