A Jesuit with the People
Fr Michael O’Sullivan spent many years of his life in Chile, working with the poor under the turbulent rule of Pinochet. Advocating for a preferential option for the poor, he was vocal in speaking out against the often brutal regime.
Michael experienced real threats on his life and he did his best to stay alive for the sake of the people. At the same time, he had a deep peace knowing that his work had meaning and that he was prepared to die if needed.
Michael was forced to leave Chile after 25 months, for his own protection and for the protection of those around him. He was reluctant to go but he took solace with the ousting of Pinochet some years later and the election of a female President. He spent time in Nicaragua and El Salvador, and he returned to Chile on two occasions.
A documentary entitled, A Jesuit with the People, was made about his life and his ‘Christian faith that does justice’. Film-maker Peter McDermott, based in New York, intends to use this work as part of a full-length documentary on Jesuit priest John Corridan (1911-1984) who fought against corruption and organised crime on the New York waterfront. He was the inspiration for the character of ‘Father Barry’ in the classic 1954 film On the Waterfront which won eight Oscars.
Here is a 13 minute piece from that documentary looking at how Michael handled the threat to his life.