Posted October 13, 2005 in MH Edmonton AB:
The Prostitute

by a former layman of MH.

Many years ago, when I was a young staff worker at Marian Centre, I was once protected from serious harm in a most unexpected way.

It was midwinter at a time when violence, which had always been rare at the centre, had been increasing. For now, besides the older men who had always come to our soup kitchen and recreation room, we were getting young men, many of them addicted to drugs or mentally ill. We were also beginning to get women and children.

That day, because several fights had broken out among the men, the decision was made to close the centre. This was decided even though it was an extremely cold day.

I was locking a side door, a door which opened on a narrow alley. Suddenly I was attacked by a very large and very angry man wielding a broken beer bottle. My heart pounding, I struggled desperately with him, trying to keep him from slashing me.

Suddenly I heard a voice shout: “What you doin’, fool?”

I caught a glimpse of a woman well-known to us at Marian Centre. She was an alcoholic and a prostitute, and we’d had to ban her from the centre more than once because she was often the cause of serious trouble among the men.

Her shout stopped my assailant. She was then able to settle him down and to convince him to leave with her.

Shaken, I told my director what had happened, and he reported the incident to the police.
I saw the woman the next day. She had been badly beaten by that same man.

I was stunned! She had taken the violence intended for me!

I told her to go to the police. But she had nowhere to stay but the streets, no place to go where she could be safe from that man. So she didn’t report him.

Some years later, when I was no longer at Marian Centre, I heard that she had been murdered.

There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13).

Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you (Mt 21:31).


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