Thursday, June 30, 2016

Justice Devotional - Invisible Women

Devotion to Justice
A series of devotions from the Justice table on the topics of
  • Women and children
  • Hunger and poverty
  • Creation care
  • Immigration

Invisible Women
Matthew 25:34-40

No one sees them. They are locked away, forgotten, and in most cases, disappear from their children’s lives. Their stories might show up in the news or make an appearance as another number in the statistics before they are erased from society. Out of sight, out of mind. These are the women incarcerated in the Chilean penal system.

Three women sat around my dining room table last week: a “carabinera” (Chilean policewoman), the head of the social work department of a local college, and a social worker about to retire. They had planned a mother’s day activity at the prison with permission to have a party including the children of the mothers in jail and mothers whose daughters were in jail. They spent the day traveling all over the region picking up the family members, fixing up the space for the party, and organizing people from the community to lead games, do beauty treatments, and make gifts.

“I picked up seven cousins, all under twelve years of age, who have their three mothers in jail; an elderly grandmother cares for them all. I had to help dress the children, ironing their moist clothes, still not dry after hanging over a charcoal burner. They were shocked at seeing a police woman ironing!” “A grandmother let me pick up her granddaughter on the condition that I stop into her windowless house, spotless in the middle of one of the shantytowns, to have a cup of tea.”

The stories spill out, one after another. I listen and ask questions; they come to these conclusions: “We must do more. One day in and out of their lives is wrong. We will create the first organization in Chile to attend to the needs of women deprived of their freedom as well as their families. We will research. We will get volunteers. We will know everything there is to know about women in prison. We will find ways to keep their children from following their mothers into a life that leads to prison. We will support women whose daughters are in prison.” Around my table, as we savor “picarones” (fried dough smothered in a kind of syrup), the “Mosiacos” (Mosaics) Foundation is born. “We will raise our voices for those who have lost their voice: We will tell the stories that have not been told. We will paint a mosaic of hope for these invisible women.”

Elena Huegel
Global Ministries Missionary
Pentecostal Church of Chile, Chile
Women and Children
Read more!