José Balista introduced Emmaus to Argentina. Balista was a Jesuit priest and social sciences teacher, as well as being a government advisor. He was an idealist who offered a practical response to the advent of shantytowns in Argentina. In 1952, he started work with his students and Argentinean and Canadian volunteers building small houses for low-income families. After the events of 1954 and having heard the news from France, they created Emmaus Buenos Aires which continued to build houses for poor families and carried on working for social progress. In 1963, he was one of the Emmaus figures called upon by Abbé Pierre to prepare for the first ever world assembly. Balista was Vice-Chair of Emmaus International from 1971 to 1981. In 1976, he defended a sociology PhD thesis entitled Emmaüs et l’abbé Pierre : Mythe, utopie et emprise charismatique [Emmaus and Abbé Pierre: myths, utopia and charisma] (Graduate School for Social Sciences, Paris).
Burzaco, Province de Buenos Aires – Argentina