December 21, 2021
She remembers gliding down the slide with a dress on. She was only 5 years old, and it was the first time she was called a whore; it came from someone who was supposed to protect her. I’m not sure how she even knew what that word meant.
Like many families, hers was severely broken; she remembers sexual abuse from several people who should have protected her during her childhood. When an older man paid attention to her and bought her things, she was ready to take them. He told her she was pretty. He told her he liked her. She didn’t remember being told that before.
She had learned to call him Daddy because he took care of her. How was she to know that soon, he would introduce her to drugs? How was she to know that soon, he would begin using her body to make money? He just wanted her to do something for him, because he had done so much for her.
Mixed with “Daddy’s” other girls, this was the beginning of 30+ years living a life of degradation, of fear, and of criminal activity. She had his children; then he used them to hold onto her in case she ever wanted to leave. Eventually her family would raise her kids.
She grew older, and this time when she got out of jail, she didn’t go back to him. He had younger, more profitable girls to control. She went to rehab one last time. She was going to have to fend for herself, but she knew she did not have any job skills. She needed help. She came to Lisieux Community.
The only life she knew was on the street. It was hard to live this different life. She didn’t understand what to do, and when we explained it, it didn’t make sense. She learned a lot. She cried a lot. She experienced for the first time, love. Love from friends. Love from the larger circle of women we brought together. She was in awe of how that felt; to have someone care even when she didn’t. She bravely embraced it.
She is a woman of Lisieux.
Every day we are loving the women that we serve one day at a time, giving them the gift of unconditional love. We are able to do this because of the generous donations that our circle of friends and supporters contribute throughout the year. If you responded to last week’s email, we are deeply grateful. You are receiving this email because we wanted you to hear about one more woman whose life has been changed by the generosity of donors like you. If you have not yet done so, we ask that you consider a year-end gift to Lisieux Community, so that we may continue to provide hope when women are ready to embrace it.
Join our circle. Join our women. Join our work.
Blessings to you and all those you love,
Community of St. Therese of Lisieux (Lisieux Community)