- Daniel Ramirez
Fr. Verplancken Memorial
A bust of our founder Father Luis G. Verplancken stands near the clinic he founded.
The inscription on the plaques read as follows:
In gratitude to the Father Luis G. Verplancken Aldayturriaga, S.J. December 27,1926-September 26,2004. For his pastoral service to this community and integral concern for the human being. His work and dedication benefited the town of Creel and innumerable Rarámuri indigenous communities. He created the Santa Teresita Clinic and the health, food and water supply brigades. He was a tireless promoter of culture. "The recognition of the native peoples reminds us that we are not the absolute holders of creation ... the indigenous peoples, a wealth for humanity" Pope Francis.
He was born in Guadalajara, Jal., México. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1943 and was ordained as a priest in 1957. He first came to the Tarahumara Mission in 1952. He always cared completely for the needs of our community: he contributed to the effort to supply water to the town of Creel and never neglected their pastoral needs. He built the temple of Our Lady of Lourdes and remodeled the chapel of Christ the King. He dedicated his life particularly to the welfare of our Rarámuri brothers and never spared efforts to improve their quality of life. Great solicitor of resources in benefit of diverse institutions at the service of the most unprotected. His initial projects were what we know today as the Santa Teresita Medical Unit and the Benésika Anagupi intercultural educational center (learning from each other) in the community of Rejogochi. Over the years, aware that food and drinking water are the best medicine, he implemented the project "Food exchange for community work" and the "Water supply project" (well drilling and collection systems of water). His concern also reached the conservation of the culture and traditions of the Rarámuri people. He created Crafts Mission in Creel and the Loyola Museum in the town of Cusárare. In March 1992, these initial projects acquired their legal constitution in the Complejo Asistencial Clínica Santa Teresita A.C., institution that today is in charge of the Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The memory of Father Verplancken today has led us to create the Cultural Centers of the Jesuits in Tarahumara: "La Gavilana" (2015), "Ernesto Uranga SJ" in the community of Pamachi (2016), "Carlos Díaz Infante SJ" in the community of Guaguachique (2017), and Cultural Center and House of teachers in the community of Samachiki "Luis Verplancken SJ" (2017). These Cultural Centers seek that the members of the Rarámuri community can deepen the importance of strengthening their culture, a culture that today, in our broken world, we need so much. May his memory continue to inspire us to offer our people to work for the benefit of the most vulnerable.