Dominican Sisters Call Attention to "The Protector of the Indians"

Amityville Dominican Sisters Anne-Marie Kirmse and Alice Byrnes wrote an article entitled “The Legacy of Bartolomé de las Casas – Then and Now” which was published in the December 2022 issue of "Dominican Ashram". The article is based on the presentations Sisters Alice and Anne-Marie made at the Second International de Las Casas in 2019 and the Dominican Symposium in Higher Education last June.
Sister Anne-Marie’s research focused on the life and mission of Bartolome de Las Casas. After hearing a challenging sermon by the Dominican priest, Antonio de Montesinos, Bartolomé had a conversion experience and renounced the life of a conquistador. After freeing his slaves, he interceded with the government of Spain and with Rome itself for social justice in support of the indigenous people. For this tireless work he was given the title “Protector of the Indians.”
In light of Las Casas’ mission, Sister Alice focused on how we might preserve his legacy by advocating for the refugees of Central America today using recently published children’s picture books that illustrate the plight of the migrant. At a time when families are separated at the border and children are put into cages, picture books that employ a child narrator to describe the migrant’s journey to the United States are especially poignant. Children in this situation are voiceless and need others to be their voice as Las Casas was for the oppressed in his day.