by Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer, MMM USA 08.04.2022
A few years ago, I was asked to watch a webinar about the works of The United States Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. They showed four branches, Education, Communication, Advocacy and Survivor Protection. The Sisters who spoke were very enthusiastic about what they were involved in. I asked if I could please join the Advocacy group and was accepted. Little did I know what was involved! I had to learn the terminology used when contacting legislators about passing a bill which would help the men, women, and children involved in human trafficking. I did not realize how many men were caught up in forced labor in the sea food industry and little children lured from another West African country with a promise of education or be forced to work for long hours in the sun and use a machete to harvest cocoa beans.
I could feel myself getting angry at the molesters and having a feeling of hopelessness in trying to do anything to stop these atrocities. I heard many stories of women and girls suffering from the bondage of sex slavery.
The Lord works in strange ways. A few days ago, when wondering how to write about this, I came across the obituary notice of Sr. Cora Wall MMM who died on the 18th of February 2012. Following her first profession of vows in 1952, Sr. Cora studied Social Science in university in Dublin. Shortly after receiving her diploma in 1954, she was missioned to Nigeria. At that time Hansen’s Disease, leprosy, was a great scourge in Nigeria, condemning people to a life of isolation, outcast by their family and community. Sr Cora was assigned the responsibility of building a Leprosy Village, sourcing building materials, food and clothing. It was a great financial undertaking. However, Sister Cora was a great communicator, and this was a talent she put to clever use to obtain whatever was needed for the Village. She became an advocate for the suffers of Hansen’s Disease and a great raiser of funds to assist them. Perhaps some of you who are reading this had grandparents or parents who back then helped Sister Cora.
So, what did Sr. Cora teach me about advocacy? First, you love the people you want to help. But so does God and He inspires you, and other people through you, to do something about it. Secondly, God loves the molesters and wants you to reach them somehow to convince them to change their ways. I heard this morning about Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. They did not want to start a war after apartheid was overturned but set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and listened to the grievances of the people who suffered. The molesters were moved to reform. The Gospel urges us to love our enemies. This is exceedingly difficult, but it is the price of peace. Let us all try to be advocates for peace, whatever difficulty we find ourselves in, trusting in God to work all things unto good.