I Am Chained.
I have been doing prison ministry since 2013 to 2018 for both male and female inmates in the Philippines. In January 2018 I began my ministry of Pastoral Counselling in Manila for female inmates. There were and are many volunteers offering their services but no one has been doing Pastoral Counseling so I am doing this since 2013. I heard so many life stories from both male and female inmates but the story I am going to share with you is something very extra ordinary.
On March 20th, 2018 while working in the prison I met this lady inmate aged 40. After initial greetings, she started to share her story. She’s the eldest of 4 siblings. Her desire in life was to be able to finish her studies even if her family is poor. She finished High School. At the age of 18 she left home to be able to follow her dream to become educated. She worked as a helper in a very rich family. One day, the son of her boss had his birthday and the father told him that his gift for his son was their household servant. We call her Mary. It happened as promised by the father and Mary was raped and this was ongoing and because she always resisted she would be drugged not only orally but by injection as well.
She had been a prisoner and chained in her room for years and gave birth to two children and her children were looked after by the servants of the house. What she did not know was, that the family where she worked was a drug lord.
She was also being used by other men connected with the drug Lord’s business.
She was considered missing by her family because she did not tell her parents where she was. One day, her younger brother happened to be in the place. He was involved in drugs. He often went to the house of the drug lord. On one occasion, he was invited to get into the room where his sister was kept. She was told later that when her brother entered the room, he recognized her in chains but she could no longer recognize him. When he was left alone in the room, he told his sister that he was her brother. But she did not make a sign that she knew him. He told her that he would do something to get her out of the place. Nobody in the house knew that she was his sister.
When he left the house, he immediately informed his mother that he found his sister. Since their step father is an Army man, they were able to rescue Mary from the drug lord.
She was fully drugged when she came out. They had to bring her to the hospital, so she could be detoxed. When she was discharged from the hospital, the family brought her back home. Her two children were also rescued and so both Mary and the children were in a safe place with the family. However, when she saw the children her anger towards the man who fathered the children surfaced. She did not want to see her children. As a result, she was sent to her Aunt in another place and there she lived with her relatives. It was in this place she met a man who loved her and married her officially even after he knew Mary’s story. In this marriage she gave birth to three children. However, during her marriage she became unfaithful to her husband five times. She confessed to her husband about her infidelity, but her husband always forgave her.
Although she knew how much her husband loved her, she still wanted to take revenge for what the son of the drug lord and the other men did to her. This led her back into drugs and this was the reason that she was put in prison since December 14, 2015.
Her husband visits her and waits for her to be released from prison. He loved her in spite of everything. Mary encouraged him to find another woman, but he refused to do as he would rather spend the money for their children.
Her husband reminds us of Hosea’s story – an image of God’s faithful Love for His people.
By: Sister Tammy B. Saberon, SSC