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1986. A conductor on the modern-day underground railroad, the Sanctuary Movement for Central American refugees, Sister Darlene had lived in Guatemala and had seen close up the reign of terror, made more cruel by Ronald Reagan's policy of denying sanctuary to its victims. She, with others, were charged with conspiring to smuggle or harbor aliens, and tried before a hostile judge by a prosecutor who saw in their interdenominational effort, a Marxist conspiracy.
After we were convicted, I prepared a statement to make before sentencing. It felt good to be able to speak at last, even if the jury wasn't there. "In Guatemala and El Salvador, thousands of Christians have been massacred. Thirty-nine priests, religious women and men and one Archbishop, assassinated. More than 51,000 civilians, women and children and men not involved with the guerrillas, have been murdered or have disappeared. The conditions I have seen and heard, in which our brothers and sisters from Central America are forced to survive, call out to me and all persons of faith and decency." Judge Carroll didn't look at me directly. "What could I have done, judge, knowing what I knew? What would you have done if you had experienced what I experienced? If you knew what I knew?" I asked him: "How else could I have tried to stop the deportations? What could I have done to follow my call as a School Sister of St. Francis to defend life?"