This is MWL’s fifth newsletter and we hope that it will brighten your Advent season with news from MWL up and down the country. We tell stories from the areas, share best practice and new initiatives which have taken place since our last newsletter. It is Christmas time and may this news inspire you to join with us in our attempt to make a small difference in this part of the world, with joy in all of our hearts and a spring in our step!
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote a story called The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree. It starts in a dark, freezing, miserable hovel in Petersburg. A six year-old boy dressed in rags sits alone next to his mother who has just died. He’s nearly starving, so he goes out in search of food. As he walks through the empty streets he looks into the houses and sees that they are filled with happy children celebrating Christmas. He knocks on several doors, but no one lets him in. Frightened by some older boys, the little boy takes refuge in a yard behind a pile of wood. There, he freezes to death. However, before dying the little boy dreams of the party of Christ’s Christmas tree, a party for all the child-victims of social injustice. There, he’s reunited with his mother, and they both join the festivities and are filled with joy.
The next St Bakhita day of Prayer which soon follows this Christmas season, is to be dedicated to Child Trafficking. For many of us working in the field of human trafficking, the story of Dostoevsky is not far from home. Perhaps this Christmas we can spare a thought and a prayer for the thousands of children trafficked into slave labour, street begging and a life of poverty and neglect.Let us wake up at Christmas to the story of love and open our hearts to those we do not see but whom we care to see on the edges of our own society but hidden in the gaps and cracks of our streets.
Mary Ward Loreto wishes you all peace and joy deep in your hearts, as we unite together at this very special time.
Imelda Poole (IBVM)