In November, the Archives and Special Collections (ASC) staff was saddened to learn of Father Peter Hinde’s passing. Father Peter frequently crossed the U.S. – Mexico border along with Sister Betty Campbell and visited the Caroline E. Stras Research Room to consult their Casa Tabor papers.
Father Peter was an amazing advocate for social justice. At the age of 97, Father Peter was recognized and honored for his tireless work when he and Sister Betty were awarded the 2020 Christians for Peace Award (CRISPAZ), just two days before he passed away due to COVID-19 complications. The CRISPAZ Peace Award was awarded to the pair for their decades of ministry and social work in Latin America.
Father Peter was a Carmelite priest who resided in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico since 1995 and was one of the co-founders of Casa Tabor (Tabor House) along with Sister Betty Campbell – both met in 1968 in Peru. Betty was a nurse and Sister of Mercy, but joined Father Peter and traveled throughout Latin America where they advocated for changes in U.S. foreign policy.
Life of Father Peter Hinde
Father Peter was born James Hinde in Elyria, Ohio in 1923. Hinde studied engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago; served in the Army Air Force in the Pacific from 1942 to 1946; professed his vows as a Carmelite in 1947; and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1952. He served as a professor in the Carmelite school and seminary system until 1961. He became heavily involved with the African-American Civil Rights Movement from 1961 to 1965. That year he joined the Carmelite mission in Sicuani, Peru, where he served until 1973. While in Peru, he joined local clergy in pastoral work inspired by the Latin Bishops’ Conference in Medellin and the Theology of Liberation. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1973, where he co-founded Casa Tabor with Sister Betty.
Brief History of Casa Tabor (Tabor House)
Tabor House was started by the pair in 1973 in Washington, D.C., as a grassroots Catholic worker community with an anti-imperialist agenda regarding U.S. influence in Latin America. In 1983, Peter and Betty moved Tabor to San Antonio, Texas to be closer to the U.S. – Mexico border region. In 1995, Father Peter and Sister Betty relocated to Ciudad Juárez to live a simple life, close to the marginalized. By moving to the border region, they were able to host foreign visitors such as U.S. students and parishioners and educate them about the realities of the U.S. – Mexico area.
In brief, Casa Tabor’s purpose is to raise awareness of the difficulties of life in the borderlands and to assist the marginalized of Latin America. The papers held at ASC document the efforts of Casa Tabor.
Casa Tabor papers
The Casa Tabor papers span from the 1960s to 2011. The bulk of the material includes documentation of the various trips that Peter and Betty took around Latin America advocating for justice. In addition, there is correspondence to and from Tabor members and other Latin American contacts. The collection is composed of the following series:
- Tabor records
- Tadeo (Spike) Zywicki
- Subject files
In the archival profession, the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life is one of the greatest joys, and meeting Father Peter was no exception. He was always joyful and eager to go through the Casa Tabor papers. During my encounters with Father Peter, he demonstrated deep appreciation that the archival collection was organized and accessible. For those wanting to view the Casa Tabor papers the finding aid is available via the Rocky Mountain Online Archive database and further information about Peter’s life can be found online. He will be deeply missed in the borderland region, but his legacy and inspiration remain.