Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Providing Meaningful Work: A Patron

One of the best ways we can help protect women and children from the vulnerability that can lead to exploitation and enslavement is by providing meaningful work opportunities. I have been thinking long and hard about an outreach in this realm since April or May. 
I am still trying to think it all through and make the necessary contacts to flesh out my ideas, but I am developing a basic outline of the stages we could take at the St. Bryce Foundation take make real strides in the area of providing meaningful work for women.
Over the next week or so, I would like to share those ideas and plans with you, ask for your input where I still need help figuring things out, and show you where you might be able to help out. It is going to take some thinking to put it all into words and articulate the needs clearly. Today will not be the day I can get it all out.
So today, I will introduce to the patron I have chosen for this particular outreach, Blessed Zelie Martin, and ask you to pray with me that she intercede for the success of this endeavor.

Blessed Zelie Martin                                     

Blessed Zelie was the mother of the much beloved St. Therese and her siblings. She also worked as a maker of Alencon lace in France. As the lace maker, her work was not simply to make lace on her own and in her own time, but to find women and train them to properly create the designs she had sold. Each woman would then work on her piece of the project and return it to Zelie, who would then painstakingly piece together the work of each to create a seamless and beautiful final product.
I have developed a deep devotion to Blessed Zelie over these last few years. She, like me and even more so, suffered the loss of much loved and deeply wanted babies. In reading the letters that accompanied these losses in book The Story of a Family, I found a companion on my journey of loss who showed that it was possible to find sanctity in the terrible pain. 
I have looked to her often since then as a model of peaceful, gentle motherhood, of balancing home life, work life and spiritual life, of being a holy wife, and in many other aspects of life as well.
I look to her now as I embark on this endeavor that feels overwhelming, as I try to piece together the pieces of an outreach that is growing grander in thought by the minute, as I try to link women from various communities in various parts of the world all with a willingness to work and a valuable role to play.
I know the lace maker will understand and I know her intercession will win grace for pieces and the whole of this project. So will you join me in asking the intercession of Blessed Zelie Martin over the next few days as I try to put these ideas in to words and then put the words into action? And as we approach the feast day of her little saint, also patron saint of missions, perhaps you will consider including all the work of the the Saint Bryce Foundation and our proposed projects in your novena prayers

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