Pope Francis entrusted the writing of this year’s meditations of the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum to Sister Eugenia Bonetti. The event will be broadcast on Vatican Media television on Friday, April 19, 20019.
The 80-year-old Italian Sister is known for her commitment against modern slaveries, especially the slavery of women exploited sexually. In 2007 she was awarded the International Prize “Woman of Courage,” and in 2013 the “European Citizenship” Prize, for her “commitment against the trafficking of human beings.” Official statistics put at 30 million the number of slaves in the world.
A former missionary in Africa for 25 years, in 2012 together with other religious and laywomen, Sister Eugenia created the “Slaves No More!” Association, “to combat today’s slavery and to offer [victims] the opportunity to return to their countries with dignity and to begin a new life, thanks to an endeavour of reinsertion, assistance and financial aid.”
On Friday, April 5, 2019, Alessandro Gisotti, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said that “this year Pope Francis decided to entrust the preparation of the texts of Good Friday’s Way of the Cross to Sister Eugenia Bonetti, missionary of the Consolata Order and President of the “Slaves No More!” Association.
“At the center of the meditations is the suffering of numerous persons victims of the trafficking of human beings,” added the Director.
Sister Eugenia Bonetti has been involved in this struggle since November 2, 1993 — date of her first meeting with a victim of trafficking — first at Turin, then at Rome since the year 2000.
In an interview with Zenit some time ago, she confided: “No one can and must not feel him/herself foreign or indifferent in face of so much suffering, so much exploitation and the destruction of innocent persons and without defense.”
Sister Eugenia sees in this fight the fulfilment of the vocation of the consecrated. “Our hope is to be able to create a network, to work together to come to the aid of all those persons, treated as slaves, who still wait to be released from their chains. It’s only in this way that our religious and missionary life will be able to express fully its prophetic role in today’s world.”
She told Vatican Radio that among the forms of slavery “the most terrible is the sexual slavery of women and young children, but also slavery for work, that of begging, of organs, of child soldiers.”
She talked about accompanied repatriation of persons snatched from trafficking. “We carry out these repatriations assisted through a project of social re-integration and work, in collaboration with USMI and Italian Caritas, and thanks to funds we receive from the Italian Episcopal Conference.”
For Sister Eugenia, “It’s truly the clients that promote, feed and support prostitution.” She appeals to work in order to “re-appropriate a culture of respect, of dignity, of relationship, “ to “give back to these persons dignity, freedom, identity and equality.”