Boston Area Catholic Sisters Host Prayer Vigil for National Human Trafficking Awareness Day Honoring the Memory of
Carole Lombard, CSJ
Leadership Conference of Women Religious Region I – Boston Unit
Boston, MA: Local Catholic Sisters representing sixteen congregations in the Greater Boston gathered with over 150 sisters, associates, and many friends on Saturday, January 11, 2014, to pray for an end to human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery. In 2007, the U.S. Senate designated January 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Those who gathered joined in solidarity with thousands of people across the country to raise awareness of sexual slavery and human trafficking worldwide. Although it is a U.S. initiative, Although the Awareness Day is a U.S. initiative, the United Nations has also highlighted this topic because of its global reach.
In her introductory remarks, Betsy Goodwin, OSF, commented, “We gather today to fulfill a responsibility of those who are free: to pray for all who struggle to cast off the chains of human trafficking; and to pray for those who work to respect and enhance the freedom of those who are trafficked.”
The prayer vigil also honored the memory of Carole Lombard, CSJ, who passed away in July 2013. Carole labored tirelessly to eradicate human trafficking by engaging and inspiring others, educating people from all walks of life, and advocating for just legislation to combat and eliminate human trafficking. Carole was a founding member of the Boston Anti-Trafficking Coalition [ATC] and a public advocate for Massachusetts legislation on behalf of victims and survivors of human trafficking. She was a major participant in the six-year effort to support the passage of anti-trafficking legislation passed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on November 21, 2011.
During the vigil, a glass etching designed by Adela Rodriguez, CSJ, was presented to Bakhita House, a safe house for women who are victims of human trafficking. In presenting this memorial, Mary Lou Simcoe, SUSC, stated, “There wasn’t a request to attend a workshop, take on a speaking engagement, or attend an anti-trafficking event to which Carole could say ‘no’. She was totally committed to educating, informing, and supporting any effort to end this grave social evil.”
Carole was a founding member of the task force which established Bakhita House , a safe house for victims of human trafficking. Pat McSharry, SNDdeN, also a member of this task force, received the memorial etching for Bakhita House. She said, “Carole was a woman attentive to all forms of injustice but very involved in the issue of human trafficking in recent years. I am convinced that she continues to advocate for the women of Bakhita House.”
Roman Catholic women religious have been key leaders in the national and international movement to stop human trafficking. In the past several years, the Boston area ATC has sponsored six symposia each attended by well over 200 participants who want to be part of the initiative to end this crime against humanity. Another symposium addressing the issue of Human Trafficking is planned for April 2014.
The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious includes several religious congregations representing over 800 women religious in the greater Boston area
Pictured above: Participants gathered in prayer outside the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse where the vigil was hosted; Carole Lombard, CSJ, at an Anti-Trafficking Symposium offered by Boston area Catholic sisters Pat McSharry, SND, receives memorial etching for Bakhita House from Mary Lou Simcoe, SUSC.
Contact: Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications, Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, firstname.lastname@example.org 617.746.2110