On April 14th, dear friend of ProNica and the people of Nicaragua, Father Denis Hébert passed away at his home in Managua. He was a cherished guide for ProNica, a longtime member of the local Consejo advisory counsel, and founder of the organization Foundation for Community Development in Managua (FUNDACCO). He was a friend to many and pillar of the international solidarity community in Nicaragua, and he will be dearly missed.
Denis was born in Villeneuve, Alberta, Canada, a small farming community, and was one of 15 children. He entered seminary at a young age, and went to Lima, Peru in 1969. He came to Nicaragua in 1990 and worked in solidarity with marginalized communities for the past 25 years.
Maria Elena, Director of ProNica partner community in Acahualinca, remembers Fr. Denis in the early years of his time in Nicaragua. She went with him to Ometepe Island in the 90s to help establish the very first community library on the island. He would support many other community-based efforts, including urban clinics, rural lending programs, and youth formation initiatives.
Later, he would found the Foundation for Community Development (FUNDACCO- Fundacion para el Desarollo Communidatio) based on Catholic Social Teachings. FUNDACCO continues to carry on Fr. Denis’s legacy, promoting sustainable development work in urban and rural communities throughout Nicaragua.
Fr. Denis has served as a local advisory board member of ProNica for many years. Program Directors of past and current generations are grateful for his wisdom, insights, and commitment to supporting ProNica’s mission. All of the ProNica staff, board, community partners, and volunteers, express gratitude for the testimony of Fr. Denis’s life and his unwavering support. May he rest in peace and in the Light.
Former Program Director, Lillian Hall, recalled:”Denis was someone who walked the walk with grace, humility, a sense of humor and wisdom. The way he lived and the beliefs he expressed were in harmony. He lived simply, in a working class neighborhood of Managua where gangs and drug use prevailed, and worked with the youth to give them a better future. He always sought to see things from the perspective of the most marginalized- and he reminded us of the importance of doing the same.”
We are grateful for Denis’s example of a radical life committed to solidarity, simplicity, and working to build the Kingdom of God on Earth, and we aspire to carry on his legacy in our hearts.
By Laura Hopps, ProNica Program Director Emeritus