Let us pray for all those who have suffered offences
against their human dignity and whose rights have been trampled;
let us pray for women, who are all too often humiliated and marginalized,
and let us acknowledge the forms of acquiescence in these sins
of which Christians too have been guilty. — St. John Paul II
Yvette Fouchi, this last summer, shared with me stories from the extraordinary work she does with the Free Indeed Home. I asked her to write up a brief synopsis of this work of justice for my blog, and to share a video she had shown me. The video, in particular, blew me away — a magnificent witness to the redeemed masculinity, fraternity and paternity Christ came to forge in the world. Amid a male culture saturated in the sexual narcissism of pornography and promiscuity, such men are inciters of the Gentlemen’s Revolution. Thank you, Fr. Brad, and all men out there who resolve a life of courageous chastity to revere and honor, and not ravage and dishonor, the dignity of all women.
The Immortal King, who cherishes each woman as His beloved daughter, would expect nothing else.
Based on JP II ‘s TOB, I get to bring a day-long retreat to the 12 to 17-year-old girls who live at the Free Indeed Home. They have all been sex trafficked for years. Sex trafficking is much more insidious than the typical scenario portrayed in movies in which a person is kidnapped and put in a cage. They are oftentimes sold by someone they considered to be a boyfriend or trusted friend; sometimes by their own parents. Psychological manipulation and fear hold them captive long after they are separated from their abusers.
We call the day “YOU ARE L.O.V.E.D.” and we use games, activities, and short talks as we take each letter of the word, “LOVED,” to introduce the truth about WHO they really are and WHOSE they are.
We focus on their identity as being – Loved as a One-of-a-Kind, Vibrant, Extraordinary, Daughter of the King of Kings.
Most of them have never had a birthday party, so we tell them that we are there to celebrate the day they were born. We bring out cupcakes with lit candles and we sing Happy birthday. They get homemade treats and a list of names of people who are praying for them. We tell them all these people love them without ever wanting anything from them.
Fr. Brad Doyle offers his time, energy, and prayer for them in a special “prayer ruck.” He prays for the girls while he carries 30 pounds on his back and runs and does calisthenics. He makes a short video of himself in which he tells the girls that they are loved and that there are men out there who are willing to sacrifice for them and not take from them. Without exception, the video strikes each girl in the center of her equilibrium, bringing a deep focus, smiles, and oftentimes, tears. They have told me they didn’t know men like that existed. Fr. Brad’s loving sacrifice for them gives us an easy segue into how much more God loves them and has sacrificed for them and offers a hope that is sure.
Their understanding of the word “love” begins to take on new meaning.
As the day goes on, you should see their smiles, the way their faces soften, and many times the tears that flow when they begin to touch the reality that their lives have purpose beyond anything they had imagined.
We end the day with a short ceremony where they each receive a certificate and a long-stemmed rose. Again, smiles and tears abound.
These girls have been isolated and repeatedly raped, beaten, deprived of standard medical care, nutrition, and education. What I do is Just ONE TINY DROP of water in the Sahara Desert of what these girls need, but I feel strongly that this is something God has called me to do.
If anyone feels that tug at their heart for these girls, there are many things that can be done to help them. Just connect with Debbie Schinskie, Director of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Respect Life Office at http://respectlife.arch-no.org/