Sister Andrea Sender (1936-2022)

August 18, 2022

Sister Benedicta (aka Andrea Sender), daughter of the celebrated Spanish novelist Ramón J. Sender, who lived in exile in the United States from Franco’s fascist regime, died on June 11.

Her parents—Ramón, the prize-winning novelist, and his wife, Amparo Barayón—were strong opponents of the uprising in 1936. At the outbreak of the war, her father rushed to Madrid to support the Spanish Republic, while Amparo took her children to her hometown, Zamora, expecting to find safety from the war.

Their story has been told by her son, Ramon Sender, in his memoir A Death in Zamora. Instead of finding safety for her family in her hometown, Amparo, who was still nursing her infant daughter, found herself in Nationalist-controlled territory. Her refusal to support the insurrection, combined with the prominence of her husband, made her a target for political prosecution by the local fascists. Amparo was imprisoned for months and then executed.

Eventually, Ramón J. Sender and his two children found refuge in the United States, where Ramon and Andrea were fostered by an American family. Andrea joined the Episcopal Order of Saint Helena in 1974, taking the name Benedicta. She served as an educator to young children in New York and other east coast schools.

In 1983, she spoke at the annual meeting of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in San Francisco. Here is an excerpt:

“When I first heard of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, I was living among Americans for whom Spain was just a convenient place to have an airbase. Nobody seemed to know or care that of all the Nazi-occupied countries, only Spain had not been liberated. When my brother and I were first told as children that the war in Spain was over, he asked, `Why don’t we go back then?’

“’Because Franco won the war,” our American foster mother replied.

“’But he couldn’t win!’ my brother exclaimed. ‘God doesn’t let bad people win.’

“’Sometimes He does.’”




One Response to “ Sister Andrea Sender (1936-2022) ”

  1. Dr. Judith A Berlowitz on September 1, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    Descanse en paz, Hermana Andrea/Sor Benedicta!