This year, although Medaille launched a new Saint Bakhita prayer card, we did not hold an event on the feast of Saint Bakhita which instead gave me the opportunity to accept an invitation to events hosted by Talitha Kum https://www.talithakum.info/en/ in Rome.
I wanted to maximise the opportunities that this short visit offered, so on Friday afternoon I had a meeting with the Regional Coordinator for Western Europe for the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican. I was able to highlight to her that Medaille is the biggest provider of safe house beds for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK with 116 beds. I was also able to let her know that we want to share our knowledge and experience with other organisations in order to develop best practice. We discussed various ideas for networking and it was a really positive meeting.
On the Saturday, I attended a packed prayer vigil for the feast of St Josephine Bakhita at Basilica Sant'Antonio da Padova in Laterano. The vigil was led by Cardinal Michael Czerny and it was good to meet with so many others who have a ministry in this area and to meet with Sister Gabriella Bottani who is the International Coordinator of Talitha Kum.
On the Sunday, I joined the march against human trafficking – a very public demonstration that this crime against humanity is not acceptable. Again it was good to share with others who have the same concerns as us.
All in all it was a very different way to spend the weekend of the feast of St Bakhita, but it felt worthwhile to be able to strengthen International bonds of friendship within the Catholic Church and beyond.