Did you know that slavery exists today?
It does, in greater prevalence than at the height of the Civil War, and is known as ‘human trafficking.’
This week, Angela Santana hosts Saul Castellanos, of the Freedom Youth Project based in San Antonio, for a candid discussion on human trafficking, its victims, effects on our neighborhoods, and how we can stop it.
Our regular hosts, Deacon Tom and Mary Jane Fox, are off for the next couple of weeks; The Pilgrim Center of Hope is leading a pilgrim group to Marian shrines in Europe from October 31 to November 11. Join them spiritually by clicking on the link for the ‘Spiritual Pilgrimage’ listed in the bullets below.
Sounds great! How can I participate in this program?
South Texans can tune into Time Warner Cable channel 15 or radio 89.7 FM – and anyone can listen online by clicking the LISTEN LIVE button on CatholicismLive.com from 8pm – 9pm Central Time!
Submit questions / comments using the form on CatholicismLive.com or call during the program: (210) 734-5371
More information related to this episode of Catholicism Live!:
- Official Website of The Freedom Youth Project
- More about human trafficking from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Spiritual Pilgrimage with the Foxes to Marian Shrines of Europe
Saint of the Week: St. Josephine Bakhita (Feast Day: February eighth)
St. Josephine Bakhita was born to a wealthy family in Sudan in 1869. She could not recall the name given to her at birth by her parents after she suffered repeated terrible humiliation, both physical and moral, as a result of being kidnapped by slave traders at the age of 9 and sold and re-sold in the slave markets of El Obeid and of Khartoum. The kidnappers gave her the name of Bakhita, which means “the lucky one” – a terrible irony, at least at that point in her life. In the capital of Sudan, she was eventually bought by an Italian consul and unlike her previous experiences, was not lashed, but treated cordially during her time in his household. When political situations took the consul and his friend, a Mr. Augusto Michieli, back to Italy, Bakhita was brought too. Once in Italy, she stayed with Mr. Michieli and his wife, becoming both babysitter and friend to their new daughter, Mimmina.
When business required the Michielis to leave for Suakin, on the Red Sea, Mimmina and Bakhita were entrusted to the Canossian Sisters of the Institute of the Catechumens in Venice. Here Bakhita came to learn about God, whom she’d “had experienced in her heart without knowing who He was” since she was a young child. After several months, at the age of 21, Bakhita received the sacraments of Christian initiation and took the name Josephine. After this, she was often seen kissing the baptismal font and crying out “Here, I became a daughter of God!” When Mrs. Michieli returned for Mimmina, Josephine Bakhita chose to stay with the sisters. She eventually joined the Institute of Saint Magdalene of Canossa and was consecrated forever to God on December 8th, 1896.
For the next 50 years, Josephine lived in the community of Schio as a Daughter of Charity, engaging in cooking, sewing, embroidery and attending to the poor. Her gentle ways, humility, and constant smile were comforting to the poor who came to the Institute and she won the hearts of all the community citizens. In later years, as Josephine endured painful illness, she continued to witness to her Catholic faith and always smiled when asked how she was, replying “As the Master desires.” In her final days, she relived the agony of her time in slavery, begging the nurse who attended her to “loosen her chains.” She was freed finally from her suffering by Mary Most Holy, and smiled as she uttered her last words, “Our Lady! Our Lady!” Josephine Bakhita died February 8th, 1947 surrounded by the sisters of her community.
(Biography adapted from Aquinas and More.)
Quote read during our episode this week:
“One day I unwittingly made a mistake that incensed the master’s son. He became furious, snatched me violently from my hiding place, and began to strike me ferociously with the lash and his feet. Finally he left me half dead, completely unconscious. Some slaves carried me away and lay me on a straw mat, where I remained for over a month. A woman skilled in [tattooing] came to the general’s house…our mistress stood behind us, whip in hand. The woman had a dish of white flour, a dish of salt and a razor. When she had made her patterns; the woman took the razor and made incisions along the lines. Salt was poured into each of the wounds. My face was spared, but six patterns were designed on my breasts, and 60 more on my belly and arms. I thought I would die, especially when salt was poured in the wounds…it was by a miracle of God I didn’t die. He had destined me for better things.”
Saint Josephine Bakhita of Sudan, pray for us!
Pope Benedict XVI said of St. Josephine after her conversion:
Now she had ‘hope’ — no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me — I am awaited by this love.” Through the knowledge of this hope she was ‘redeemed,’ no longer a slave, but a free child of God.
Pearl of the Week: National Human Trafficking Hotline
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.
The NHTRC is a program of Polaris Project, a non-profit, non-governmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking. (Polaris Project is not a government entity, law enforcement or an immigration authority.)
- To report a tip on a potential case of human trafficking
- To connect with anti-trafficking services in your area
- To request training and technical assistance, general information or specific anti-trafficking resources
Victims can be…
- U.S. citizens or foreign nationals
- men, women, or children
Human trafficking can happen in many situations, including in:
- street prostitution, strip clubs, massage parlors, escort services, brothels
- factories such as garment, meat-packing or industrial
- farms, landscaping or construction
- peddling rings, begging rings, or magazine crews
- housekeeping, servile marriages
- service industries such as restaurants, bars, nail/hair salons