2022 Assembly


Unveiling Ceremony of Canadian sculptor Mr. Timothy Schmalz’ sculpture ‘’Let the Oppressed Go free, ‘’ in Schio, Italy, 29 June 2023.


“Just by the existence of this piece out there, taking up that space is going to bring that awareness of human trafficking. I think it’s one of the best things artworks can do. If it can stop human trafficking, if it can bring awareness of what’s happening under basically every city….

The first step is awareness. So, I’d consider this a weapon to fight human trafficking.” Timothy Schmalz. 

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, blessed “Let the Oppressed Go Free,” Timothy Schmalz’s new sculpture on human trafficking in near the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in the Italian city of Schio, the town where Saint Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of victims of human trafficking, lived and died. 

Entitled, “Let the Oppressed Go Free”, the 20-foot sculpture weighing over three tons depicts St. Josephine Bakhita opening a trapdoor as she frees figures that represent trafficking victims from diverse backgrounds.

Present at the ceremony was the sculptor himself, Mr. Timothy Schmalz together with Mayor of Schio, Mr. Valter Orsi; Mr. Christopher Bratty, the benefactor of the work and President of the Rudolph P. Bratty Family Foundation; Sr. Sandra Maggiolo, FdCC, Superior General of the Canossian Daughters of Charity; Sr. Abby Avelino, International Coordinator Talitha Kum;  Monsignor Carlo Guidolin, parish priest and moderator of the St. Bakhita Pastoral Unit and Mr. GianFrancesco Sartori, President of the Bakhita Schio-Sudan Association, led the unveiling ceremony of the installation.

Credit: Photo Service of the Holy See© and Vatican News.