It is with a heavy heart that I share the tragic news of the death of Brother Paul McAuley, FSC.
As reported by Vatican News, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, our Brother Paul, president of the Loretana Environmental Network and advisor to the Peruvian Amazon Student Organization, was found dead by his students at the Intercultural Student Community “La Salle” in Iquitos, Peru - an international youth hostel he had founded.
Brother Paul was a well-known defender of the environment, and as reported in The Tablet (3 April 2019):
In July 2010, the Peruvian government tried to expel McAuley from the country accusing him of being engaged in activities that "put at risk the security of the state, public order and the national defence". McAuley is said to have opposed the Amazon being opened to drilling.
He told the BBC World Service at the time that he was not guilty of breaking any laws.
"Education is often accused of inciting people to understand their rights, to be capable of organising themselves to ensure their human rights.
"If that's a crime, then yes, I'm guilty. As a member of a Catholic order my life's been dedicated to human and Christian education."
The tragic news of Brother Paul’s death is especially difficult for us here at Manhattan College as we are in the midst of commemorating Mission Month when we honor the significance and diversity of contemporary Lasallian Vocations. Brother Paul most certainly was an enthusiastic and dedicated Lasallian educator and his death is a tragic loss to us all.
From Rome, Brother Jorge Gallardo de Alba, F.S.C., Vicar General, tells us in his press release that he has been informed that the Peruvian authorities are investigating the circumstances of Brother Paul’s death.
Please join in offering a prayer for Brother Paul and also for the young people of Peru with whom Brother Paul lived and worked for more than twenty years.