The Road to Lurigancho.

“I was in prison and you visited me”. Mt. 25;36.

The Road to Lurigancho is the story of Sister Joan Sawyer who 36 years ago today was brutally killed with the prisoners in Luringanco prison.

In it we hear about “the incident which begun earlier in the day when the nine prisoners, desperate to escape from the prison, took as hostages four sisters, three Marists and one Columban, who were regular pastoral workers in the prison, and two volunteer social workers who had come in to help with preparations for a Christmas celebration.  The prisoners released one of the hostages, a Marist to act as an intermediary with the authorities and after day long negotiations, the prison authorities finally agreed to give the prisoners an ambulance and a driver for their getaway.  Shortly afterwards the nine prisoners and the five remaining hostages were crowded inside the ambulance as it left the prison grounds. No sooner had the gates closed behind the vehicle than police stationed outside opened fire and continued to shoot even after the ambulance had been forced to stop.  When the doors of the vehicle were opened after the police assault, it was revealed that three of the hostages and two of the prisoners had been wounded, seven prisoners were dead and one hostage, Sr. Joan Sawyer, a Columban Sister was breathing her last”.

Joan’s died because she believed that every person has dignity and is deserving of respect. She felt drawn to be with the least in society and to spend her energy in making life better for them.  She died from bullet-wounds because she happened to be immersed in the work of nurturing life among the prisoners on 14th December 1983.  She died true to her religious name “Sister Mary Paschal”: in Christ she gave her life so that there might be life for all”.                      

May they all rest in peace.