Victòria Sauret, from the community of Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain), collaborates with the association that provides human and spiritual assistance to seafarers during their long voyages far from home.
“A home away from home for seafarers”. This is how Stella Maris, the international organization of the Catholic Church that offers human and spiritual assistance to seafarers through its Stella Maris centers, defines itself.
In Tarragona, Sister Victòria Sauret is one of the volunteers who collaborates with the archbishopric in this pastoral work. The link was initiated through a Carmelite priest, Father Beni, who introduced the community to his work in the port. “She told us about this beautiful action and I didn’t hesitate to collaborate,” says Victòria Sauret.
TV3, the television of Catalonia, recently spoke with Sister Vedruna for the Christmas campaign of Stella Maris, in which she has made wool hats so that the sailors could have a detail these days. “There goes my grain of sand, full of love and warmth that my hats and those of so many others will give them,” she says.
She also acknowledges that she has taken advantage of this unexpected publicity to “tell people that this Catholic organization exists and that it is worthwhile for them to know about it”.
The Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) recalled, in its last Message on the occasion of the Day of the People of the Sea, on the feast of the Virgin of Mount Carmel, that “90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea”.
This is a thriving economic sector which, however, has suffered a serious setback in terms of job insecurity in recent years. According to the bishops, exploitation and non-compliance with labor regulations are very common.
The EEC message called for greater awareness “of the vulnerability of seafarers, both fishermen and merchant seafarers, and of their need for assistance and help to escape the isolation from which they often suffer. In particular, he called for “a humane welcome when they arrive in port”.
Victòria Sauret picks up the gauntlet, highlighting the need to raise awareness of the harsh working and living conditions of these workers, invisible to society, but without which the world economy would grind to a halt. “It has made me very aware, the truth, making me put myself in the shoes of those who spend days and days without seeing their loved ones or talking to almost anyone, alone in their work.”