I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile's Dictatorship, 1975


Pages: 296

Binding: Paperback

I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile's Dictatorship, 1975

By: Kathleen Osberger
  • $20.25
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Catholic Media Association Award Winner

Honorable Mention  - Memoir


"Underneath the breakneck plot is a foundation of deep wisdom built on five decades of reflection on the traumatic events of that November. As she tells her story, Osberger, who later became a social worker and psychotherapist, outlines the United States’ involvement in Chilean politics in the 1970s, testifies to the self-giving faith of the sisters who helped one another escape, and offers a glimpse into the surprisingly solid trust in God that sometimes emerges when all seems lost."- The Christian Century

“A riveting account of terrors executed by the Pinochet regime upon the Chilean people and Catholic religious communities living among them. Osberger's narrative is heart-stopping. Her memoir witnesses to the suffering and resilience of the Chilean people, to heroic lives of her companions, and most movingly, of her own encounter with the divine in the midst of life-threatening perils.” —Kathleen M. O’Connor, Columbia Theological Seminary

“This book had me quickly and completely riveted to the telling of the author’s experience, sparking a reliving of my own! Beautifully written, giving graphic and prophetic witness to the reality of Chile’s dictatorship.” —Pat Farrell, OSF

 “Two years into Pinochet’s reign of terror a 22-year-old enters his house of terrors.  We meet nuns and teachers whose ingenuity outsmarts Pinochet’s intelligence police and CIA accomplices. Riveting and inspiring, Osberger places the reader there and you cannot look away.” —Renny Golden, author, The Music of Her Rivers

 “An important chapter not only in Chile, but in the Catholic church and in the modern human rights movement.”  —Phillip Berryman, author, Latin America at 200: A New Introduction

"The story is riveting, the writing is excellent, the relevance to today's world is frightening." - Sr. Terri Mackenzie, SHCJ, Society of the Holy Child Jesus



In September 1973 a CIA-assisted coup overthrew the democratically-elected president of Chile, ushering in the Pinochet dictatorship. In 1975, Kathleen Osberger, a recent graduate and lay volunteer from Notre Dame, left for Santiago to teach in a Catholic grade school. Upon arrival, she was told a secret: the religious women she would live with sheltered dissidents in the cross-hairs of Pinochet’s secret police. Given the ever-tightening vise over the citizenry, brave and prophetic people reached out to protect the dissidents’ lives in a world without due process and where detention, torture, disappearance, and death reigned. Soon, Osberger is handed a blindfold, a warrant, and must go on the run.

I Surrender depicts the solidarity of the Chilean people and the transformational role of nuns and priests dedicated to serving the poor, while highlighting the changing and challenged Catholic Church.

Kathleen Osberger earned her B.A. at the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from Maryknoll School of Theology, and an A.M. from the University of Chicago–School of Social Work Administration. Her life was shaped by volunteer experiences when she lived in San Miguelito, Panamá; Santiago, Chile; Chimbote, Perú and the South Bronx. In 1987 she began a seventeen-year relationship with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners as an instructor in their orientation to mission program. In 1993 she joined the University of Chicago Hospitals—Department of Psychiatry. Her work as a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist has centered on the issues of trauma and torture. She currently lives in Chicago.

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