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Sisters Kathy Kreie & Margaret Kruse went to the Immigration March in Milwaukee on Saturday, January 14. People gathered at Voces de la Frontera at 11 a.m., for prayer and speeches, and then began the march to the downtown courthouse.
At the courthouse there was a skit and more talks were given. The day event concluded at approximately 1:30.
A group of OSF sisters and friends joined the School Sisters of St. Francis at the SSSF Motherhouse on January 15 to spend a half hour in public prayer for peace. It was called “Circle the Cities with Love.” This is a movement begun in Cleveland, Ohio, last summer by Sr. Rita Petruziello, CSJ, who was inspired to circle the city of Cleveland in contemplative meditation during the Republican Convention so as to be a sign of a peaceful presence.
The response was phenomenal. Milwaukee is now part of this movement already established in over 40 cities and two other countries to Circle the City (Milwaukee) with Love at a time of great need for healing, peace and justice around the inauguration of our new President. This is not a “religious” nor a partisan movement. It is open to anyone who “wants to bring peace and love into the universe, because we need it.”
On October 2, Sr. Margaret Kruse went to St. Peter Parish in Slinger, Wisconsin, to give a presentation on human trafficking. This was part of the parish adult education program. Between 25 and 30 people were in attendance, and Sr. Margaret noted that here was great interest in learning more about this issue. Some had exposure to trafficking, but were very curious about what is happening now in Milwaukee and the surrounding area.
All the parishes in Wisconsin received a Toolkit last November, so interested persons can request information or a human trafficking presentation at a local parish. The kit includes a DVD – “Chosen,” a sheet on human trafficking resources for Wisconsin parishes, statistics on sex trafficking and labor trafficking, business cards with a hotline number, a business card listing the “red flag” signs of trafficking, and a flash drive containing a presentation on trafficking.
JPIC Directors and Communication Directors of LCWR’s Region 9 are creating a toolkit on human trafficking for parishes and schools. Components of the toolkit consist of: a power point presentation on trafficking, the DVD “The Chosen,” a fact sheet with action items and resources, a one page visual chart on sex and labor trafficking, a business card with the hotline number for victims (888-3737-888), and a business card to “Know the Red Flags.” Sisters Margaret Kruse and Ann Kelley have volunteered to speak in parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese on this topic.
For many months a group of sisters and associates have been meeting to discuss the feasibility of providing a house of hospitality/drop-in center for victims of human trafficking / prostitution on the south side of Milwaukee. Founding members of this group include the School Sisters of St. Francis, the pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Sisters of St. Joseph – Third Order of St. Francis in Stevens Point. The house would be a center where women could find respite, community resources and advocacy, spiritual guidance, holistic healing and moral support. Debbie Asbury facilitated a process to determine how members of the Hospitality House Committee and the Benedict Center’s Sisters Program could collaborate to serve potential clients. Sisters Diana De Bruin and Margaret Kruse attended the day of processing.
One way that all sisters and associates can get involved in the human trafficking issue is to pray for the reduction and eventual elimination of this modern day form of human slavery.
What we also know at this point is that legal incorporation for this endeavor is in process and there are several non-profit agencies, a Lutheran pastor, and the Benedict Center (a non-profit organization already working with women in another part of the city that is willing to help with programing on the south side), that are interested, along with additional congregations of women religious. The proposed plan is to rent a house in Police District 2 on the south side of Milwaukee. As OSFs we will have to decide the extent to which we want to commit to this project. Funding, personnel and volunteers are all avenues for our participation.