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The Three Golden Balls St. Nicholas and Debt Release The Feast of St. Nicholas December 6 Remembering St. Nicholas.

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Presentation on theme: "The Three Golden Balls St. Nicholas and Debt Release The Feast of St. Nicholas December 6 Remembering St. Nicholas."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Three Golden Balls St. Nicholas and Debt Release The Feast of St. Nicholas December 6 Remembering St. Nicholas

2 The Santa Claus and St. Nick of commercialized Christmas bear little resemblance to the third- century Christian liberator-saint known as St. Nicholas. Remembering St. Nicholas

3 How can we draw wisdom, joy, and courage from the life of justice and charity exhibited by this treasure of the church— Bishop Nicholas of Myrna? Remembering St. Nicholas St. Nicholas by Marc Couturier, 1977

4 According to tradition, Nicholas was born at Patara, Lycia, Turkey, just three generations after St. Paul had traveled there. Remembering St. Nicholas

5 St. Nicholas practiced civil disobedience by refusing to obey Diocletian’s edicts. He spent more than five years in prison. In 313, when Diocletian resigned, and Constantine came to power Nicholas was released, and he returned to his post as Bishop of Myra. Remembering St. Nicholas Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp

6 An old folk santo group from Mexico shows St. Nicolas with the three children coming out of the tub and, from another legend, the boy who would have had a golden cup. Latin America Late 18th Century Papier mâché & gesso or plaster Remembering St. Nicholas

7 A woman gordita- seller found protection through St Nicolas—a policeman who was trying to extort payola, instead began buying the gorditas and stopped the harassment. Joaquina Eredia, Mexico 1940

8 Remembering St. Nicholas Joaquina Ortiz placed this retablo in gratitude to St. Nicholas because her husband, Panfilo Reyes, came back from the United States, where he had lost himself. Mexico1940

9 Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, Turkey, gives a poor father three bags of gold so that he won’t have to sell his daughters into slavery, prostitution, or debt bondage. Handwritten Icon The Charity of St. Nicholas Milka Botcheva Sofia, Bulgaria 2002 Remembering St. Nicholas

10 The golden balls that we put on our Christmas trees represent the three bags of gold St. Nicholas paid to redeem the three daughters. What might redemption mean for us today?

11 Remembering St. Nicholas

12 Young boys available for purchase in Sudan. 2004. The most common form of modern slavery is debt bondage, in which a human being becomes collateral against a loan. With a massive population boom in regions of staggering poverty, some families have nothing to pledge for a loan but their own labor or their children. With inflated interest rates, debts are often inherited, ensnaring generations. 15 to 20 million slaves are in debt bondage in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan today. Remembering St. Nicholas

13 Photo from International Fund for Agricultural Development, 1999 Female-headed households in are usually poorer than male-headed ones. Poverty is more severe and binding for women in that it is harder for them and their children to escape it. Remembering St. Nicholas

14 A form of slavery most common in South Asia is sex slavery, where girls are forced into prostitution by their own husbands, fathers, and brothers to earn money for the men in the family to pay back local-money lenders. Others are lured by offers of good jobs and then beaten and forced to work in brothels. Remembering St. Nicholas

15 A high premium is placed on virginity, but the average price of sex with a minor ranges between one and 10 US dollars. Some of the worst cases involve parents selling their own daughters for gain or out of sheer desperation.

16 Girl being raised by her grandmother in South Carolina. New York Times Magazine ”Why Is America Failing Its Children?” Remembering St. Nicholas

17 With the raid in progress, a crowd of onlookers gathers to see what will happen to their friends and business associates inside the brothel called “House C.” Police in bulletproof vests carry assault rifles to deter the observers – some the same age as the victims – from getting any closer. Cambodia. International Justice Mission. By Ted Haddock Remembering St. Nicholas

18 Young women wait anxiously while police raid the prostitution house where they are held.

19 Remembering St. Nicholas

20 What is the modern meaning of St. Nicholas and the Three Gold Balls? by Gentile da Fabriano Florence, 1425. Remembering St. Nicholas

21 The problem faced by St. Nicholas was not that people were poor… It was that Nicholas was rich…..

22 Remembering St. Nicholas

23 “I thought I could forgive and forget, but villages are still being burnt, women are still being raped, and children are being sold into slavery.”— Simon Aban Deng Remembering St. Nicholas St. Nicholas Today? Simon Aban Deng is a child slavery survivor and leads the struggle to stop slavery in Sudan.

24 "They don't let me mail letters, they don't feed me— only bread and water and tea." –Vasantha Gedara Nurse turned abolitionist Margaret Rothemich freed 23-year- old Vasantha Gedara from bondage in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1993. Remembering St. Nicholas

25 Reunited families in Sudan. Is this what the joy of St. Nicholas might look like? Remembering St. Nicholas

26 April 1, 2004 — 374 Freed Slaves Arrive in Southern Sudan Remembering St. Nicholas

27 “Washington is handing out tax breaks to millionaires with one hand and shredding the safety net with the other. It's obscene." – Marta Drury Responsible Wealth member ( Remembering St. Nicholas


29 How are we also in bondage and in need of being set free? Where have we invested our surplus wealth? How can we restore the meaning of St. Nicholas to our own Christmas celebrations? Saint Nicholas with Three Maidens By Edith del Cacho Sousa Venezuela, 2000 Remembering St. Nicholas

30 Can we restore meaning to the Feast of St. Nicholas by making December a month for re- examining our finances and making certain that our wealth is 1)distributed to the poor, or 2)our surplus is at the service of the poor? Remembering St. Nicholas

31 How much surplus capital does my household have? If I am not willing or able to divest or distribute this wealth to those in need, how can I at least put my surplus at the service of those most in need? Remembering St. Nicholas

32 Learn more about the Responsible Wealth Campaign at Learn more about the Self-Help Credit Union at Learn more about the Oikocredit at

33 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, to deliver those who are crushed…” —Luke 4:18 Remembering St. Nicholas


35 To learn more about St. Nicholas, go to from where many of these images were taken. To learn more about Sudan and the modern slave trade, go to For more on all these issues, go to To contact Rose Berger, e-mail: Resources for Action: Organizations working to combat domestic or international sex trafficking include: Shared Hope International ( Protection Project ( Polaris Project ( New Horizons Ministries ( You Are Never Alone ( World Vision ( International Justice Mission ( Vital Voices ( Remembering St. Nicholas

36 The Three Golden Balls St. Nicholas and Debt Release The Feast of St. Nicholas December 6 Remembering St. Nicholas

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