On September 27th, we commemorate the 31st anniversary of the martyrdom of Sister Aguchita, who was murdered by the Shining Path terrorist group in La Florida, Peru. That day, Aguchita and Vilma Licuona, one of the community sisters, had planned to make their monthly retreat. Aguchita was to make hers in the morning, while Vilma did her chores, and Vilma was to make hers in the afternoon, while Aguchita taught a group of girls how to make candy. In the meantime, Sr. Celina Jugo, the community leader, had gone to a nearby town to collect two young volunteers who were due to arrive.
At about three in the afternoon, while Aguchita was with the girls, Vilma was alerted to some commotion in the square. Gloria, who witnessed the unrest, recalled:
Sometime between about 4:00 pm and 4:30 pm, comrades from the Shining Path knocked on the doors and said: "Comrades, there's a meeting, come out because we want to talk to you all...". They waited for everyone to leave their houses, even the children. Everyone was at home, and they went to the houses even furthest away; even the elderly were brought out.
Meanwhile, Vilma remained hiding in the house, petrified, and trying to follow what was happening from the second-floor window. The Shining Path comrades, unable to locate the community leader, summoned Aguchita instead. Another witness, Raúl, recalled:
They were looking for Sister Celina because she was the figurehead of the Church locally, and they wanted nothing to do with the Church. That is why they came and took Sister Agustina from her candy workshop with the girls.
What must Aguchita have thought when they demanded that she come with them. Could she have imagined the turn of events that were about to take place? Was she aware that she was a lamb being brought to slaughter? Place yourself fully within this scenario: as a girl in the workshop, a bystander in hiding, or an armed comrade of the Shining Path. Be present and try to process your emotions. Watch Aguchita and how she responds to the situation – what do you learn from her?