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And Then There Were Nuns: ‘God, they’re better than a puppy! They’re the best PR move ever.’


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 05/18/16

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This is awesome:

When the Rev. Jeff Bayhi’s vision of a home for underage victims of human trafficking turned toward reality, he spoke with Sister Eugenia Bonetti, who oversees several such facilities in Italy. One part of his plan was non-negotiable.
“I told her, ‘I’ve got the money, but I’m not doing it without nuns,’” Bayhi said.
Now, he has them.
When ground was broken April 28 on Metanoia Manor, the Baton Rouge-area home that will eventually house 16 young victims, the dignitaries included Gov. John Bel Edwards and Bishop Robert Muench. But, in Bayhi’s opinion, the celebrities of the event were the white-clad Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy. “Three or four times, I’ve had to go up to the State Capitol with them. God, they’re better than a puppy!” Bayhi said. “Everybody wants to meet them. They don’t give a dern about me. They want to meet the nuns. They’re the best PR move ever. They’re wonderful!”
But they’re more than that.
The nuns — Sister Norma Nunez, a native of the Philippines; Sister Ann Maria Mathew, of India; Sister Alexandrine Rasoanirina, of Madagascar; and Sister Ruth Nwokike, of Nigeria — were selected by Bonetti from their mission in Camden, New Jersey, where they staffed and administered nursing homes operated by the Catholic diocese there. The nuns received three months of training in the Italian homes, where women rescued from sexual slavery in Italy and eastern Europe reside. The nuns will live on-site with the girls, providing counseling and administering their living conditions.
“With that base, and the motherly love, taking care of the children, I think we have what it takes,” Mathew said.
Photo: Travis Spradling / The Advocate, with permission
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