Father Luis Olivares, a Biography: Faith Politics and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles

By Mario T. García | Go to book overview

TWO
Seminary

In Compton, California, in an area that is part urban and part rural, there sits the remains of what used to be Del Amo Seminary and Dominguez Seminary. This first was the minor seminary and the second was the major seminary. Del Amo was high school and Dominguez was college. Both were operated by the Claretian order. For eight years, including one year at the novitiate in Los Angeles, these buildings separated by railroad tracks would be home for Luis Olivares. If he were alive today and visited these sites, he would be saddened that Del Amo was razed, and only the refectory and kitchen remain. It is now surrounded by a trailer park. The more elaborate and baroque Dominguez building still stands, protected as a state landmark and the resting place for deceased donors of the land. These sites contain many memories and even legends of students and teachers. Above all, this is where Luis Olivares began his journey to becoming a priest. All he knew at the start of that journey was that he wanted to become a priest; this was the location where it all started, at least officially.


I

Of course, Luis’s older brother, Henry, was the first to see these buildings when he arrived in the fall of 1947, one year before Luis, to start his own journey toward the priesthood. He was the first to produce both joy and sadness in the Olivares family. His father and Tía Concha were very happy at his decision, but at the same time, triste or sad.1 Since there was no Claretian seminary in Texas, Henry was assigned to Del Amo in California. His family took him to the train station and put him on the train. “I came [to California] all by myself,” Henry remembers. A Claretian priest, Fr. Luis Vásquez, picked him up at Union Station in Los Angeles, and drove him to the seminary in Compton, some forty miles to the southeast.2 At Del Amo, Henry would open up the way for Luis to follow.

In his eighth-grade year at Immaculate Heart, Luis concluded that he

-56-

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Father Luis Olivares, a Biography: Faith Politics and the Origins of the Sanctuary Movement in Los Angeles
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Prologue 1
  • Introduction 5
  • One - San Antonio 31
  • Two - Seminary 56
  • Three - Priesthood 86
  • Four - Company Man 124
  • Five - Conversion 154
  • Six - Organizing the Barrio 181
  • Seven - Community Priest 207
  • Eight - Preparing Sanctuary 248
  • Nine - Declaring Sanctuary 307
  • Ten - Expanding Sanctuary 343
  • Eleven - The Good Pastor 390
  • Twelve - ¡presente! 445
  • Epilogue 498
  • Acknowledgments 501
  • Notes 503
  • Bibliography 539
  • Index 545
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