Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Santuario - Screening and Discussion

a documentary short that follows Juana Luz Tobar Ortega as she takes sanctuary at a North Carolina church to evade a deportation sentence

film photo

Erick Berrelleza, S.J.
Boston University

Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Time: 12 - 1:15pm
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road

RSVP required. Click here to register.


After 24 years of living and working in the US, Guatemalan grandmother Juana Luz Tobar Ortega is facing deportation. Frightened of returning to Guatemala and leaving her husband, four children and two grandchildren behind, Juana enters sanctuary at an unfamiliar church in Greensboro, North Carolina. In sanctuary, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot come in, but Juana cannot leave to work or be at home with her family. As time passes, and state lawmakers continue to ignore the family's pleas for a stay on her deportation, Juana's spirits slowly sink. Yet, she leans into her faith. Juana is patient that in God's house, God will answer her prayers. In this complicated immigration landscape, communities can be divided, or communities can be brought together under extraordinary circumstances. Santuario is a documentary short about radical faith, one family's fight to stay together, and the true meaning of church in today's immigration climate.

Join us for a screening of the 26-minute documentary and discussion based on lessons from the field with Erick Berrelleza, S.J.

headshot of Erick Berrelleza, S.J.

Erick Berrelleza, S.J., is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Boston University. His research interests lie primarily in the sociology of religion and urban sociology. His current work focuses on lived religion and place.