Parish: 233-3092 | School: 232-5290 | Faith Formation: 232-3514 | 2900 Hoover Avenue, Ames IA

A group of 18 Retreat participants spent Saturday afternoon, October 27, together at St. Cecilia’s.  The “Paint
your Prayer Retreat”, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee, was led by Jo Myers-Walker, a well-recognized area artist. Jo
is an Associate of the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters who are very active and involved in bringing awareness of the ever-growing scourge of human trafficking taking place in the world and even in our own neighborhoods to the forefront.  Jo is using her artistic talents in the creation of notecards, bags, and scarves featuring the theme of St. Francis’ “Canticle of Creation” as well as a theme of “Abundant Homes” for the healing of human trafficking survivors.

The Group spent time reflecting on the peace and love found in the lives of St. Francis and St. Claire and how these attributes can transpire into the healing needed for victims of human trafficking.  The video “Any Kid Any Where” was viewed and discussed highlighting the ease predators have at luring in their young victims and keeping control of them.   The main part of the afternoon consisted of constructing and painting the pouches used to hold Jo’s beautifully designed notecards.  Retreat participants used watercolors to create these unique pouches portraying the Portiuncula chapel restored by St Francis to hold the Canticle of Creation cards and house-shaped ones to hold the human trafficking survivor cards.  Time working together and painting these pouches gave the group time to reflect and contemplate on the seriousness of the Human trafficking problem as well as what we can do to help survivors heal.    Jo is currently selling the above -mentioned notecards, bags, and scarves with proceeds going toward the Franciscan owned Lila Mae House in Sioux City, Iowa. Once repairs and renovation are complete, the Lila Mae House will house human trafficking victims to help them heal and recover.

 Anyone wishing to know more about the work being done by Jo Myers-Walker or anyone wishing to purchase items in support of human trafficking awareness and/or helping human trafficking victims, should visit her website:    https://theleftbankstudio.com.

Written by,

Pat Vogl
Associate of the Dubuque Franciscan Sister