This is a 44-minute documentary showing the Saint Alphonsus Social and Agricultural Centre (SASAC). Filmed in 2006 and produced by Priscilla Wyrzykowski. Visit sojasi.org for more information about SOJASI, successor to SASAC. Visit sasac.ca/the-making-of-louder-than-words/ for interview with the producer.
Executive Producer: Paul Tremblay
Field Producer: Larry Raskin
Producer: Priscilla Wyrzykowski
Field Director: Tom Raycove
Post-Production Director: Priscilla Wyrzykowski
Director of Photography: Chris Wayatt
Writer: Colin Yardley
Production Manager: Helen Rhee
The Making of "Louder Than Words": An interview with Producer Priscilla Wyrzykowski
Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
Priscilla: I was one of those many millions of orphaned children in India, abandoned and left to fend for myself by my birth parents due to extreme poverty. As commonplace as this still is today, what remains uncommon, is my awe-some fate.
I was just over a year old when I was found outside a busy bus station by one of the nuns from Mother Theresa's order, the Missionaries of Charity where I was taken in and cared for at one of Mother Theresa's famed orphanages. A few months later, I was moved to an all-girl's orphanage run by Belgian Nuns in the foothills of the Himalayas, in Northern India. This would have been my permanent home had I not had the fortune of meeting my lucky star.
I owe my life to a woman named Hildy Wyrzykowski. In 1978, Hildy was one of a group of people visiting the young girls living at St. Margaret's orphanage in Darjeeling, of whom I was one. I was about three at the time.
Hildy had travelled to India to visit Father Abraham's organization and to experience first hand those ways her monthly financial contributions (along with those of hundreds of Father's supporters) aided the poor. It was then, during an afternoon visit to this orphanage - my orphanage, when my mother and I first met, locked eyes, and as they say, the rest is history. At the age of five, I flew to Canada, met my new family and settled in as the youngest of her nine children, of whom the last four were adopted.
Q: How did the idea for this documentary arise?
Priscilla: In 2005, I had moved on from a company that had inspired my interest in multimedia. As a person intrigued by others who had unique stories and led interesting lives, I was drawn to documentary films. A friend of mine familiar with Father Abraham and his work in India through his parents being long time supporters, suggested I use my knowledge gained in film and media to put a small film team together, return to India and film a documentary on Father Abraham and the organization he founded. With the support of many, I did just that.
Q: What do SASAC and Fr Abraham mean to you?
Priscilla: Father Abraham has been a part of my life for as long as I can recall.
Not only was he was instrumental in arranging that life-changing encounter between my Mother-to-be and me, but as a result of this, I grew up reading his monthly newsletters sent on to his supporters, sharing his trials and tribulations stemming from a life of service to the destitute in India.
For me, SASAC means there is an organization of people spanning the globe, working effortlessly to care for and restore the dignity of millions of the poorest of the poor. This inspired me to share Father Abraham’s story with as many people as possible.
Q: How did you settle on the title, "Louder than Words"?
Priscilla: Our writer for this documentary, Colin Yardley, did an excellent job of asking interview-type questions engaging Father Abraham in thought provoking conversation. We distilled the most poignant parts of these interviews for the film, much of which presented themselves in the form of pearls of wisdom and knowledge shared by Father.
The wealth of information shared between these two wise men, the realization of the complexity and viability of SASAC as a successful model worth replicating, and the humility we all found in Father Abraham while listening to him share his stories from the past 50 years of living among the poor in India, led us to our film’s title of “Louder than Words”.
It is clear that Father Abraham is a man of both of actions and words. But actions speak louder than words.
Visit sasac.ca/the-making-of-louder-than-words/ for the full interview with Priscilla Wyrzykowski.