Remembering Mev Puleo, Witness of Solidarity

“What does it means to be a Christian- a follower of the way of Jesus- in a world of contradictions and conflicts? What does it means to be on the way of Jesus when I view the worlds poverty from an air-conditioned tour bus?”

Mev Puleo (1963-1996), an American photojournalist and young Catholic who actively confronted a world of injustice, poverty and violence. From witnessing homelessness in the United States to struggles for social change in Haiti, El Salvador, and Brazil, Puleo used photography and interviews to be a bridge between poverty and affluence, the First World and the Third World. Puleo’s familiarity with suffering, however, was dramatically intensified when she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at the age of thirty-one. She died twenty-one months later.

Mev Puleo’s life was an ardent search for faith, hope, and love.

Puleo’s own compassion in the face of so much social suffering and her joie de vivre even as she battles with cancer provide an unusual portrait of a young person’s grappling with death and life’s ultimate questions. As a college student, Ms. Puleo wrote: “When I was in my early teens, a thought took hold of me. Jesus didn’t die to save us from suffering — he died to teach us how to suffer, to be with us in our every anguish and agony, to give meaning to our pain. . . . Sometimes I actually mean it. I’d rather die young, having lived a life crammed with meaning than to die old, even in security, but without meaning.”

Puleo was the author of The Struggle of One: Voices and Visions of Liberations.

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