FSPA honors World Day of Prayer against Human Trafficking

February 8 marked the sixth day of prayer against human trafficking, and FSPA hosted a moving prayer service in Mary of the Angels Chapel asking St. Bakhita, patroness of trafficked people, to intercede for us and for the many Josephine Bakhitas of our time.

Attendees heard several stories of the horrors of trafficking shared by event hosts. In a story from Uganda, we heard about a worker who was cheated by an agency that offered work in the Middle East. “I thought I had a great opportunity but found myself in domestic slavery. I worked tirelessly and received no food or compensation.” Today, after receiving support, Jessie lives in Uganda and is supported through her journey of reintegration into work and society.

A story from southwest Wisconsin shared a woman’s experience of familial trafficking. “I was married at the age of eight to an elder of the clan. But much of the time I was also traveling as a drug mule from my trafficker.” The story continued, offering hope. And, “… with the help of her aunts, Terry eventually escaped her familial traffickers by joining the military. Today, she shares her story with various audiences about the experience of trafficking in her life.”

Each attendee received a piece of thread as they entered the chapel. After hearing the stories of survival, they were invited to join the thread with that of their neighbor. “The knots you form link our lives with the stories we have heard and with the people around us. We commit ourselves to be a compassionate presence that has the capacity to transform the world around us.” 

In conclusion to the event, each attendee was invited to write on a post-it note a word expressive of emerged themes as sadness, hope, courage and love. Guests departed the chapel in silence, reminded that ending slavery is everyone’s work.

In case you missed it ...

FSPA Justice & Peace Coordinator Pat Ruda participated in a Global Awareness Through Experience immersion experience in Cuba. She shared her daily journal in a recent Perspectives Update. 

Pat also recently returned from her second FSPA border immersion experience to Arizona. She, along with Sister Mary Arnoldussen, FSPA Director of Housekeeping Vickie Kendle and Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council Executive Director Arlette Rodriguez-Miller, spent time visiting Casa Alitas Program which provides migrant families short-term shelter to help reunite with family members in the U.S. Pat, Sister Mary and Arlette shared their experience on Wisconsin Public Radio.

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