The pontiff met with the delegates of the worldwide network of consecrated life dedicated to the fight against human trafficking who have gathered for the organisation’s first general assembly. In his address, Francis appealed to other religious congregations, both female and male, to join its missionary work.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today met 86 delegates to the first general assembly of Talitha Kum, a worldwide network of consecrated life dedicated to the fight against human trafficking. Talitha Kum is Aramaic and comes from Gospel of Mark. Translated, the words mean “young girl, I say to you, arise."
The organisation, which was established by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in 2009, is involved in many projects along with its participating congregations. For Pope Francis, it is "An example for the whole Church".
In praising its works, the pontiff noted that "In just ten years, it has come to coordinate 52 networks of women religious in more than 90 countries on all continents." It includes "2,000 workers” and “more than 15,000 victims of trafficking who have been helped and more than 200,000 people who have been reached through prevention and awareness-raising activities."
"I congratulate you on the important work you are doing in such a complex and dramatic field. The work combines mission and collaboration between institutes. You have chosen to be on the front-line."
"You have decided to discuss two main issues related to trafficking in the various work sessions. On the one hand, the great differences that still mark women’s conditions in the world, derived mainly from socio-cultural factors. On the other, the limits of the neoliberal development model, which risks undermining the State with its individualistic vision.
“There are undoubtedly complex and urgent challenges that require adequate and effective answers. I know that in your assembly you have committed yourself to identifying solutions, highlighting the resources necessary to carry them out. I appreciate this work of pastoral planning in view of a more qualified and profitable assistance to the local Churches."
"Although important, these are not the only challenges we face. The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development recently published the Pastoral Orientation on Human Trafficking, a paper that explains the complexity of today's challenges and offers clear guidelines for all pastoral workers who wish to engage in this field."
Francis went on to renew his “encouragement to all the female institutes of consecrated life that have agreed and supported the commitment of their sisters in the fight against trafficking and in helping victims. As I invite you to give continuity to this commitment, I also appeal to other religious congregations, both female and male, to join this missionary work, providing personal service and resources so that they can reach every place.
“I also hope that foundations and benefactors will multiply and ensure their generous and disinterested support for your activities. Regarding this invitation to other religious congregations, I think of the problems that many congregations have, and perhaps some, both female and male, will tell you: ‘We have so many problems to solve inside, we cannot . . .’ Tell them that the Pope said that problems ‘within’ are solved by going out on the road, so that fresh air is let in”.
Picture: the inauguration of the ‘Nuns healing hearts’ photo exhibit in May, at the Vatican.