Prayer for Torture Awareness Month

June is Torture Awareness Month. Torture Awareness Month became the month of June due to the United Nations establishing the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on June 26, 1987. This isn’t just ‘a month’ for those who have experienced torture themselves.

During the 10 years between her own experience as a victim of torture and the creation of Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), in Washington D.C., Sister Dianna Ortiz, an Ursuline Sister, worked with Sister Alice Zachmann at the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA. While at the Commission, Sister Dianna was struck by the common language she and other survivors used to describe the trauma and emotions they experienced. This shared understanding helped Sister Dianna gain the insight she needed to start TASSC, the first organization led by torture survivors to support other survivors, in 1998.

After 20 years as co-founder and director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA, Sister Alice retired from her duties to volunteer at TASSC for 10 years, before eventually returning to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mankato, Minnesota.

Sister Dianna’s prayer, “Jesus, Our Tortured Brother Today.” Was written when she was abducted and tortured in Guatemala in 1989. Please join us in prayer for all who have been tortured.

Join us in the month of June in prayer to stand against torture. Sister Alice Zachmann’s friend, Sister Dianna Ortiz, OSU, wrote a prayer after being tortured in Guatemala.Jesus, Our Tortured Brother Today

Jesus, our Tortured Brother,
     In this world, so many are
forced to walk your path today-
     the suffering and pain, the
humiliation, sense of betrayal and
abandonment,
     for those with power, the
Romans of today, continue to
condemn others to modern crosses.

You said what was done to the least of these was done to
you and so each day,
     You are tortured anew.

Jesus our Guardian of the Wounded and Tortured,
     Bid us to look into the secret prisons - the unmarked
graves - the hearts and minds of torture survivors,
     Bid us to wipe the tears of the families of those whose
decapitated bodies were cast into the open sea,
     Bid us to embrace the open wounds of the tortured.

Jesus, Guiding Spirit,
     Teach us to be in solidarity with those who hang from
these crosses,
     Call out to those who torture, “Know the evil you have
done and repent.”
     Call out to the rest of us, “What meaning does love have
if you allow torture to continue unopposed?”

In the name of all the tortured of the world, give us the
strength, give us the courage, give us the will to bring this
horror to an end, in the name of love, justice and the God of
us all. Amen.

Prayer first published by Pax Christi USA: www.paxchristiusa.org

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