On Wednesday, November 16, Junior American Legion Auxiliary member, Lauren Moschitta, served as Guest Speaker at the Manhasset Unit 304 meeting. Her topic was the work being performed by Sister Rita Giaretta, a Catholic Ursuline Sister, who supports young women escaping from impoverished areas within Africa and the Middle East in search of a better life, only to become the victims of abusive human sex trafficking.
After reading about Sister Rita in a Sunday New York Times article, Lauren performed months of research and communicated back and forth via email and post with Sister Rita in her safe house in Caserta, Italy. Arrangements were made for Lauren to visit Casa Rut, the safe house, and she did so in August.
The week-long visit allowed Lauren to enter their home and their lives. She viewed firsthand the struggles the young women face and the hope that has been given to them by Sister Rita. Sister Rita provides for their bodily needs but also educates their minds and helps them to escape the abuse through productive work that allows them to establish themselves economically.
Lauren spoke of the struggles Sister Rita has faced in assisting the women, including her battles with the mafia. Sister Rita’s work has been blessed by Pope Francis who is a major advocate for the poor and abused.
Sister Rita has a website (http://www.coop-newhope.it/) that is accessible in the United States and that promotes the products produced by the young women she is helping. You may need a translator for the words but the products are self explanatory!
Lauren returned home, spent time as an intern in a court house and resolved to become an attorney whose primary work is advocating for abused women and children. With a little push, we may be able to have Lauren take her presentation “on the road” in Manhasset to increase the level of understanding within our community of a very serious issue and to remind ourselves how important it is to protect our youth.