January is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month . Sharing Sisters Sheila Novak and Jean Schafer’s Christmas letter couldn’t be timelier.
Christmas is the time of connection – God with us and we with you. It is always good to get a glimpse of your life and to give you a glimpse of ours.
Even though we passed the operation of SDS Hope House to another faith-based group, we communicate with and advocate for some of the women who had lived with us. That unplanned “aftercare” evolved and continues. We Skype chat weekly with one woman and recently helped her buy a “new” car from a distance. Her former car, purchased with money she saved while at Hope House, had a dying engine. To replace it was a major expense, but through internet searches and some donations, we helped her find an affordable “new” used car. This is a boon to her life of independence and to getting her daughter to needed activities.
Another of our former women graduated December 14th as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). She was able to achieve this degree through a scholarship from the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking Coalition. Sister Jean, a board member of the group, was her advocate. This achievement will enable her to get a better job and provide for her daughter.
Sister Jean still puts out her monthly “STOP Trafficking” newsletter – now in its 16th year. Sister Sheila tutors refugee women in ESL. Knowing English will help them become inserted in our broader society more easily. We continue to do awareness raising about the complexity of human trafficking. It is a heartbreaking reality for us and a place where we try to be light.
May light shine on you and through you this Christmas season!
Sisters Jean and Sheila