I used to be a prostitute. And then, one night, I met a Catholic priest who changed my life forever.
Father Ramirez didn’t preach at me like most religious people do. Instead, he asked me about myself and what got me into prostitution. He sat and listened as I shared my story and not once did I feel as if I were being judged or condemned.
Not all Catholic priests are sex offenders and pedophiles. There are decent ones and I was fortunate to have met one of them who cared about me. He gave me a Bible and encouraged me to read it.
He didn’t pressure me to go to church but when I felt comfortable to go, I went. Pretty soon, I began to see a few familiar faces in the congregation. I learned that Father Ramirez was encouraging his parishioners to buy time from other prostitutes as a means of inviting them to counseling and job training. Like me, they got off the streets and are working in honest and decent jobs.
Thanks to this man of God, my life has changed. I reach out to other women who are still turning tricks by telling them about Jesus Christ. I tell them that He loves them and died for them.
I tell them that, “sexual sin is never right: our bodies were not made for that but for the Lord, and the Lord wants to fill our bodies with himself. No other sin affects the body as this one does. When you sin this sin it is against your own body. Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it.”
Some of them listened to me and left that life. The others stayed because they have to pay for housing, food, daycare, university education and their drug habit. A few of them believe that they are helping men save their marriages by supplying what they cannot get at home. They believe that they are helping to chase away the loneliness of these men when they are on business trips.
I got into prostitution as a way out of poverty. I didn’t want to sell myself but I felt I had no other choice after I lost my job, couldn’t find one and got evicted. Not wanting to end up in a homeless shelter, I started doing sexual favors in massage parlors and small hotels. These are people who are unable to get jobs and are sometimes the only bread winners in the family.
My clients were politicians, sports figures and movie stars. I was making lots of money but I told myself that I would leave the business when I made enough money to quit. I’m happy that Father Ramirez came along when he did and now, I’m free to live a decent and clean life.
I’m not knocking the women who are still in the business because they choose to be. I just didn’t want that kind of life for myself anymore after meeting Father Ramirez. I want to live my life for Jesus who gave His life for me. My body belongs to Him now.
What encouraged me to walk away from that life and stay away from it is what Jesus said to the religious leaders who criticized Him for associating with those whom they considered to be outcasts. “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.” He was basically telling them that God offers salvation and forgiveness and acceptance to tax collectors and prostitutes and all who believe in Him and repent of their sins. I wanted to be like the prostitute Rahab who left her life of prostitution and everything behind to be among the saved.
Every day, I pray for Father Ramirez as he continues to reach out prostitutes, drug addicts and drug dealers.
This story was inspired by the true story of Roman Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger who showed the love of Christ by reaching out to prostitutes, drug addicts and gang members.