Roy Bourgeois was an American priest in the Maryknoll order of the Roman Catholic Church and founder of the human rights group SOA Watch.[1]

Father Bourgeois was excommunicated latae sententiae for his participation in a woman's ordination ceremony in August 2008.[2][3]

Early life

Bourgeois was born in Lutcher, Louisiana in 1938. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in geology.

After graduation, Bourgeois entered the United States Navy and served as an officer for four years. He spent two years at sea, one year at a station in Europe, and one year in Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart during a tour of duty in Vietnam.

After military service, he entered the seminary of the Maryknoll Missionary Order. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1972 and sent to Bolivia.


1972-1975 Fr. Bourgeois spent five years in Bolivia aiding the poor before being arrested and deported for speaking out against Bolivian dictator General Hugo Banzer.

1980 Fr. Bourgeois became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America after four American churchwomen, Sister Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Sister Ita Ford, and Sister Dorothy Kazel, were raped and killed by a death squad consisting of soldiers from the Salvadoran National Guard.

1990 Fr. Bourgeois founded the School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch), an organization that seeks to close the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001, through nonviolent protest.

1998 Fr. Bourgeois testified before a Spanish judge seeking the extradition of Chile's ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

2008 In August 2008, Fr. Bourgeois participated in and delivered the homily at the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a member of Womenpriests, at a Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Kentucky.[4] Fr. Bourgeois received a 30 days' notice as of October 21, 2008 regarding possible excommunication for this action.


  • Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award (1997)
  • Thomas Merton Award (2005)

Fr. Roy Bourgeouis and the School of the Americas Watch was nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on November 22, 2009 at Fort Benning, Georgia by the American Friends Service Committee. The nomination was made for sustained faithful non-violent protest of the US government's role in the training of foreign military operatives who have used this training to torture and murder hundreds of thousands of civilians, particularly in Latin America.


Notes and references

  1. "SOA Watch: Biography of Roy Bourgeois", SOA Watch Website.
  2. Cooper, Linda and James Hodge, "Bourgeois Has Long Drawn Inspiration from Women," National Catholic Reporter, December 3, 2008.
  3. Priest confirms excommunication; will keep urging women’s ordination
  4. Coday, Dennis. "Sixth Catholic woman priest ordained this year", "National Catholic Reporter", 2008-08-09. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.

External links

Further reading

  • Hodge, James; Linda Cooper (2004). Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of Americas. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. ISBN 1-57075-434-9. 
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Roy Bourgeois. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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