The Medaille Trust honors St Josephine Bakhita

The Medaille Trust honored St Josephine Bakhita at a Service at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. Sr Patricia Byrne attended this service which the Medaille Trust organised, the second year that event has taken place.

The Medaille Trust is a Charity which was set up by Religious, including the Sisters of Charity, in 2006 to provide safe housing for trafficked women. It has grown over those years to be the largest provider of safe housing for women, men and children. There are now nine safe houses which together provide 109 bed spaces. The Medaille Trust says of itself and its aims:
“Our main priorities are helping our clients to move on to a positive chapter in their lives – free from exploitation and slavery. Recogising that every individual has their own set of experiences and circumstances, they are taken on a supportive journey which encourages a life of independence.”

The service was led by Archbishop Bernard Longley during which he spoke about “the scourge of human trafficking” and its devastating effects on people’s lives. But the service was a truly ecumenical affair because also sharing in the service was Rt Rev Dr Alistair Redfern, retired Church of England Bishop of Grantham while the music was provided by the Salvation Army band. The presence of the Salvation Army band and some other members of that Church was significant as the Medaille Trust works in close collaboration with the Salvation Army in the provision of safe housing.

The sermon was given by Dr Redfern the guest speaker, who spoke movingly about his long association with those involved in human trafficking. He especially emphasised the importance of having our eyes open and being watchful because human trafficking is happening under our noses, possibly on our streets, certainly within a short range of where we live. He said that we need to be aware and notice.

During the service a Pledge was signed at the bottom of the poster of St Josephine Bakhita by Archbishop Longley and the CEO of the Medaille Trust, Mr. Garry Smith. This was a sign of the commitment between the Archdiocese of Birmingham and the Medaille Trust to continue to work in partnership. After this signing the members of the congregation were invited to come up to the sanctuary to light a candle as a sign of our commitment to pray for freedom and justice for modern slavery victims. During this time the atmosphere was set by the Salvation Army band and the words from St Josephine Bakhita which were read out:

“If we had no hope in God, what would we do in the world?”
“If I were to keep kneeling the whole of my life,
it would not be enough to express my gratitude to the Good God.”

A first-class relic of Saint Josephine was present throughout the National Service of Prayer at St Chad’s Cathedral. The tiny piece of bone in a small see-through box was observed and touched by many after the service.

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