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2022 Assembly

 

From slaves to nuns: stories of Afro-European women in the nineteenth century Webinar – 13th March 2024.

 

On behalf of RENATE member Dr. Mary McHugh, please find the following invitation to join next month’s ISHWRA (International Scholars of the History of Women Religious Association) seminar taking place on Wednesday 13 March at 12:00 noon (GMT/London time). 

Dr Giacomo Ghedini (Sciences Po Paris, France) will deliver a paper entitled ‘From slaves to nuns: stories of Afro-European women in the nineteenth century’. If you would like to attend this virtual session, registration is via the following link: Meeting Registration – Zoom.

From slaves to nuns: stories of Afro-European women in the nineteenth century

During the nineteenth century, Sub-Saharan children victims of the Trans-Saharan slave trades were frequently ransomed by Catholic missionaries and sometimes brought to Europe to receive a Catholic education and become ‘indigenous missionaries’. These African children were termed ‘moretti’ by the European missionaries, which literally means ‘little Moors’ or ‘young Blacks’. Though the scale of this phenomenon remains unknown to this day, it is conceivable that over 2,000 ‘moretti’ were brought out of Africa by Italian and French missionaries, with more than half of them being girls. How were they selected by missionaries: was it based on their skin colour, ethnic origin, sex, age, and so on? What was their education to become religious? This paper will endeavour to answer these and other questions by analysing two case studies of former slaves who became nuns: Giuseppina Bakhita (ca. 1869-1947) and Bakhita Quascé (ca. 1845-1899). The first one became a nun in Venice and lived her life in Italy, and today she is well-known, having been canonized as a saint in 2000, the first African woman in the modern age. The second one, after being educated in Verona, returned to Sudan, where she became a religious and a teacher in the missions, but is now long forgotten. Through a comparison of the two, this paper will also show what the European missionaries’ expectations of them were and how these expectations played a role in the preservation or oblivion of their memory.

Giacomo Ghedini is affiliated to the Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po Paris and is currently Teaching assistant at Sorbonne Université.

Awareness Raising Efforts from SOLWODI Hungary

 

Since December 2022, SOLWODI HUNGARY has participated in an ongoing awareness raising project with a small-town secondary school in Dombovar, Hungary. Over the past two years, multiple awareness raising programs and other activities have been run in the school, which is under the patronage of the Order of Malta. 

As part of the school’s awareness raising activities, SOLWODI HUNGARY was invited on the 9th February to talk about prevention and all other related issues of human trafficking. SOLWODI HUNGARY was represented by Sr. Judit Knab and Dr. Agnes Martony, who participated in a long and informal, but very fruitful conversation with the pupils (between age 16-18). 

As a present from SOLWODI, they gave away pocket mirrors, wrist bands, numerous leaflets and other awareness raising materials. The event was followed by a very interesting presentation on how to combat human trafficking for the teaching and educational team of the school. Both facilitators remarked on the excellent experience and that they strongly believe they will be back for more soon! 

Intersections of AI, Civic space and Democracy: Conference of INGOs hosts event celebrating World NGO Day.

 

The Conference of INGOs hosted an event to celebrate World NGO Day on 27 February in Strasbourg and online on the topic  “The Civic Space, Democracy and Artificial Intelligence: how do they intersect?”

You can consult the final programme with the guest speakers and watch the full video recording in replay at the following link:

Watch online : World NGO Day – 27 February 2024- talk on “Civic Space, Democracy and Artificial Intelligence: how do they intersect?” – Conference of INGOs (coe.int)


Comme annoncé précédemment, la Conférence des OING a organisé un événement pour célébrer la Journée mondiale des ONG le 27 février à Strasbourg et en ligne sur le thème “L’espace civique, la démocratie et l’intelligence artificielle : comment interagissent-ils?”

