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Radical Love - An Easter Message
“Peacemaking doesn’t mean passivity. It is the act of interrupting injustice without mirroring injustice.
It is the act of finding a third way that is neither fight nor flight but the careful, arduous pursuit of reconciliation and justice.”
Recently, most of the Franciscan Peacemakers staff attended the Thistle Farms National Conference. Here, we met and learned from organizations around the world who are focused and committed to creating a path to healing for women who have experienced sexual exploitation due to childhood sexual abuse, rape, sex trafficking or prostitution.
Several times, I caught myself in a moment of delight watching three of my colleagues who graduated from Franciscan Peacemakers own healing program mingle with graduates of other similar programs from around the country. There were belly laughs and tearful hugs as they shared their personal stories. The sisterhood of survivors is powerful and deep. It was an honor to witness this joy.
Throughout the conference I’d call to mind women we have lost over the years. Women who allowed us to witness their agonies and tragedies - pain from childhood abuse and neglect; pain from their lived reality of being used. For many women, the street eventually claims their life. Whether women die by overdose, suicide, stroke, heart attack or homicide - the streets contributed to those final deaths and a million smaller deaths along the way. As women we have lost came to mind, I couldn’t help but long for them to be with us at this conference, celebrating their victory over death.
Since 1995, Franciscan Peacemakers has been interrupting the violence of the streets by offering a way toward healing. This healing way does not involve prison or the revolving door of the criminal justice system. Instead, this way offers a radical and loving approach: providing safe, long-term housing and meaningful work in a loving, supportive and caring environment. This healing way offers women the chance to reclaim the human dignity that years of abuse has stripped from them. This healing way provides a path to victory over death on the streets. This healing way includes countless small resurrections along the way.
Your support allows us the opportunity to offer this radical love and support - the kind modeled to us by our inspirations, Saint Francis and Saint Clare. Thank you for continuing to walk this healing way with us. Your generosity widens the path so that more women can experience what new life has to offer.
With Easter hope,