HUMAN TRAFFICKING: A Modern Day Slavery

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We tend to think of slavery as a thing of the past, but history has a way of repeating itself. Today, we find that human slavery is once again a sickening reality whose pervasive violence against women continues to be one of the least recognized human rights abuses in the world.

According to Peel Regional Police, 60% of all reported human trafficking cases in Canada occur in the Greater Toronto Area.  And, most of these are of women under 18 years old, trafficked for the purposes of sex.

On April 26, 2018 CNWE (Catholic Network for Women’s Equality) once again held a “Stop Human Trafficking” campaign to raise awareness for a better understanding of the issue.

The group gathered first at Holy Trinity Church for input from a representative of the Peel Regional Police, and group sharing and reflection, before proceeding to Dundas Square for a silent awareness vigil.

We condemn this forced exploitation of individuals, most of whom are young girls. We refuse to be merely bystanders in the face of this continuing oppression and violence against women that remains hidden in a culture of silence.  We call all local communities and government leaders to find collaborative ways to end human trafficking close by and around the world.

by Lorie Nuñez, OLM

 

DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER, DECLUTTER

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This is our daily mantra as we prepare to move into Presentation Manor this fall. 

Since we’re trying to abide by the Three R’s….  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…  we’re not just throwing stuff away. 

As environmental and social activist Julia Butterfly says: “When you say you’re going to throw something away — where’s ‘away?’ There is no away.”

First, we try to find someone who can reuse the things we no longer need. 

But then, what about things that no one is using anymore?  This was my thought as I looked at our collection of VHS video tapes and audio cassette tapes.  Luckily someone pointed me towards Red Propeller.  For a small fee, they recycle VHS & Beta videotapes, cassette tapes, floppy discs, 8-Tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, and more.  They also have a child car seat recycling program.

And, many of the people who work at Red Propeller are those with barriers to employment.

It’s an all around win situation.  For more information, go to:

https://www.redpropeller.ca/

 

 

Toronto: Blue Scarf Earth Day Walk

Several OLMs participated in the Blue Scarf Walk in Toronto on Earth Day, April 22, 2018:

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The theme was :  Protecting & Connecting with our Food, Land, Water

About 40 people participated in the walk which began next to Queen’s Park and wended around 6 stations throughout the downtown area, ending at Dundas Square.

As we paused at the stations, we prayerfully considered:  SACRED EARTH, SACRED WATER, SACRED FOOD, SACRED LAND, SACRED AIR AND SACRED ENERGY.

It was a very meaningful way to honour, celebrate and stand in solidarity with EARTH.

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We are grateful to those who sponsored the walk:Sponsored by:
Development and Peace
Jesuit Volunteers Canada
Camp Micah
Basilian Centre for Peace & Justice
Pax Christi Toronto
KAIROS

WaterDocs Film Festival

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On April 12, 2018, Water Docs held its 7th Annual Film Festival opening night at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. The event launched the Water Warrior Award.  Maude Barlow, the first recipient, was recognized for giving the world  hope and inspiration to be a caring society that provides health care and equity for all its citizens.  

Also, in this annual gathering three winning films were featured; HOLY (UN) HOLY RIVER by Pete McBride & Jake Norton, FIX AND RELEASE by Scott Dobson, and AMAZONIA DAMMED by Ada Bodjolle.  Each film brings awareness of the importance to protect and to preserve water.

The human right to water is also an awareness for us all to acknowledge.  Clean drinking water and sanitation are essential for everyone.  We call all world leaders and local government leaders to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

One of the many ways to make this awareness become reality is by joining the Blue Community Project campaign. Please see links below.

By Lorie Nuñez

https://canadians.org/bluecommunities

Water Warrior Award

Saying “Yes!” Again

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A painting of Immaculata house.

March 25’th, normally the Feast of the Annunciation is an important day for Our Lady’s Missionaries.  We celebrate Mary’s “Yes!” and reflect on ways in which God may be asking a “Yes!” of us.  It is also the anniversary of a Mass of Thanksgiving our founder, Fr. Dan Macdonald, offered in 1949 in the house that was to become Immaculata House, the first home of OLM in Alexandria, Ontario.

This year, March 25’th fell on Palm Sunday, and the Feast of the Annunciation was moved to April 9’th.  And so, on the eve, Sunday, April 8 OLMs gathered to celebrate and give thanks.

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We celebrated with the joy of the Easter season as we remembered the Annunciation and our anniversary.

DSCN3035We also remembered and held in prayer in a special way, Pam McDonald, the wife of Mary Gauthier’s nephew, Sandy.  Pam passed away on March 29.  We prayed for her husband and all their family as they mourn the loss of one held so dear.

During our Eucharist, OLMs shared favourite memories of our beginnings and of our founder, Fr. Dan Macdonald and co-founders Sr. Odelia CSJ and Sr. Mary Ida CSJ.  It was clear that even today we are imbued with their spirit.  This knowledge encourages us as we face new beginnings in the coming year with our move to Presentation Manor.

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We all laughed as one sister noted how important food seemed to be to our founders!  And, we proved ourselves to be well-imbued with this spirit as we then shared a wonderful meal in which all had a hand in preparing.

Sr. Christine Gebel, OLM

Easter Message

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On Good Friday, as in other years, some of us participated in the Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice in downtown Toronto. This year the theme was “Dimensions of Poverty”. At the four stations we had the opportunity to reflect on some of the unjust situations that exist here in Canada and in other countries, situations that we as Christians are called to do something about.

We heard again that many workers are forced to live on inadequate wages and unfair working conditions, that the legal system works against the poor, making it difficult for them to rise out of poverty. We were reminded that the wealth in the world is unfairly distributed and benefits the few; poverty is greater among Indigenous people; the number of homeless in the city is increasing.

We saw again that the resurrection of Jesus that gives us cause for hope does not give us the right to presume. We cannot wait for God to act because God acts in us.

The joyful, hope-filled gift of Easter is the awareness that God who showed us how to live justly through the life of Jesus continues to be with us. When we act on behalf of our sisters and brothers who need us we find, like the couple on the road to Emmaus, that God is there.

A Blessed Easter to all.

– Frances Brady, OLM