Casupá - on track with Pater Karl Zangerle

Written by Nadine Zangerle on . Posted in Uruguay

We followed a lead which we found in letters and pictures of Padre Karl Zangerle. In his letters he wrote about a small town of Casupá, 100 km north of Montevideo.

Let’s have a little excursion of my family history. Just that you know what this is all about. My dad had/has five aunts and uncles who had been in the monastery. Sister Maria Klara and Sister Maria Josefine stayed in Zams/Austria in the Monastery, while Sister Maria Hilga went to India. Padre Franz had a congregation in the Philippines and in Germany. Padre Karl left for Uruguay.

Already in 2010 we found the tomb of my grandaunt Sister Maria Hilga in a small town in India. Despite her death in 1995 she is still called the Mother Theresa of Ooty and received the German Honor Medal - comparable to the Silver Star - for her extraordinary services.

And here we were, finding the marks which Padre Karl left behind. At the bus station Tres Cruces we found the bus to Casupá and were not surprised to be the only tourist on this bus. Well, the inland is not really in the travel description.

Not far out of Montevideo the pace seemed to slow down some more and we observed the flat grasslands. When we finally passed the sign to Casupá we saw a hotel. Probably the only one in town and after the bus driver confirmed our thoughts he dropped us off in front of it.

After we checked in we asked the woman next door about the Convent Parroquia Maria Auxiliadora. In our basic Spanish we explained her our situation and we found each other suddenly in a big embrace. The woman was smiling and so excited that she informed some more people in this little town. We would have been on the Casupá Radio if there wasn’t this crazy hail storm in the night. But let’s come back to the story.

She told us where we can find the Colegio, which Padre Carlos has built and that we will find two “Plaques” there. We got really excited to come so close and when we walked into the appointed street we were speechless. The streetname was in honor of him. “Presbitero Carlos Zangerle”.

At the Colegio we found a commemorative plaque of Padre Carlos and one of the teachers gave us a book with the timeline of the Colegio. Here we found several pictures and stories about my great-uncle. On the walls we still found his pictures which was amazing since he is dead since 30 years.

Back in the hotel two older people greeted us heartily. The old lady was so nervous and hugged me several times. She couldn’t imagine that someone from the family would come and look for Padre Carlos after such a long time. After 30 years working close together with my great-uncle she still knew all the names and asked for my father, my aunt and my grandmother. How are Francesco, Elisabeth and Martha? She was so emotional, tears ran down her cheeks and she was so happy.

She told me what a special man Padre Carlos had been and that he changed the lifes of so many people. He really touched the people and built two churches, a school, a hospital and an orphanage. Also in the neighbor town of Reboledo he is well known.

Even if it wasn’t always easy to understand her due to her loose dentures while she spoke excited about Padre Carlos. But the smiles and her eyes told me more than words can do. It was fantastic. And let me tell you, this woman is 96 years old, her brother 98. She told me “I love life and I am going to enjoy it a bit more!”

Before we left she gave me the direction to Padre Carlos tomb. Montevideo, Cemeterio de Buceo, Calle Aurora and tomb no. 1040. It was an indescribable feeling standing finally in front of my great-uncles tomb. We decorated it with flowers and took some pictures for my family. It is sad that my grandfather can’t see those pictures anymore but we will definitely send them to Sister Maria Klara, the last of the siblings.

Since we were back in Montevideo, we decided to celebrate Michael’s birthday with Andrew. And the hangover was proof enough for the party. Despite the hangover we continued to Colonia del Sacramento. Sorry Michael, next time maybe one whiskey less?

Accommodation: Hotel Cito, Ruta 7, KM 110.500, Casupá/Forida

Price: UYU 800 per double room, own bath, TV

Comment: super clean; when it is raining cats and dogs the water flows in a bit