Presentation of UISG Bulletin n. 172 – 2020
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Talitha Kum: 10 Years!
Sr. Gabriella Bottani, smc, international coordinator of Talitha Kum
This bulletin is entirely dedicated to Talitha Kum, the worldwide network of consecrated life against trafficking in persons, that celebrated its 10th anniversary of international coordination in 2019, at the International Union of Superior Generals. Celebrating means giving thanks, first of all to God, for having faithfully accompanied us during all these years; thanking the women, girls, and young people who have escaped from trafficking and marked our lives and our work online; they are the ones who ask us to continue, with courage and determination, on the path we have taken; thanking every Superior General who has believed in, motivated, and supported Talitha Kum; and, finally, thanking all the sisters, lay people, and men religious who, with competence, passion, courage and perseverance, animate the 53 Talitha Kum Networks in the world and the international coordination.
In 2019, the celebration of the 10th anniversary was marked by the following events:
- The presentation of the new Talitha Kum logo, on 8 February 2019. The logo was designed in participatory form and expresses the identity of Talitha Kum: an orange hand with an internal spiral. The idea expresses the dynamics of the meeting of two hands: that of Jesus who took the girl’s hand. From the meeting and the touch comes the energy of life. A movement coming from within that heals and gives strength, “Get up and walk” (Mk 5:41–42) The meeting creates a new synergy, which transforms and gives the strength to get up! The color chosen for the hand is orange, the symbolic color of the fight against violence against women, a sunny color of hope and life.
- The photographic exhibition “Nuns Healing Hearts”, launched by pope Francis during the UISG Plenary Assembly on 10 May 2019. The photographic exhibition of Lisa Kristine, an internationally renowned humanitarian photographer, is a collection of pictures representing the commitment of the sisters of Talitha Kum in Thailand, Italy, Mexico, Guatemala, and the Philippines. The exhibition was presented at the United Nations in New York, for the United Nations World Day against Trafficking (30 July), and, in November, in Tokyo (Japan), on the occasion of the Holy Father’s visit.
- The First General Assembly of Talitha Kum, held in Rome from 21 to 27 September 2019, brought together 86 delegate representatives from all Talitha Kum networks.
- The audience of the Holy Father, pope Francis, with the delegates of the Assembly, took place on 26 September 2019.
- The publication of “Talitha Kum 2009-2019” edited by Peter Lah, SJ, and published by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University. The book is the result of the work done by Talitha Kum for the creation and implementation of its database. The data collected and processed have highlighted the consolidation and the quantitative and qualitative growth relating to both the formation of the Talitha Kum networks and what is related with the services offered.
On 31 December 2019, Talitha Kum brought together 53 networks, present in more than 90 countries on all continents. This is a growing commitment that makes us the “avant-garde” of the missionary action of the Church against the scourge of human trafficking, as Pope Francis said, in his address to the delegates of Talitha Kum:
“I congratulate you on the important work you are doing amid very complex and tragic situations. Your work brings together the missions of different institutions and demands cooperation between them. You have chosen to be on the front line. Therefore, the numerous Congregations that have worked and continue to work as the ‘avant-garde’ of the Church’s missionary activity against the scourge of human trafficking deserve gratitude. This is also a model of how to work together. It is an example for the whole Church, and also for us: men, priests, bishops … You are giving a great example—keep at it!”
(Address of the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the first general assembly of “Talitha Kum”, the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons. 26 September 2019—the full text is in the appendix)
Pope Francis’ words are very beautiful, and at the same time they are a call to responsibility. They echo the word in the Gospel: “Talitha Kum”, an invitation to go forward, to get up, to continue the journey to be credible witnesses of Christ, letting the Spirit of God weave our lives into inclusive and supportive networks. This is the missionary and prophetic intuition that led to the creation and growth of Talitha Kum!
The articles in this bulletin, weaving together several fundamental elements, will tell the story of Talitha Kum. First of all, the story that began in the late 90s of the last century.
Next come comes the reflection of Marcella Corsi and Giulio Guarini, both university professors of political economy and members of “Minerva” – Laboratory on Diversity and Gender Inequality. Their article presents an in-depth study of the causes of human trafficking from the point of view of the economic sciences. Linking women and the environment, the article proposes a reflection for a new economy and concludes with a provocation regarding the ambiguity of the market portrayed by many economics theorists as a promise, but which—as in the case of trafficking in people—instead becomes a threat.
The two concluding articles bring us into the heart of Talitha Kum, leading us to the inspirational source. The first text on the Spirituality of Talitha Kum comes from the reflection of Jennifer Reyes Lay, director of the Talitha Kum network in the United States, and Sr. Colleen Jackson, RSC, of the Australian network of Talitha Kum (ACRATH) and member of Talitha Kum’s International Coordination Committee. The second and final text is by Elizabeth Green, pastor of the Baptist Church and theologian, who immerses us in the crowd narrated in chapter 5 of the Gospel of Mark, where, in verse 41, we find the Aramaic word: “Talitha Kum.”
The appendix of the Bulletin contains the opening speeches, the integral message addressed by pope Francis to the delegates of the General Assembly of Talitha Kum, and the final declaration of the delegates. These are the documents that have marked the 10th anniversary of Talitha Kum.
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