Every Child Matters
By Sister Carolyn Mary
It seems hardly a day goes by that one doesn’t hear of a tragic death of a child either from child abuse or neglect. Yet I find myself wondering how as a society there is no real outcry for these defenseless children of God.
My ministry involves working with college-age students and homeless women and children. As a counselor, I have heard many stories and of those, many would break anyone’s heart. Yet my responsibility is to help bring Christ’s healing presence into their lives and hopefully a sense of purpose, self respect and hope. All are something they struggle to find in a world that has, it seems, forgotten them, written them off or has seen it as someone else’s problem. I see it differently and want to at times scream “Wake up people!”
Our most precious gifts are our children and it is important for us to not feel, as Catholics, that once we get them into the world that our job is done. In truth, our job is just beginning. Recently, I heard a child advocate say that unless America wakes up, we will lose many of our children to violence and neglect. It is imperative that all of us, not just the government, take the challenge to respect life to heart and recognize that each of us must assume responsibility to find the solutions to these problems, or we will find a generation of broken and neglected adults who do not know how to cope in this world, to parent and to perhaps even care for their neighbors.
For my part, I take great strength from our foundress, Catherine McAuley, and find myself seeking her guidance. She stood with the poor and neglected, especially women and children who were voiceless. As a Sister of Mercy, I take seriously a quote of Catherine’s, “The poor need help today, not next week.” Perhaps I would say it differently, but it still has the same impetus for me – Our children need help today, not next week.