The name comes from the famous passage in Matthew (15:21-28), in which a Canaanite woman comes to Jesus, asking him to save her daughter, who is possessed by a demon. Jesus ignores her at first, and his disciples urge him to send her away. Finally Jesus answers that he was sent to help the lost sheep of Israel, and that "it is not right to take the children's food and toss it to the dogs." The woman persists, though, kneeling in front of Jesus and stating, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed.
Consider the courage it took for that woman to confront Jesus in such a way. Women had little or no status at that time, and for a woman of the "wrong" religion to approach Jesus in the first place was unheard of. In order to save her daughter, though, she would not take "no" for an answer. She demanded to be noticed so that she could obtain the help she needed. While the Bible does not specifically name this Canaanite woman, a Pseudo-Clementine epistle gives her the name of "Justa," and we decided to use that name to represent all the marginalized people in our society who seek our help on a daily basis. As Justa showed us, every person has rights and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that is what we attempt to do every day at Justa Center.