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December 10, Human Rights Day and This Little Light

Iamnesty_logo have a candle that I light each day but recently, it has become more difficult to light. Farther down in the wax, the wick has become shorter, it is hesitant. It seems an apt symbol for my spirit in this time of such hateful division in our country.

It seems harder to let my light shine, wondering what difference it makes. Is it worth the effort to coax the wick of my spirit to rise to the occasion?

In this current situation, I find comfort in Clarissa Pinkola Estes writing, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Incredibly, that may not be as limiting as it seems. As Sister Rosemary Schmalz and I prepare to launch Amnesty International’s annual Write for Rights letters here at the Woods, we have the possibility of touching lives throughout this global world.

Looking over the three of five people for whom we advocated last December that were released from prison, I reread Yecenia Armenta’s story.

In July 2012, wrongfully accused of ordering her husband’s death, she was arrested by plain clothes policemen.

Amnesty International writes, “The officers took her to an unknown location where she was asphyxiated with a plastic bag, subjected to waterboarding and forced to strip naked. She was hung upside down, beaten and raped.

After 15 hours of torture, threatened that her two children would be raped and killed, still blindfolded, she signed a document to protect her children. That document was a confession of guilt.

Four years she spent in a prison in Mexico, but with 300,000 individuals advocating for her, Yecenia was released in June 2016.

Each of those 300,000 advocates is an individual like me. I put her photo and story in my prayer space. Knowing my small effort united with others made such a profound difference, compels me to continue to let my light shine.

I urge you to participate this year in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights.

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Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler

Sister Donna Butler has been a Sister of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for more than 60 years. Sister Donna has served in elementary education, parish ministry, diocesan social justice, as well as the Congregation’s liturgy office, archives department and social justice outreach. She also administered as the director of the Providence Volunteer Ministry. Sister Donna currently volunteers in outreach with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College students.

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