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ht 02Sr. Karen Hartman, SFP, appears with Fr. Mike Paraniuk, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro, Ohio, and manager of WLRU

ht 01Ruthy Trusler (left), Media and Technology Coordinator for the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, US Area, interviews Sr. Karen Hartman, SFP, about human traffickingThe Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in the US Area have kicked off “Franciscan Feet on the Streets,” a new live, weekly radio show featuring stories of the Sisters and their ministries. The radio program debuted August 4 and will air every Thursday from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm on WLRU, which broadcasts from St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro, Ohio.

Ruthy Trusler, Media and Technology Coordinator for the US Area, hosts “Franciscan Feet on the Streets” and interviews guests. Ruthy said the invitation to host a live radio program came from Associate Fr. Mike Paraniuk, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and manager of WLRU.  

The inaugural “Franciscan Feet on the Streets” program featured an interview with Sr. Karen Hartman, who lives at St. Clare Convent in Cincinnati and is Director of the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the US Area. Sr. Karen addressed the issue of human trafficking, defining who the traffickers are and how they operate. She provided radio listeners with information on how to guard against becoming a victim.

During the interview, Ruthy asked Sr. Karen: “Are there any actions the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor have taken to locate trafficking victims, and were the Sisters able to help victims?”

“No one alone can do this task of caring for and supporting the victims of human trafficking, or ‘modern slavery,’” stated Sr. Karen. “It takes building relationship and collaboration among many entities.The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati, of which I am a member, includes representatives of several religious congregations and also several laywomen from local parishes who gather monthly to discuss ways that we can promote anti-trafficking. Our group has visited 72 local hotels in Cincinnati to request that hotel management educate hotel employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking activity as well as how to report any suspicious human trafficking behavior. Many hotel managers were receptive to our request.”

Sr. Karen said the IJPC committee created a curriculum on human trafficking for high school students and has visited all Catholic high schools in the Cincinnati area to give them the curriculum. Each high school’s faculty, she said, determines which area of study is best suited for this curriculum, such as social studies, religion class, physical education, etc.

ht 03See Pope Francis quote on human trafficking along with information about Look Beneath the Surface Resource Center“We also have been involved in the S.O.A.P.—Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution—project,” Sr. Karen explained. “S.O.A.P. was established by Theresa Flores who was a victim of human trafficking. After her rescue, she determined to do something for others who were caught in this vicious web. She prepares labels that adhere to small bars of soap that can be distributed to hotels prior to major sporting events because hotels are key venues for human trafficking and prostitution. Several of our committee members assisted in the distribution of these soap bars to 40 hotels prior to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game here in Cincinnati in July. We await a report related to this project.”

Sr. Karen’s human trafficking discussion was the first of a “Franciscan Feet on the Streets” series on peace and justice issues. Her next radio segment will address human trafficking in American schools.

On Thursday, August 6, Ruthy will interview Fr. Mike about his journey to become an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor.
“Franciscan Feet on the Street” programs can be accessed online at or (click on WLRU in the upper right corner and then click on LISTEN).

Listeners in the Hillsboro, Ohio, area can tune into WLRU at 106.9 FM. A low-frequency, non-commercial station, WLRU broadcasts from St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro, airing a mix of Catholic programming, including live recitation of the rosary, Mass, “Franciscan Feet on the Streets!”, Southern gospel and polka music, and network programing provided by Catholic TV Network 24/7.

Follow the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor on Facebook for upcoming broadcast topics.  (

[In gratitude to Ruthy Trusler for the beautiful photos]

Ruthy Trusler and Lisa Biedenbach

Published: August 18, 2015