Jesús César Silva Méndez

Pseudonym: Padre Silva
Birth Date: 25th January 1933 (†3rd September 2011)
Birth Place: Ourense

He studied Secondary Education at ‘Cardenal Cisneros’ School in Ourense at the same time he studied Drawing and painting with Manuel Prego de Oliver. Afterwards, he graduated in Philosophy and Theology at Comillas Pontifical University, where he was ordained as a priest in 1957. He always made his studies with painting and exhibited his oil paintings in Ourense, Pontevedra and Vigo. In 1956, he founded 'La Ciudad de los Muchachos' (an institution that offers educational, spiritual and material aid for young people in need). In 1964, he founded the institutions 'Bemposta Nación de Muchachos' and 'Escuela Internacional de Circo'. As a result of the union of both institutions, 'El Circo de los Muchachos' was founded.

 Work & Activities

‘La Nación de los Muchachos' lies on Bemposta (a few kilometres from Ourense), on a leafy forest of about 200 thousand square metres divided on residential, scholar, industrial and sports areas. All children study Primary and Secondary Education as well as complementary studies organised by the institution (Circus and Theatre School; Music, TV, Image and Sound, Computer and Craftwork. Nowadays there are Bemposta-cities in Belgium, Venezuela, two cities in Colombia, Santo Domingo and Equatorial Guinea. A basic formation on gym and acrobatics is taught in the International Circus School. In 1966 'El Circo de los Muchachos' was founded and from that moment onwards the children carried out many performances all around European and American countries.

 Other Interesting Aspects

Father Silva has been awarded several distinctions and prizes such as the prize of the Spanish Show Syndicate, Schweitzer Prize (Switzerland), the Charity Cross (Belgium), the Peace Medal of the United Nations, the Paris Match Trophy, the Circus Friends Medal (France), the Samurai Sword (Japan) and the gold medal to the merit on Fine Arts (Royal Decree 2615, 29th December 1994). Besides, some countries (Israel, Santo Domingo and India) have nominated Father Silva and the children on several occasions for the Peace Nobel Prize.