As a student, Pope Francis had come across an 18th-century painting showing Mary calmly and persistently undoing the knots in a long rope, and it resonated deeply for him. What are those knots, those struggles and challenges then and in our day that need undoing? What resonates deeply for us?
Human trafficking is one of the knots that is prevalent in the Twin Cities, and indeed, throughout the world, that needs to be undone. It is estimated that in Minnesota there are between 8,000 to 12,000 women and children being sold for sexual services.
The Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa are working to unravel the knot of human trafficking. Some of the ways they have done this include sponsoring a presentation on human trafficking; collecting 5,000 hygiene items; crocheting and selling 200 ribbon necklace, a project that netted $1,000 in food gift cards for survivors of trafficking; and, through a grant from the Sinsinawa Ministry Allocation Fund, cutting, serging, packaging, and presenting 1,000 polar fleece scarves to three organizations working with women who are victims and survivors of human trafficking. Donations provided food gift cards and bus passes to be included with the scarves. Another 1,000 scarves were packaged and sold. Each package contained a prayer for the women as well as educational resources and opportunities for volunteer service.
Through their commitment to the persistent undoing of the knot of human trafficking, the Sisters have created a web site, attended sessions on the Safe Harbor Bill, distributed materials at the Minnesota State Fair, and marched in protest on the streets where sexually exploitative businesses are located and where the pimps and johns work night and day.
The focus for 2014 is education for families, adult groups, and college and high school students. Education could be a tipping point in unraveling some of the knots. Like Mary, Undoer of the Knots, the Sisters will persistently and collaboratively keep working to unravel the knot of human trafficking.
Learn more at Sr. Martha Wiegand, OP’s Spectrum article: ‘Undoing the Knots’ of Human Trafficking.