In 1950, the highly charismatic Jesuit priest Atanasio Sierra was a teacher of religion in Montevideo. Aided by volunteers, Sierra raised society’s awareness about the expansion of the shantytowns. In 1954, he heard about Abbé Pierre and with students founded an Emmaus group that worked in the outlying areas of Montevideo. The Gaucho Priest, as he was known, launched an initiative to help children by building housing, and encouraged the beneficiaries to organize themselves. In 1958, he bought a plot of land on which a clothing shop-warehouse was built. Sierra’s death at the wheel of the group’s truck in 1962 brought to a sudden end the training farm project for young people. However, Sierra’s energy did not die with him, and neither did the Emmaus organisations in Uruguay.
Montevideo – Uruguay