About this Episode:
Interviewed by Kellogg Doctoral Student Affiliate María Paz Madrid, Notre Dame alumnus Kathleen Osberger talks about her book I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile’s Dictatorship, 1975, which recounts her experience in Chile in 1975, two years after a CIA-assisted coup overthrew the democratically-elected president Salvador Allende and installed the Pinochet dictatorship. The book highlights the prominent role of Chilean people in confronting the military dictatorship, paying tribute to victims after five decades.
Show Notes:

Welcome to Global Stage, a podcast highlighting academic and policy-oriented international research on democracy and human development! Global Stage is brought to you by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Your host today is María Paz Madrid, a Doctoral Student Affiliate at the kellog Institute.

 María is joined by Kathleen Osberger, who earned a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MA from Maryknoll School of Theology and an AM from the University of Chicago School of Social Work Administration. Her life was shaped by volunteer experiences while living in Panama, Chile, Peru, and the South Bronx. In 1987, she began a 17-year relationship with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners as an instructor in their orientation to mission program. In 1993, she joined the University of Chicago Hospitals Department of Psychiatry. Her work as a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist has centered on the issues of trauma and torture. She currently lives in Chicago.

Today’s podcast episode discusses Kathleen’s new book, I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile's Dictatorship, 1975. Before getting into the conversation, María provides an overview of the book. In 1975, Kathleen Osberger, a recent graduate and lay volunteer from the University of Notre Dame, left for Santiago to teach in a Catholic grade school. Upon arrival, she was told a secret: the religious women she would live with sheltered dissidents in the cross-hairs of Pinochet’s secret police. Given the ever-tightening vice over the citizenry, brave and prophetic people reached out to protect the dissidents’ lives in a world without due process and where detention, torture, disappearance, and death reigned. Soon, Osberger is handed a blindfold and a warrant and must go on the run.

Kathleen shares that she was excited about the opportunity that awaited her in Santiago after her graduation from Notre Dame, despite the circumstances in Chile at the time. Since it was a school-sponsored program, Kathleen believed she would be safe. When she arrived in Chile, it was winter and she was greeted by Chilean soldiers holding machine guns whose uniforms intentionally resembled the Third Reich. At just 22 years old, she felt the tension in the arrivals room at the airport. She quickly learned that the sisters of the church she was sent to teach at were sheltering endangered people. She began learning about all of the people who had disappeared from throughout the country. She attended a gathering of more than 40,000 people ­– the first large gathering since the coup – in which the loved ones of missing people attended and shared their grief. These families, she reveals, are still fighting to know the truth about what happened to their loved ones.

Thousands of people were being targeted by the secret police because of their political associations and leadership and activist statuses. The goal of the military was to completely eliminate any form of dissent, especially with vocal leftists, through assassination. One of their biggest targets was the Catholic Church, because its leaders were demanding answers from the government. When the sisters at Kathleen’s school were asked to shelter endangered people in their homes, they quickly agreed. The sisters believed that as Christians, their first priority was to save and protect innocent lives as long as the guests did not have weapons or engage in dangerous activity. In closing, Kathleen discusses her views on the current political times and the important role people of faith have to play amidst it all.


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