Pope Francis has repeatedly shone the spotlight on the scourge of human trafficking and appealed for concrete and concerted action to root out its causes and protect the millions of victims of the modern slave trade.
To commemorate the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, the Pope met with members of Talitha Kum, the Galileo Foundation, Edelman and ESPO. Sr Gabriella Bottani, Talitha Kum’s international coordinator, explained the new initiative to Pope Francis. Artist Stephen Powers showed the first image that will be used on the platform and asked him to autograph it.
The highlight of the private audience happened when Pope Francis activated the “Super Nuns” page on the Patreon platform with a click on the laptop.
Talitha Kum has responded to his call. For 10 years the global network of Catholic sisters has been quietly dedicated to prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of human trafficking survivors.
The work the sisters do is challenging and often risky. They are out on the streets raising awareness, making contact with victims in dangerous contexts, sheltering them from traffickers and exploitation, providing a passage home and new skills with which to rebuild shattered lives.
That’s why fundraising is important – and particularly complicated because the sisters operate out of sight and don’t publicly announce successes.
The SUPER NUNS community is an project launched by Talitha Kum (an initiative of the International Union of Superiors General), that aims to reach a whole new range of potential supporters.
As Sister Patricia Murray, Secretary of the UISG told Vatican Radio, thanks to a partnership between the Galileo Foundation, some popular street artists and an international communications platform, the work of the “super nuns” will be illustrated for all to see, as will the great spirit of the survivors.
SUPER NUNS, Sister Pat explained, is an exciting new initiative geared to help the Talitha Kum sisters who are dedicated to rescuing those who have been trapped and trafficked to different parts of the world.
She said the project grew out of the vision of John McCaffrey who works for the Galileo Foundation: “he had relations with the Edelman Company, a large communications company in the United States. He was aware of their work and of the fact that every year they use some of their resources for social enterprises,” and suggested they consider sponsoring Talitha Kum and the work of the sisters against human trafficking.
Sr Pat said a productive meeting in New York with Edelman resulted in this idea that aims to make the issue of trafficking known across the world to a whole new audience.
What it entails is using the work of artists, who are well known in the comic world, to create (pop) images of the sisters and their work.
“We are calling them SUPER NUNS because what they do is extraordinary work: very hidden work, quite dangerous work at times, where they rescue victims, women, men and children, and then shelter them and then there’s a process of rehabilitation and integration back into society,” she said.