Together with Sister Agustina



For a long time, our country has been living through an escalation of violence which has taken many forms. Violence which has ended the lives of very many defenseless Peruvians who have been killed by guerrilla warfare, repressive violence, and structural violence in our country, such as hunger and the corruption prevalent in so many sectors, etc.

In this context, on September 29, Sister María Agustina Rivas, a sister of the Congregation of the Good Shepherd, was targeted to be killed along with eight other people, who were villagers of La Florida, in Chanchamayo Province, Junín. She died bearing witness to her faith in the Lord of Life and to her affiliation with the simple and helpless people in the interior of our country. She was defenseless when she died, as our poor die every day. She died as a humble Peruvian who could not understand how it was possible that in a country of sisters and brothers, we are killing each other.

We are convinced that God has welcomed her as a dearly beloved daughter and that hers is not a meaningless or random death. And we know that the Lord of Life, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who knows that the grain dies to bear fruit, will bear the fruits of peace that we all hope for. We believe that it is not by taking life that a fraternal country in which we can humanly live is achieved but, rather on the contrary, it is by working so that everyone has Life and has it in abundance (Jn. 10), so we can offer everyone the chance for justice and peace.

Together with Sister Agustina, with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and with so many men and women religious in Peru who devote their lives to the lowly, we wish to reaffirm our vocation to remain faithful to our God in accompanying our humble people who are constantly exposed to death. We are convinced that this is our place and the way to follow Jesus, who is present in the suffering experienced by our people.

May the Lord of miracles, the Lord of the poor and oppressed of our land, give us the strength to build a more just world in solidarity with the poor.

October 6, 1990