In the United States Thanksgiving is the most celebrated holiday of the year. It is a season of gratitude and giving back. In the California Region efforts to create new partnerships with Lazarus has seen each sister making an effort personally and in her ministry to develop relationships, invite to the table and include those on the margins.
At Covenant House Sr. Margaret Farrell invited volunteers to help with the Thanksgiving dinner. We were able to sit at the table and learn from young adults who have experienced great struggles with homelessness in their lives. Sr. Margaret is developing a new program called Matthew 25, which engages her clients at Covenant House in helping the poor in the city.
We all read an article about getting to know Lazarus, a person in poverty, personally and as a result of this, Sr. Kathleen Newell, made a conscious effort to learn the names of the homeless outside the post office in her area and is able occasionally to share lunch with them. You can read this article at the US Catholic website.
Our Sisters in St. Columban, Garden Grove invited five people to their Christmas dinner who had nowhere to go. Sisters Bríd O’Shea, Maria Furlong and Bernadette Moran invited Moslem, Jewish and Catholic alike to join them in the convent for Christmas dinner. They reported it was the best Christmas ever!
Pope Francis asks us to develop relationships with those made poor and to wake up the world! On Saturday Jan. 10th we woke up the neighborhood with a march to raise awareness of human trafficking. We walked alongside survivors of human trafficking, detectives, coalitions, elementary school students, youth groups from high schools and colleges, Covenant House clients and coalitions that fight human trafficking. Sr. Mary Christian (Superior General) was here to join our RSC walkers along with Srs. Marsha Moon, Francis Maria, Michelle Hetherington, Margaret Farrell, Kathleen Newell and Kathleen Bryant. Sr Kathleen Newell, at 94, completed the 2 mile walk with no problem and contributed this reflection for the Press release: “When Jesus was walking to Calvary he stopped to comfort the women of Jerusalem; I always connect this scene with women who are trafficked.”
One of the survivors, Angela Guanzon, reminded all of us why we were walking with a short motivational pitch before we began the walk. A young ten year old girl led us all in prayer. She has been doing this walk since she was five years old.
With the M.A.L.E.S. (Men as Learners and Elders) playing drums the crowd was motivated to chant in various languages and engage people along the way. This day, January 10th, is the beginning of a National month long awareness and education campaign regarding the trafficking of persons.