Easter 6A – End of the Orphan Train
May 21, 2017
In the mid-1800’s there were an estimated
30,000 homeless, orphaned, and abandoned children in New York City.
Some of these children were orphaned when their parents died
from typhoid, yellow fever or the flu.
Others were abandoned due to poverty or addiction.
Many children sold matches, rags, or newspapers to survive.
For protection against street violence, they got together and formed gangs.[3
They lived on the streets
without much hope of a better life.
In a kind of early foster care program –
with both the blessings and abuses of modern day foster care –
the Children’s Aid Society sent some of these children
by train to live and work on farms out west.
The orphan train movement lasted from 1853 through the early 1900’s.
The movement began with the heartfelt belief
In a handful of community leaders that no child should be left alone…
That children should feel safe.
That they should be loved and cared for.
Today’s gospel reminds us that regardless how old we are;
Whether we have living parents or not;
It is human to want to feel safe.
It is human to want to be loved and cared for.
It is human to be afraid of being left alone.
Jesus tells his disciples…and each of us today…
You are not alone.
You are never alone.