Suntia is a beautiful girl who was born in Nigeria and her father took her to Sierra Leone when she was a little girl. He put her to work from sun to sun, beat her if she didn’t sell enough and sexually abused her at night. Her emotional wounds hurt as much as her physical wounds, but not being able to go to school was her greatest pain. However, at those crossroads of life she met Don Bosco and a light shone for her.
Evil often strikes hard. “The mystery of iniquity,” as St. Paul called it, has deep roots. Its most immediate fruits are pain and suffering, especially of the smallest, vulnerable and innocent. As the unbelieving man in the novel La Peste by Camus said: “I have another idea of love. And I would refuse until death to love a creation in which children are tortured. Evil can lead to unbelief and mistrust in creation.
“I have another idea of love. And I would refuse until death to love a creation in which children are tortured. Evil can lead to unbelief and mistrust in creation.Albert Camus
Suntia at Don Bosco Fambul
The question is never to let oneself be torn down by evil. Suntia always fought and stood up to him courageously and forcefully. With Don Bosco’s help, she finished high school and not only overcame the trauma of rape, but she is also studying Social Work at the university and has proudly told me: “One day I entered Don Bosco as a beneficiary; one day I will return as a social worker. In fact, she is already a junior staff member in the Girl Shelter Plus rehabilitation program for girls living in prostitution.
“We have known and believed in Love” (1 Jn 4:16). This is my priestly motto and every day gives me the energy to continue fighting for justice. For where there is a concentration of evil, as in Sierra Leone, God asks me to be his heart, his eyes, his hands and his feet so that there may be at the same time a concentration of mercy.
The presence of evil in the world helps me to believe more strongly in Love. He asks me to be a sponge, to absorb pain and to transform it into love. I continue to believe, not in spite of but from the situations of evil that I have to live daily. My idea of God is that of a God with us, empathic, close, who suffers and rejoices with his creatures.
Having just begun 2019, I wish you a joyful year, full of light and peace.
But if evil comes knocking on your door with its share of suffering, don’t shrink, don’t get depressed, don’t stop believing. On the contrary, become a sponge, embrace the cross always, immediately and with joy, for where sin abounded, grace abounded.(Mt. 16:24)