The Making of “Louder Than Words”: An interview with Producer Priscilla Wyrzykowski

(To see the 44-minute video, visit, and search for “SASAC”)

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.

Q:  Can you tell us about the production details? How and when was it filmed and edited, and who was on the team?

Priscilla: Our 6 person film team, working without pay, shot more than 40 hours of video while on location in India in October 2006. Footage consisted of interviews of Father Abraham and the SASAC Management team at the time, various projects that helped to financially sustain their organization, as well as general merriment shots of people and places.

The purpose of this initial trip was meant for research only; to collect information and familiarize ourselves with SASAC. The footage captured was to be used as “B-roll” footage only – support for use only in the event we could not capture ideal footage when filming the actual documentary, which was to take place on our return trip to India, subject to getting more funding. Our hopes for outside funding and financial support were not met, leaving our team to work with the footage we currently had, the result of which is the film you see today.

Meanwhile, I must mention another part of this story. Due to a chain of events involving the Indian government, the Jesuit religious order, the avian flu panic in 2006, and more complexities that could ever be described in a few words here, foreign donations to SASAC (and many organizations in India) were blocked in 2006. After having grown for five decades, SASAC was virtually closed in 2007, with assets being sold, employees fired, and the “family” dispersed. As it turns out, in retrospect we now know that Louder Than Words, filmed in the fall of 2006, captured Father Abraham and the SASAC project at the peak. And the Louder Than Words project provided a thread that kept the flame of hope alive. Today in 2012, SOJASI is alive and well as the successor to SASAC. But that’s a whole other story.

A very special thank you goes out to the immediate film team who not only traveled the distance with me physically, but also emotionally: Chris Wayatt, Larry Raskin, Colin Yardley, Helen Rhee, and Tom Raycove.

Along with these five members of the film team, Louder than Words would not be what it became, had it not been for others who lent their support financially, or through moral support, spanning the three years it took to complete this project. Paul Tremblay, who initially inspired me to make this film and provided support by way of his fundraising efforts. My Mom, Hildy, who also donated funds to get us moving forward. My brother Mike, who kept me focused and on track. The Helten family who provided a treasure trove of old pictures and letters of communication between Father Abraham and his supporters to be used as reference material, to numerous friends and family who corralled and motivated me to finish what we set out to do.

Q: Do you have any concluding thoughts for us?

Priscilla: It goes without saying my love and appreciation for Father Abraham and the rest of the SASAC family is deep. Their cooperation and willingness to welcome each and every one of us while in India for the shoot was truly remarkable. There were a lot of laughs as well as tears.

The adage that in life it’s the journey and not the destination that matters is very true. The three years it took for us to make “Louder than Words” was a real growing experience in more ways than I could have imagined. Throughout the process I was continually reminded and inspired by Father Abraham’s strength and dedication to making a difference in our world; something I strive to hold on to even today.

Thank you, Father Abraham and the rest of the SASAC family for committing your lives to bettering this world, and for making our video possible.

Priscilla Wyrzykowski
Vancouver, BC Canada

September, 2012


  • 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