Wisconsin Woman Bypasses Teaching Career to Minister to Girls in Swaziland

Wisconsin Woman Bypasses Teaching Career to Minister to Girls in Swaziland

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Mary-Kate Martin, center, a member of Holy Family Parish in Marshall, Wis., is pictured in an undated photo with several of the girls she helps care for at a home in Swaziland. Martin founded Hosea's Heart, an organization that supports girls victimized by abuse and prostitution. (CNS photo/courtesy Mary-Kate Martin)
Mary-Kate Martin, center, a member of Holy Family Parish in Marshall, Wis., is pictured in an undated photo with several of the girls she helps care for at a home in Swaziland. Martin founded Hosea's Heart, an organization that supports girls victimized by abuse and prostitution. (CNS photo/courtesy Mary-Kate Martin)
Mary-Kate Martin, center, a member of Holy Family Parish in Marshall, Wis., is pictured in an undated photo with several of the girls she helps care for at a home in Swaziland. Martin founded Hosea’s Heart, an organization that supports girls victimized by abuse and prostitution. (CNS photo/courtesy Mary-Kate Martin)

 
MARSHALL, Wis. (CNS) — There aren’t many women in their mid-20s who would give up a teaching career and move to a southern African country to help young women leave a life of abuse and prostitution. But sometimes all it takes is one person to make a difference. Mary-Kate Martin, 28, a member of Holy Family Parish serving Marshall and Waterloo, is one such person. She is founder and executive director of Hosea’s Heart, a nonprofit organization that works with girls in Swaziland to overcome sexual abuse by serving their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The organization was named for Hosea, an Old Testament prophet whom God commanded to pursue and marry a prostitute as a reflection of God’s passionate love. The prostitute, Gomer, keeps returning to a life on the streets and Hosea keeps pursuing her. “That’s like God’s love,” Martin told the Catholic Herald, newspaper of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. Martin’s journey to Swaziland began when she was a junior at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and “could not focus” on her schoolwork any longer. “All I could think about was Africa and it was something God kept putting on my heart again and again,” said Martin, who was inspired by the work of Blessed Teresa of Kolkata.” She put all of her schoolwork aside one evening and searched on the Internet for mission trips in Africa.