Michael Dulick ’67 Exudes Quiet Courage Serving the Poorest of the Poor in Honduras
By Tom Anselm ’67, Joe Fritsch ’67, Bill Lutz ’67, Mike Soehngen ’67
Just like many 18-year-old guys in 1967, SLUH alumnus Michael Dulick ’67 was about to start college with a somewhat vague notion of what the future held for him. Now, nearly 55 years later, he answers to "Miguel" and lives with and serves poor people in the Honduran city of Las Vegas.
How great is our God, who leads us if we but follow His will, even as, in the words of Thomas Merton, we “may know nothing about it.” It has been said that courage comes in many forms. This is a story of a man who has shown a quiet courage, maybe even heroism, in a life of service to others.
Michael entered into priestly formation in 1975, after having what he describes as a “rather mystical experience… interpreted as a call to the Jesuits.” His love affair with Honduras began when, as a second-year novice in the order, he was assigned there in what is called the “Long Experiment.” He stayed there from December 1976 until May 1977.
After taking First Vows, he served for a year as a Jesuit scholastic, teaching at Rockhurst High school in Kansas City, and continued his graduate studies in English, Spanish and Theology. But by the summer of 1985, it was clear to him and his superiors that the needs of the people of that small, impoverished Central American country had become his life’s passion.
He left the order and spent the next 17 years teaching English and Spanish at Parkway North High School in St. Louis County, MO, returning to Honduras every summer thereafter to feed his soul… and feed the people of Las Vegas Honduras as well. Soon after retiring in 2003, Miguel moved to Honduras – for good.
Honduras is a low to middle-income country that faces major challenges with more than 65% of the population living in poverty, according to official 2016 data. In the rural areas, where Miguel lives, approximately one out of every five Hondurans live in extreme poverty, making do on less than US $1.90 per day.
In 2008, after living there for about five years, Miguel adopted a young 13-year old boy named Chemo (SHAY-mo) who needed open-heart surgery. He arranged for him to have the operation through a consortium of volunteer heart surgeons from the United States – and saved Chemo’s life. Just this Christmas Eve, Chemo and wife Mellissa found out that they will be having a girl – a granddaughter for Miguel.
When asked “What do you do there?” he gives this humble answer, from a quote in a 2010 article he wrote as part of a series of Letters from Honduras: “You don’t ‘do’. You ‘be.’ I have no projects, no plans. No investments. Only to share the life of the poor, who have received me like a brother.” Miguel shares all he has with the poor of Honduras with whom he lives – and loves.
Dulick uses his small teacher’s pension and limited fundraising to help the nearly 200 people a month who come to his door. He provides food and medical assistance. He helps build them concrete block homes. He buys school supplies and clothing for them. He takes them to the doctors in "nearby" Victoria, a five-hour bus ride. He does more than just "be." But that is how he sees it. And it is why the people refer to him as "Hermano Miguel" . . . Brother Miguel.
This is just a small piece of the story of Miguel Dulick, a man of courage . . . a man for all to admire and model, a Man for Others.