26 March 2023
Sister Ann Oestreich, IHM former Talitha Kum regional representative of North America
Regional representative of North America, Sister Ann speaks about her time at Talitha Kum over the last six years.
It has been a privilege to serve as the North American representative on the Talitha Kum International Coordinating Committee (TKICC) for the past six years (2017-2022). This has been a time of incredible growth for Talitha Kum throughout the world, a time of women religious coming together to accomplish a common mission. It has been an exciting time of learning from each other to discern and address the root causes of human trafficking while responding to the needs of survivors.
After six years serving as the regional representative in the USA, are there any events or experiences that truly touched you?
There are many wonderful memories from these years. One of the most memorable events was Sr. Gabriella’s invitation to bring together the TK networks of the Western Hemisphere and look for opportunities to collaborate together. We were able to accomplish that in October 2018 when 20 networks from South, Central and North America came together to meet each other, share our work, and, of course, celebrate together! We formed the Western Hemispheric Conference which has been meeting over the past five years and worked on some common projects together.
Another special time was in September 2019 when the Talitha Kum networks came together to celebrate our 10th anniversary. To experience together the diversity of our networks and the amazing commitment, leadership and accomplishments of Talitha Kum throughout the world was inspiring. And to meet with Pope Francis and to hear him say that Talitha Kum was a great model of working together for the Church was very affirming.
What do you take with you from these 6 years?
It has been a great gift and grace to work with sister colleagues and friends on the TKICC. I’m grateful to each one of them for the work we’ve done together and for the enduring friendships we’ve formed. And I’m especially grateful to Sr. Gabriella Bottani, CMS, for her visionary leadership during these years, especially during the time of the COVID pandemic. During that challenging time our meetings and work continued without interruption, new initiatives were formed (e.g. commitment to advocacy work), and TK continued to grow!
Would you like to say anything to your fellow sisters at Talitha Kum?
I wish the new team everything I’ve experienced: inspiration, personal growth and the growth of TK worldwide, enduring friendships and camaraderie. I wish them the deep peace that comes with knowing they are doing the work of the Gospel, and the restlessness to want to do more, especially in preventing human trafficking. And I promise them my prayer and support: in the words of Pope Francis: “You are doing a great work. Keep it up!”
IN THE WORLD
Talitha Kum Networks are active in the 5 continents coordinating the anti-trafficking efforts of 50 inter-congregational networks organized at the national-local level and 10 networks that include the joint coordination of several countries at the regional level.
* According to the information of the 2021 Talitha Kum Census
“When spider webs unite,
they can tie up a lion”