Vous pouvez consulter le programme final avec les orateurs invités et visionner l’enregistrement vidéo complet en replay sur le lien suivant :

Visionnez en ligne : Journée mondiale des ONG – 27 février 2024 – débat sur “L’espace civique, la démocratie et l’intelligence artificielle: quelles interactions ?” – Conférence des OING (coe.int)

International ONLINE PILGRIMAGE of Prayer – 8 February 2024 (catch-up recording available) 

 

Congratulations to Abby Avelino and the team at Talitha Kum and the UISG Rome, on a wonderful international online pilgrimage of prayer and awareness against human trafficking, Thursday, 8 February. The online Pilgrimage of prayer and awareness against human trafficking took place, across all continents and time zones. It began at 9:30 am from Oceania, followed by Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, South America, and finally concluded at 4:30 pm with North America.

Over 50 countries participated and the central block, for the second consecutive year, was entrusted to young people engaged against trafficking.

As in recent years, at noon, a message from Pope Francis was read by Sr. Patricia Murray, IBVM. The full message is available at: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2024

The event was broadcast live in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian) on www.prayagainsttrafficking.net

 “Trafficking is around us, in our cities, but is often invisible to our eyes. With this Day, we want to increase awareness of trafficking, reflect on the situation of violence and injustice suffered by the victims of this global phenomenon, and propose concrete solutions. We invite everyone to listen and observe attentively, to dream together with the young people of a better world and to act for change, starting from personal, community, and institutional commitment to effectively counter the causes of trafficking and exploitation,” said Sister Abby Avelino, MM, coordinator of the Day.

 THE NETWORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY

The initiative is coordinated by Talitha Kum, the international anti-trafficking network with over 6000 sisters, friends, and partners. It is promoted by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and the Union of Superiors General (USG), in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Dicastery for Communication, the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, Caritas InternationalisCoatNet, the Focolare Movement, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the International Union of Catholic Women’s Associations (WUCWO), JPIC- Anti-Trafficking Working Group (UISG/UISG), The Clewer Initiative, the Community Association Pope John XXIII, the International Federation of Catholic Action, the Italian Catholic Guides and Scouts Association (AGESCI), the RENATE Europe network and the Santa Marta Group, together with numerous other organizations worldwide.

Watch the full day’s recording below:

 

Talitha Kum Launch of ‘Walking in Dignity’ App:

 

On Tuesday 30th January, Talitha Kum, the international anti-trafficking network of more than 6000 sisters, friends and partners, presented a new initiative: the ‘Walking In Dignity’ App. The walking application invites individuals to walk on this journey toward awareness of human trafficking and its prevention.

The launch served as an invitation to all, particularly young people, to download the App and engage. The application is designed to teach, engage, and care about the people facing human trafficking and to care for, heal, and empower survivors. A creative and innovative tool application offers features such as a virtual journey for collecting tokens in tandem with real-life steps. Simultaneously, users can gain insights into various perspectives on human trafficking while earning steps.

The creation of this application was made possible through the collaboration and support of Misean Cara, the Embassy of Ireland to the Holy See, the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, the Galileo Foundation and the Global Solidarity Fund.

RENATE would like to extend its heartiest congratulations to Talitha Kum on the success of their launch and to all who contributed to the development of the Walking in Dignity App.

You can read more about the App and its launch by clicking on the link below:
https://www.talithakum.info/en/news/talitha-kums-walking-in-dignity-app

OLA Sisters and SMA Fathers host webinar on “The Weaponisation of Cultural Beliefs in Human Trafficking”, 13th February 2024.

 

You are invited to join the SMA Fathers and OLA Sisters as they explore the intersection of cultural beliefs and human trafficking, learning how traditional oath-taking rituals and the influence of juju (magic) become insidious ‘control mechanisms’, ensnaring victims in bondage and leaving them at the mercy of traffickers.

“The Weaponisation of Cultural Beliefs in Human Trafficking”, 13th February 2024, 7.00pm – 8.15, Via Zoom.

Registrations are open here: https://subscribepage.io/februarytrafficking2024

RENATE Co-President, Ivonne van de Kar, Key Speaker at The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) Conference on “The role of Churches and faith-based organisations in fighting trafficking in Human Beings: Catholic initiatives.”

 

This event aims to foster dialogue and collaboration in the fight against human trafficking, as well as discover the invaluable insights and experiences of Catholic actors in combating this heinous crime both in Europe and around the globe.

