Good day, and welcome to Communion of Saints from stjeromeschapel.org. I’m your host, Micah Jackson. Today is December 30th, 2008: the feast of Blessed Frances Joseph Gaudet.
In our society, we are quick to defend children, and rightly angry at those who abuse their positions of power over them. Sadly, it was not always this way. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, children, and especially children of color, were not protected they way they are today. Fortunately, there were prophetic people who helped us to see the injustice in that system. One of those people was the woman we remember today, Frances Joseph Gaudet.
Born in Mississippi of African-American and Native American heritage, Gaudet was familiar with the injustices that surrounded her. As an adult, she became involved in prison reform, and assisted both Black and White prisoners to send and receive mail, clothing, and other necessities. She became a delegate to an international meeting of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and upon her return, extended her work to include children in the justice system. Her efforts led directly to the establishment of specifically juvenile courts in the state of Louisiana.
She also understood that education was a key to fighting poverty and crime, and therefore founded a school for children who found themselves in the juvenile justice system. Her unwavering commitment to those who are set to the side by our culture is why we remember her by reading the story Jesus tells of the last judgment, in which the righteous, asking when they saw the king hungry, thirsty, naked, or a stranger and served him receive the answer, “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-46)
Let us pray: Merciful God, who raised up your servant Frances Joseph Gaudet to work for prison reform and the education of her people: Grant that we, encouraged by the example of her life, may work for those who are denied the fullness of life by reasons of incarceration and lack of access to education; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thank you for listening to Communion of Saints. Please join us on January 8th at stjeromeschapel.org for the feast of Blessed Harriet Bedell. I’m Micah Jackson. May God be with you.
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