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Armando Quiros

Armando Quiros died peacefully in his sleep on the last day of July. He left from Serenity House where he was attended by family and many friends. His memorial service was held Aug 4 at Congregation B’nai B’rith, where nephew Mark read Armando’s Ethical Will.

Armando converted to Reform Judaism in early 1999 (mid 5759). From age 74 until his death at 90½ he reveled in Jewish celebration, practice, study and Learning, the last few years with his loving companion Sylvia Glass. He embraced the call to be sensitive to ongoing divine revelation and was delighted that Judaism required no abdication of his mind. He had indeed come home.

Armando was a pioneering figure in Santa Barbara psychotherapy and counseling. In the mid ‘70’s, as clinical director of Zona Seca, he enlisted Dave D. to start Spanish speaking Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, which are still flourishing today. Not an alcoholic himself, he very much wanted to be remembered as a friend of AA. In the mid ‘80’s he also co-started Depressives Anonymous. He gave a tremendous boost to Spanish speaking psychotherapy and supervised hundreds of interns, along with his own extensive private practice.

In ’91 when he joined Klein Bottle as co-clinical director he was starting to notice how many Jewish people were entering his life. Soon after, he met, and soon betrothed Ruth Glater (z’’l), a lovely person, brilliant scientist, talented artist and enthusiastic Learned Jew. They spent many happy years together, loving, practicing, celebrating and Learning Jewishly. Louis Zandalasini, Ruth’s godson, tells how Ruth re-decorated her whole house after meeting Armando.

Psychology had come to Father Armando in the mid ’60’s when he was a Franciscan priest at Mission Santa Barbara (he also would say Mass for IHM at La Casa de Maria). That was during Vatican II, and of course there were big differences between the liberal and conservative friars. These were to be reconciled in encounter groups facilitated by psychologists working with Carl Rogers, the developer of Client-Centered Therapy.

Father Armando’s life changed forever in his first encounter group. Suddenly he could be more trusting of his inner guide and less reliant on outside authority; more open to the goodness of people and less concerned with Original Sin; and he could believe his experiences rather than received ideology.

Armando moved with the Franciscans to the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, but soon moved out of there to reside with others that were counseling those afflicted with the Vietnam war. That was the beginning of Armando’s counseling career and the beginning of the end of his priesthood.

Throughout his life he was a brilliant pianist and prolific poet.

Armando came to Santa Barbara in 1939 to join the Franciscans. He was 14 years old. He studied and taught and Learned at St. Anthony’s. He was a very bright and talented student, very musical and friendly. As he became a priest he observed the contradiction and inhumanity in what he was taught. He noticed many rules and actions that did not have the authority claimed for them. He anguished over his brother’s loving and sincere yet “invalid” marriage, and many other forbidden unions. He struggled with a “just war;” the role of women in the Church; and the divide between clergy and lay people. All that earned him a reputation for being a troublemaker in the Franciscans. When he was promoting encounter groups an old priest said: “Armando has ruined the Franciscans on the West Coast.” He received a reprimand from the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (previously called the Office of the Inquisition). He could not accept John 8:22 and extensively studied Anti-Semitism as Church policy. He was cautioned against excessive Bonaventurian Centering Prayer.

Armando was ordained in 1951. Father Armando left the priesthood in 1974. He felt like his face fell off.
Born as Frankie in a poor, happy, proudly Mexican-American family, his name was changed to Armand when he was in seminary and he changed it again to Armando because he was working with so many Spanish speakers.
Frankie had 2 older brothers and despite his small size he liked to box with them. He was so quick he could skip in for a couple of punches and skip out before they could reach him. He was also a self-taught reader, learning by begging his family to read the funnies with him. He was soon directed to the dictionary and became an excellent speller.

Also in the dictionary Frankie found forbidden words, whose definitions led to more forbidden words, which excited him greatly. This started his love of Learning.

He never stopped.

A gathering for all who knew Armando is happening at La Casa de Maria 4 to 7 pm on Thurs, 27 Oct.

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