Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Appeal for Help for Victims of Sex Trafficking

I am a volunteer with a non-profit organization called Nomi Network that combats human trafficking.  We were formed in 2009 and are headquartered in N.Y.  Our major initiative is in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  We provide job training and jobs for women who have been rescued from sex trafficking, as well as for women who are at risk. The jobs are in the manufacture of women’s fashion accessories, mostly hand bags. The women that we employ (23 at this time) receive a living wage that includes family health insurance, child care services, and transportation if they work late. Each woman that we employ supports a family of four or five, on average—we are lifting entire families out of poverty.  We market the goods that they make in the U.S., in boutiques, fairs, and the Internet. All profits are re-invested in anti-trafficking efforts in Cambodia. The sale of the bags is critical to sustaining the enterprise. 

 I would like you to consider either making a donation to Nomi Network directly, or buying one or more of the products that we make, perhaps as a gift for someone. Our bags are marketed under the brand-name, Buy Her Bag Not Her Body.  The bags can be purchased on the Internet at

The website for Nomi Network is  
On that website, there is a button labeled, “Please Donate Now,”  as well as one labeled, “Pick Up Your Bag,” which will bring you to the Buy Her Bag Not Her Body website.

Nomi Network is a 501(3)(c) organization, and our IRS EIN # is 80-0290896  

Incidentally, next year, we will be starting an effort to provide scholarships for higher education for children who have been rescued from brothels.  If you would like to donate for that effort now, please indicate so on your donation.

Also, please direct your wives, girlfriends, and other family members to this initiative. And if anyone is interested in volunteering for the organization, please contact us.

If you would like to find out more about Nomi Network or sex trafficking in Cambodia, I invite you to look at our main website and explore our blog.

Stephen M. Bauer 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Religion, Relationship, Power, and Conformity

I liked this paragraph, from last night’s School of Community reading--“Living is the Memory of me,” Julian Carron, Aug. 2010, section 5, p. 39.
Here we can understand, as we heard yesterday from Marta, what influence the power has on us (it is peculiar that Giussani uses the same term Friedrich Nietzsche used: bourgeois religiosity). What effect has power on us? What influence? It atrophies our relationship with Christ, making it ineffective socially and in our personal lives. What brings us to this predicament is not persecution, but rather conformism. Nobody prohibits it, but nobody dares to live fully his religious dimension as the form for his entire life. We stay in society like everybody else. We detect the influence of power in the fact that we stop desiring to the extent that our humanity is capable, we reduce our desire for the infinite. It is not that we are not religious, that we do not make some particular religious gestures. Nietzsche never thought for a moment that religion had disappeared; when he was talking about God’s death, he was objecting to religion’s ability to move the person and open the mind, of making the “I” be reborn. So, we see that we belong to the power due to this reduction of the “I” that power achieves. We are content with a reduced way of being together, and often we don’t even have an inkling that something is missing, so much has the power assimilated us, reducing us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Request for a show of Solidarity with Christians in Iraq

From: Maria Teresa Landi
Date: Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 2:20 AM
Subject: Letters to the Christians in Baghdad

Dear friends,

As you all know, our Christian brothers and sisters in Baghdad have been suffering persecution for a long time, and today there was another attack, possibly from Al Qaeda, just 10 days after more than 50 Catholics were killed in a Church during Sunday Mass. They have been killed for their faith, martyrs of our time.

I kept thinking at their suffering, at their mysterious participation in the cross of Christ, and what this means for me and for the history of Iraq, the Middle East and the entire world. I thought to offer my work for them, to do it very seriously as my way to be present to them. And to pray for them, to ask the pastor of my Church to say a Mass for them, that they could be sustained in this difficult time and not feel alone in their struggle. That they could recognize Christ in these challenging circumstances.

Suddenly, I had an idea and this is why I am writing to you.  

In addition to pray for them, why don’t we all write letters to them, many, many letters as soon as possible, also from our kids, to tell them that we are with them, that even if we are far, we are One in Christ, we pray for them, and we thank them for their presence in that precious land and in our lives? We can witness to them the miracles we see in our lives, the path we are following, our certainty in the presence of Christ in any circumstance, so they could be sustained in their faith.  

It is a small gesture, like a drop in the ocean, but Christ can use it to make great things, because, as He said, when 2 or 3 are united in His name, He is in their midst. 

Olivetta spoke with the Nuncio at the UN, who was very happy for our initiative and offered his diplomatic pouch (direct mail) to reach the Nunciature in Iraq. He proposed to have all letters and messages sent to him by Tuesday night in a package and he will send the package to the Nunciature in Iraq on Wednesday morning. His pouch leaves every Wednesday at noon. In addition, he will send a copy to the Syrian Patriarch in Newark, New Jersey (many Catholics who were killed last Sunday belong to the Syrian rite).
I hope you can participate in this gesture or suggest other ways to be close to our friends in Iraq. Please, be free to write as many letters as you want and share these indications with friends who would like to write to the Christian families in Iraq to support them in their faith.

Thanks a lot!

As to the practical details, Olivetta Danese, the CL national secretary, offered to collect all letters and messages, put them into a package and hand carry it to the UN Nuncio.

If you choose to write a letter, put it in an envelope addressed to:
His Beatitude
Emmanuel Delli
Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Baghdad
President of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops in Iraq

Put this envelope within another envelope and address it to Olivetta Danese at:

10 Kraft Avenue
Bronxville, NY 10708

If you choose to send an email, please address it to His Beatitude Emmanuel Delli as above, and use the following email address:

Olivetta will print the messages and put them into enveloped directed to His Beatitue Delli.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beauty Will Save the World

"Like the rose under the gaze of eternity that withers day after day and in the evening is no longer as it was in the morning, what you seek most to grasp and hold tight in your hand has become undone, you haven't possessed it, you have destroyed it. In order not to destroy it, you need a rose you can hold by its stem, that you can look on in admiration, bathed in the morning dew and fed by the mysterious winds of the Mystery of Being." 

~ Luigi Giussani