The conference is co-organised by COMECE and the Santa Marta Group, an anti-trafficking charity launched in 2014 to act as a catalyst for law enforcement, civil society and the Church to work together to combat this global crime. The Group is supported by Pope Francis, who described human trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society; a crime against humanity.”

Read more:

Medaille Trust: New partnership crosses borders to support survivors of modern slavery and their families

 

To mark the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, on 8th February,  two organisations working together to support survivors of modern slavery, The Salvation Army and Medaille Trust, are celebrating a new partnership to provide end to end support to survivors and their family members through global networks. 

The Salvation Army welcomes Medaille Trust to its Beyond Programme which was established in recognition that international support systems for survivors of modern slavery are underfunded, constantly changing and highly varied. Deploying its existing international network, working in 134 countries across the globe, The Salvation Army’s Beyond Programme supports survivors wishing to return to their home country to reintegrate safely and with support. It also provides support to their family members when separated by borders.  

 Medaille Trust is one of the largest Catholic charities confronting modern slavery. CEO Garry Smith said:

“We are delighted to be participating in The Salvation Army’s Beyond programme. Confronting the global crime of people trafficking requires better international collaboration, particularly in supporting survivors who wish to return and reintegrate into their home countries. We have already seen the benefit of this partnership supporting a survivor to go home and begin the process of rebuilding their life and we are excited to see what could be possible in the future.”

The Beyond Programme already operates with colleagues from The Salvation Army’s specialist support services in England and Wales. Through a government contract they help adult survivors of modern slavery with their recovery. Other partner organisations include Causeway and most recently Hestia who, like Medaille Trust, work with The Salvation Army on this contract.

Since February 2023 the Beyond programme has:

  • received referrals from more than 30 different nationalities;
  • worked  with more than 50 different organisations across the world
  • supported more than 80 survivors needing help for their own recovery and reintegration or support for families members from whom they are separated.

Medaille Trust worked with The Salvation Army to help one survivor of modern slavery in the UK fulfil her wish to return to her home country. Her specialist support worker from Medaille Trust said:

“I am very thankful to The Salvation Army’s Beyond Programme who made it possible for her to return to her home country. She had been wanting to go back home ever since she was first trafficked to the UK but has unfortunately not had any safe place to go. It was so great to be able to work together with the Beyond Programme to support her to have a safe house to live in her own country who also offer her support in her own culture and language to move forward positively with her life there. I saw a huge difference in her mental health and wellbeing once she knew she could go home and still be safe and receive support.”

Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, Kathy Betteridge said:

“It is vital to have end to end help for survivors who want to return home safely and with everything in place to build a successful future. We are privileged to be on the frontline working directly with survivors and witnessing first-hand the impact this kind of support can have on transforming lives. We cannot do this alone and so it is wonderful to be working with partners like Medaille, Causeway and Hestia and to receive support from the public to help us meet the needs of many more people. We would also encourage people to join us in prayer not only for survivors and the staff and volunteers who work with them but also for a change in heart for the traffickers who trick trap and trade in the lives of vulnerable people.”

SOLWODI Hungary prepares for St. Bakhita Day commemoration in Budapest

 

Agnes Martony

During January 2024 SOLWODI Hungary had a busy period.

We have been called out to give an awareness raising lecture for girls between age 14-18 in a state-run institution. We were jointly invited by the institution and the Franciscan sisters who help with the girls.

Sr. Gabriella and Sr. Judit were talking about Bakhita Josefina, her life, and her journey from slavery to freedom. They also gave a motivational talk about the value of each person and there was a Q&A session afterword. Small, donated notebooks were presented to the girls as a gift from SOLWODI Hungary. We think it was a successful visit as not just the teachers and the leaders of the institution were very keen to get more information about trafficking, but some girls also wanted a follow up from us. We hope that this was not a once-off visit in the institution but that we could keep the contact with them.

At the moment, we are busy preparing our St. Bakhita day in Budapest. We will have our yearly commemorative mass at 18:00 CET on Thursday 8th February 2024 in the Jesus Szive Templom (1085 Budapest, Mária utca 25). Mass will be celebrated by Fr.Gabor Bellovics SJ and will be an hour of adoration afterwards.

Everyone is welcome!