What Matters Most

John W. Martens

What Matters Most is focused on listening to people and what is on their minds, particularly dealing with the big questions of religion and spirituality. It emerges from the Centre for Christian Engagement, a Centre at St. Mark's College, the Catholic college at UBC, but our programming is intended for all interested parties, Catholic or not. In the What Matters Most podcast, we talk to people, some well-known, some not so well-known, some Catholic, some Christian, some not affiliated with any religion, some affiliated with other faiths (Muslims, Sikhs) to find out what matters to them. It is a podcast focused on spirituality and faith, but truly focused on listening to others, to learning from those connected to the Church and to those who are not. It is grounded in personal conversations that ask guests to talk about what has motivated their vocations or their work and what gives their lives meaning and purpose. The format can best be described as a conversation that allows us to get to know our guests. read less

A Conversation with Sister Nancy Brown
10-01-2023
A Conversation with Sister Nancy Brown
In 2012 Sister Nancy Brown received the Order of British Columbia. This is what was written about Nancy on her reception of the award: “Sister Nancy Brown is a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable in British Columbia: homeless youth and young people at risk for human trafficking and sexual exploitation." In this episode I speak to Nancy, who was born in Vancouver, about her life as a Sister of Charity – Halifax, a congregation of consecrated women sharing the gift of a call to give joyful witness to love, and her work at Covenant House Vancouver with young men and young women. Now retired, though you will see this does not mean she does not remain active, Sister Nancy took a leadership role in fighting sexual exploitation and human trafficking for over two decades at Covenant House. Before joining Covenant House, Sister Nancy spent five years volunteering at a women’s shelter, which inspired her to earn certificates in addictions counselling and working with abused young women, as well as those who have been abusing women. Sister Nancy worked directly with young people on the street, and today continues to serve on numerous committees focused on preventing youth homelessness and the exploitation of women and children. She has raised the profile of these issues, highlighting the very real danger of youth exploitation and trafficking. During the episode Sister Nancy discussed a number of documents and people. I have tried to find the best links for each of them. Click here to find out more about Canada's Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. To learn about Covenant House in Vancouver, please follow this link.  For a short history of Saint Josephine Bakhita, see the following page.  Sister Nancy also mentioned a Vatican document, Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking , that can be found by clicking on the title.  For the Canadian bishops' pastoral letter, For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free,  a document that outlines the bishops' response to human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada, click on the title of the document.  Finally, Sister Nancy mentioned the horrors of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of  the Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John's, Newfoundland against the most vulnerable of children, orphans and wards of the state. The Mount Cashel sexual abuse scandal in many ways made people aware of sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic clergy, but it was only the beginnings of the necessary and painful revelations of sexual exploitation of minors and other vulnerable people in many places in Canada and around the world by Catholic clergy. I hope that these links will offer necessary context for the work that Sister Nancy has done and is doing and will encourage you to see if there is a way that you might help in responding to the devastation of human trafficking and sexual exploitation wherever it is found.  If you would like to participate in the upcoming anti-human trafficking webinar that Sister Nancy discussed, Working Towards Freedom, it takes place on February 8, 2023, 7-8 pm PST through the Archdiocese of Vancouver. Please register by following the link.  CANADA NOW HAS A CANADIAN HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE If you suspect someone is being sexually trafficked or exploited, please call the 24/7 Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 or visit www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca LEARN TO RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING Visit www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/human-trafficking/recognizing-human-trafficking-victims