Catholic Mission has launched its major appeal for the year, supporting the essential work of the Mother and Babies Home run by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Bangkok, as they reach out to vulnerable women in their time of need.
National Director of Catholic Mission, Fr Brian Lucas, says that at a time when there is a lot of attention given to the vulnerability of women in our own society the work of the Good Shepherd sisters in Thailand, and in many other places, goes to the very heart of the Christian proclamation of the worth and dignity of every person.
“To be Christian is to be missionary and to be missionary is to speak out in words and action against exploitation and to give new life and hope to those who are vulnerable,” he says.
The Catholic Mission appeal offers hope to people like Churai*. As a young girl, she suffered years of abuse and is now pregnant with her third child. Without the Mother and Babies Home, she says she would be alone and helpless, cast away by her partner as he did not want the child.
“This place has helped and given women in need an opportunity to grow,” she says. “Women who feel discouraged, who don’t know what to do, and who have nowhere to go. This place gave us an opportunity, comfort, and happiness”.
The Good Shepherd Sisters provide pregnant mothers and mothers with young children, a refuge with others from similar backgrounds.
“It’s about giving a chance to the mothers and the children,” says Sr Chalaad, who manages the home in Bangkok.
“And when they get that chance, they will be able to look forward and they will be able to stand for themselves in the society for their future. Even if they have no one, we can stand by them”.
The Good Shepherd Sisters also run other outreach programs for women and children in need in Bangkok, offering pregnant women and young mothers like Churai a helping hand should they be unable to return to their families by providing them with handicraft skills training and employment to earn a living to support themselves.
Pope Francis invites each of us to respond to what we have seen and heard – to carry those stories, like Churai’s, in our hearts – calling us to each be missionary disciples by sharing and supporting vital work like this.