Venezuela: María Inmaculada Lacarra Cabrerizo

Solidarity and peace must be worked for from a base level, with openness and simplicity, looking with sincerity for the common good.

— María Inmaculada Lacarra Cabrerizo

The beginning of her pedagogical work in Venezuela was in the San Judas Tadeu School of Faith and Joy, in Caracas, in a community marked by violence and insecurity. Immersed in popular education since 1976, she initiated, in 1993, the project Education for Peace, the aim of which was to involve the educational community in the resolution of conflicts. Since 1999, she has directed the Mother Emilia School of Maiquetía, in the State of Vargas, where she is the driving force behind the initiative Constructing Peace with Solidarity. Her name is María Inmaculada Lacarra.

María Inmaculada Lacarra, born in Agreda-Soria, Spain, was a late arrival in the Lacarra-Cabrerizo family. She has only one sister. As a small child, she experienced the effects of the Civil War. In spite of that, her childhood seems to have remained undamaged: “I was surrounded by great affection and love from my family, a poor, working family, but, as I remember, we never lacked anything.” She adopted the religious life at age 15. In 1972, she came to Venezuela and lived in Cerro La Cruz, in the House of San Judas Tadeo, in Caracas. In 1993, as the director of the Educational Unit there, she initiated and promoted the project Education for Peace, as a response to the increasing violence in the community. This initiative envisages an open school, where the entire educational community participates. It would involve workshops, action in the streets and celebration of festivities in the most conflictive zones. A constant effort to promote unity between the families and the teaching team would be included. Violence is a reality that cannot be ignored. With her vision of an integrated society, this reality may change. The ones who build peace may prevail. With an ability to handle conflicts that seems to be natural, María Inmaculada Lacarra believes that the building of peace must be based on the strength and local resources of the school and the community. “The project is a milestone that shows where we are going, a sample of what we are able to reach together, when we are in agreement. The greatest service I can give my people is to help them find the value we are missing the most: peace. Because it will not come through magic, we have to build it.”

Mother Emilia School of Maiquetía San Judas Tadeu School of Faith and Joy