By Sister Catarina Chu, D.C
During the second week of the Intercontinental Workshop on Modern Slavery in Mexico City, I had an opportunity to volunteer at Madre Antonia Center where the Oblate Sisters serve prostitutes. On the first day, I was assigned to accompany a young doctor to visit her “Clients” on the streets; I was amazed by her friendliness and deep compassion. She greeted the women by name with a smile as if they were her regular clients. She inquired about their well-being then gave them a small card with the address and services offered at Madre Antonia Center. Her good bye was a warm hug. I also had the privilege to hug “Jesus”, to touch Jesus’ hands and face. I gently wrapped my arms around each woman with reverence then slowly embraced them, at the same time I asked Jesus to let them feel the heat of His Divine Mercy on a freezing day.
When the young doctor held my hand crossing busy streets, I could not hold back my tears. Yes, “Jesus” had touched me, talked with me, smiled with me on the streets in the heart of Mexico. His look sent me a message, “I need help.” My heart kept pounding and pounding.
On the second day we walked down different streets. I counted about 43 women within two long blocks. When we stopped and talked with a lady, suddenly a tall man nearby pointed at her with a sign that read, “follow me.” She immediately left us. Five minutes later the same incident happened to another lady. A few yards further, we were visiting a much younger lady, when suddenly a strong man pushed us from behind with such force, we were almost knocked down. Luckily we could lean on a front wall of a coffee shop. The doctor informed me, “Sister, this lady was being watched by her owner.”
There were two categories of prostitutes. The “professional” ones wore heavy make up with tattoos on thighs and body parts. The others had very little make up, were fully dressed with yellow teeth, dirty fingernails, and stood alone. All were labeled as “MEAT GIRLS” in Mexico.
I deeply sympathized with those women. I saw “Human Merchandise” with my own eyes and felt a raw wound in my heart! As soon as I returned to the Sisters’ residence, I ran quickly to the chapel and cried like a helpless child. The suffering of modern slavery is unthinkable! I looked up to the cross and thanked Jesus for His Hope. He did his part, now it would be my turn.
May Our Lady of Guadalupe journey with us in this ministry.
For more information regarding Social Ministries in the Diocese of San Jose, visit www.dsj.org/social-ministry/