Loyola University Chicago

Ignatian Heritage Month

Martyrs Award

During Ignatian Heritage Month, the Loyola community comes together to reflect and act on the Jesuit mission of service. One of those is the Martyrs Award Presentation and Memorial Mass. Given in honor of the slain Salvadoran martyrs and their commitment to service and social justice, the Martyrs Award commemorates a worthy faith-based organization or individual.

About the Award

Each year the Martyrs Award commemorates a faith-based individual or organization that champions social justice issues and serves marginalized communities. It was created as part of Ignatian Heritage Month in 2015 in order to continue the legacy of the eight Salvadoran martyrs who were killed in 1989 for speaking out against the government and advocating for the poor. The award includes a $25,000 grant and is presented annually in November in conjunction with Ignatian Heritage Month.

Loyola honors the Salvadoran Martyrs because in their lives and deaths, they exemplify the Jesuit and Catholic ideals and values that we seek to emulate such as solidarity with the poor, working for social justice, and courageously witnessing to the truth. In the University's desire to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the Jesuit educators of El Salvador, the University established the Martyrs Award.  The annual Martyrs Award will honor a worthy faith-based organization or individual with a monetary prize in commemoration of the UCA Martyrs and in support of the University's commitment to advancing social justice.

An inspiration for this award came from an address given by Ignacio Ellacuria, S.J., one of the UCA martyrs, when in 1982 at Santa Clara University, he reflected on the role of the Catholic University: "The university must carry out this general commitment with the means uniquely at its disposal: we as an intellectual community must analyze causes; use imagination and creativity together to discover the remedies to our problems; communicate to our constituencies a consciousness that inspires the freedom of self-determination; education professionals with a conscience, who will be the immediate instruments of such a transformation; and constantly hone an educational institution that is both academically excellent and ethically oriented."

Faith-based individuals or organizations who, through their scholarship or work, assist Loyola and the world to:

  • Identify and analyze the causes of social injustice.
  • Discover and/or implement remedies to social injustice.
  • Inspire consciousness, awareness, and sensitivity to social injustice.
  • Promote freedom and self-determination in the oppressed and marginalized.
  • Educate professionals with a conscience and commitment to a life of service to the marginalized.
  • Find insight, hope, inspiration, and purpose through faith commitments.

Recipients of the Martyrs Award will be chosen through an internal nomination process through Loyola (i.e. faculty, staff and students). An award committee will review all organizations and individuals who are nominated for their faith-based social justice work with oppressed and marginalized communities and recommend finalists to be approved by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. The President’s Office will then confirm a winner.

Those eligible to nominate a faith-based individual or organization for the Martyrs Award are members of the Loyola community including faculty, staff, and students.