Encuentro con una madre en Roma, an opinion piece written by Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., the auxiliary bishop of Managua, Nicaragua, was published 5 October 2018 online by Confidencial, an independent Nicaraguan media outlet that features world-class reporters, contributors, and editorial staff who have won international awards. It also was published 10 October in Religión Digital. Carmelite Quotes offers an original translation of Bishop Báez’s personal reflection on his meeting with Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro. We are grateful to the bishop for his permission to publish this translation.
In the mid-nineties, when I was in Rome preparing my doctorate in Sacred Scripture, Doña Violeta [Chamorro], as President of the Republic, came to visit the Eternal City. She kindly invited us — the few Nicaraguan priests who were studying there — through the Nicaraguan Embassy to the Holy See, to come and have an encounter with her. She herself received us at the door of the Embassy with a loving smile and a big hug:
“What a joy to see my beautiful little boys!” she told us. “What a pleasure it is to see you! Go on in!” And then she said to some of the Embassy staff: “Go, bring a Coke and a piece of cake to the Fathers.”
We had come to visit the president of our country, but we met a mother; we were attentive to the diplomatic protocol that had to be observed, but there was none, only a loving reception, full of human warmth. A couple of hours of pleasant and simple conversation went by with her about the situation in Nicaragua and her difficult presidential administration, but we also talked about what seemed to interest her a lot: how our studies were going, what needs we were experiencing in Rome, how were our families, etc.
We had come to visit the president of our country, but we met a mother
That encounter was unforgettable. I understood that Nicaragua, at that time wounded by long years of war and pain, of authoritarianism and poverty, was now in the hands of a mother. We had to establish peace and rebuild the country; and that mother, that simple, intelligent, and firm woman, was struggling to make our society a great family. She did what she could and she did a lot.
In the deep political and social crisis that we are experiencing today, we feel the urgent need for her human style, her honest management, and her great ideals of peace and democracy.
Doña Violeta will live eternally in the heart of God whom she loved and adored and she will always be remembered as the admirable protagonist of one of the most glorious pages of the history of Nicaragua. Thank you, Doña Violeta!
we feel the urgent need for her human style