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March 22, 1991     The Message
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March 22, 1991

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March 22, 1991 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 Taking care of the little ones Edwina Gately follows God' ; call to work with women in prostitution By MARY ANN HUGHES Message Staff Writer Edwina Gately is a British laywoman who spoke recently in Jasper and Evansville, spon- sored by the Senate of Women Religious. When Edwina Gately heard a voice in her guts to "take care of the little ones" she never dreamed she Would end up working with prostitutes on the on my list at all, and it was the call to work with sexually- abused women, women in prostitution." Gately's answer to God was, "stop right there. I have a degree in theology. I don't know anything about prostitution." But God is not reasonable, Gately learned and "in the end, I knew I had to do it." incest and rape." She had been on the streets of Chicago over 40 years, she had been in and out of jails, she slept in alleys and "she had never been loved." "All I did in the bar that night was hold that woman. She cried and cried and I held men; she was rejected three times. When all you have left is your body to sell for $10 and nobody wants it, you've got nothing and worst of all, you know it." Gately watched Rusty's knuckles turn white "as she trembled with rejection. I saw She moved to Chicago and re n te d a re o m in a are the scum of the earth.'" And neighborhood filled with drug The prostitutes told Gately, "'we streets of Chicago. But that's what happened. '*. She was the founder and president of the Volunteer Mis- sionary Movement in England, she was lauded and applauded, when she heard the message, "let go. You must take care of the little ones." Gately resigned her position and she headed for Chicago to earn a master's degree in -theology from the Catholic 'Theological Union. Two years later, degree in hand, she thought to herself, "Now, maybe I can teach." "But God said, 'put it away. Why don't you just sit and x, listen, sit and do nothing.'" Gately found an old trailer, one without running water or electricity, in a forest near Yorkville, Illinois. She moved in and waited for her call. "I said to God, 'this is a stupid idea. I don't know why I'm do- ing it.' I thought if I prayed real hard,God would hurry up, God would play ball and get a move on. I was hoping for a revela- tion or at least a dream. "I got nothing." Gately lived in her trailer in the woods nine months and for nine months, she felt nothing. "It was the greatest absence I could feel." In the ninth month, "suddenly the God who slept -- suddenly was alive." But his message to her was not the message she expected to receive. k When she went into the forest, she made a list of seven directions that she thought she might be asked to go, including eaching, preaching, or going ack to England or Africa. "I gave my list to God and I said, 'choose one.' He chose number eight, which was not pushers, the homeless and bag ladies. "I said to God, 'you pay the rent, you buy the food, and I'll go and find the women. And when I find them, you better tell me what to say.'" Every night, she left her room and went out on the streets; soon she began to meet prostitutes. "As I got to know the women more closely, little by little they took off their masks. Underneath, I found the children, the little girls, who had been raped from the ages of three and up." Ninety-four percent of the "tough hostile hookers, 94 per- cent were originally child in- cest victims." The prostitutes told Gately, "we are the scum of the earth." And she told them, "no, you are the temples of the Holy Spirit. You are works of art." As the women became her friends, "they took me and guided me and taught me more about God and compassion than I had ever learned before." One night, Gately was walk- ing past a boarded tavern. "I knew I should be in that tavern, so I went in and climbed up on a bar stool. Then, a woman walked in, in her mid-50s. She thumped her hand down on the bar and ordered a jug of wine. She looked at me and said, 'I haven't eaten in three days, and I just stole this loaf of bread from the store down the street.' "She pulled out an open can of tuna fish from a bag, put her fist into the can and put the tuna on a slice of bread. She said, 'here you are, hen.'" When Gately told the woman about her ministry, the woman "put her arms around me and she began to tell me her story of Low, Fixed Rates For Term Life Insurance Guaranteed For Ten Years These low premiums will remain level for 10 yeerL $100,000 Face Amount Mele Female Age Nonsmoker Smoker Nonsmoker Smoker 30 $161 $ 252 $120 $184 40 205 406 168 340 50 390 820 266 567 60 700 1,606 459 965 Cost per $1,000 decreases at higher levels of protection For eddlt/onat information clip and return the coupon below. F - ..... I I I _ a.m. p.m; I PrKme # Bes! Tme To Call I - Yes _-, NO i Amount of Irllnce Age Smoker THE 101 Court Suite 211 ARTHEL Evansville, IN 47708 AGENCY CALL: 423-7716 she told them, "'no, you are the temples of the Holy SpiriL You are works of art." her and I embraced her. As I left the bar that night, I began to reflect on what had happened. "I had gone into the bar because I was trying to listen to what God was trying to tell me to do. In came the woman. She brought the bread and she broke the bread and she gave it to me. And she brought the fish and she gave it to me. She took the wine and she raised it and gave it to me and then she shared her story with me. And then she gave me a kiss and she left. "I felt God breaking through. '] am everywhere, especially in the poor you will see me, if you dare to look froma different perspective.'" That night, Gately knew she was being evangelized. "Not only was I there for them, but they were there for me, to teach me some other ways." As Gately met more and mare women of the streets, she gain- ed their confidence and soon she was visiting with them in their brothels. She would sit with them, while they were waiting for their customers. One day, as Gately was sit- ting in a brothel, she began talk- ing with a woman named Rus- ty. "She had track marks on her arms and a low-cut, skimpy outfit. She was desperate to make money for rent." When each customer would come into the brothel, Rusty would jump up. "The guy would look at her and say, 'not her,' "This happened with three her lips trembling and her eyes fill with tears and all I could do was put my hands on her shoulder and say, 'I'm sorry.' It came right from my guts and she nodded and she knew I meant it." As Gately's ministry with the women grew, she began to dream of a haven for them. "I had to have a house, a place for God's little girls to recover. A place where we would begin to water the seed, where we would say, 'we will love you, we will nurture you, we will give you therapy and counsel- ing. If you need to cry and scream, if you need to say what's happened to you, how many times you were raped, molested, beaten, this is a place you can come and you can cry and nobody's going to laugh at you." CONSTRUCTION Co. Inc. !MARK NAAB 203 Moran Dr. Vincennes, IN 475!11 SPECIALIZING IN DELICIOUS GERMAN FOOD PRIME RIB CHARBROILED STEAK COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN SEAFOODS SALAD EAR BANOUET ROOM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES FOR ALL YOUR CA TEIING NEEDS, CALL [482.2640j Hwy 162 S. 393 3rd Ave., lasper, IN i EDWINA GATELY In 1984, Gately's dream came true with the establishment of Genesis House of Hospitality; the name means "new beginn- ings out of chaos." Of Genesis House, Gately says, "this is a place where you can have a teddy bear. Here they can be kids, because they never were kids. "All of our women get a ted- dy bear. These big, grown-up deviants get a teddy bear." Since its founding, Genesis House has offered support to over 4,000 women involved in a lifestyle of prostitution. Almost 400 women have left prostitu- tion through the work of Genesis House. "We have moralized enough," Gately says. Now it is time "to be right where the pain is, right where the poverty is. "We have to bring the women from scum to kingdom, so God is with God's people."