On Thursday morning we set out on foot to the Medaille Trust hostel – we being Fr. Ian, (carrying the basket containing our Posada figures of Mary and Joseph, a candle, a box of biscuits and some invitations to our Carol Service on Sunday) Annie, carrying Puzzle the donkey, and me (Sister Diana – not carrying anything except a walking stick.) We met a slight obstacle en route as some workmen were digging up the pavement right outside the house – their drills were very noisy and Annie had to cover her ears – but was very careful to hold on to Puzzle. This made me wonder what obstacles Mary and Joseph might have come across on their long journey to Bethlehem.
Once inside the house we were shown into a lovely bright and airy sitting room, with large windows looking out. Coffee, mince pies and chocolate swiss rolls arrived (much to Annie’s delight.) As the residents began to appear we gave Mary, Joseph and Puzzle pride of place in the centre of the room and lit a candle. We spent time chatting with the ladies (from Latvia, Somalia, Ghana, Albania, Romania, the Philippines and Hungary) and invited them to Sunday’s carol service in church. Several said they would be coming (including some of Muslim faith) – they had already heard about it as Sam, their manager, will be speaking and the collection from the service will be given to them. The visit ended with us singing Away in a Manger, and praying for a blessing on the house and all who live and work there.
It was a really good visit – thanks to Adele, the other staff and the residents for their hospitality and welcome. I enjoyed meeting residents from so many different countries, all of whom were really pleased to be there and so appreciative of the help and support they were being given – and I was reminded that Mary and Joseph must have been equally grateful to the inn-keeper who let them use his stable that night.
The Medaille Trust is a charity founded to help women, young men and children who have been freed from human-trafficking in the UK, enabling them to regain their dignity and self-worth. Here in Manchester this ‘safe house’ is provided and opportunities are offered for physical and psychological healing and rehabilitation. The Trust also raises awareness of the plight of those who are enslaved and exploited in the sex-trafficking industry in the UK and campaigns on this issue.
Sr Diana CHN