i made my first visit to a prison, with sr. eileen, who serves as a chaplain at rikers island, in NY. here’s my post from that experience: rikers. serving in prison ministry in baguio city, i bring me, and the knowledge and wisdom i received from those few hours spent at the women’s prison.
sr. eileen (sisters of charity) has since, become a major mentor to me in my life, though many many miles away, and here are some words of inspiration she was able to provide me today (via email!), as i live my mission in prison ministry, here in baguio city:
“As you spend time with those imprisioned you will know what you can do and what each person most needs.
Listening with your heart is most important.
Looking into the face of each one tells them that you are paying attention to them. They know the difference as they are treated disrespectfully by many.
Usually, they want to talk about their lives and the hopes they have to change and the difficulties in doing that.
They want to pray and receive a blessing.
Always follow up on anything you say you will do for them.
Most of all – we need to be focused in our own personal prayer, deep relationship with God, and a strong faith – most times sharing the Mystery of God because there is so much we can’t understand, when we see people like those in prison facing what seems hopeless and impossible.
God will always surprise them and us in the unfolding. It is God’s grace and unconditional love.
As you go along you will see in your own creative way and your own spirit, what God is revealing to you, for you to notice and respond to in your situation.”
i’m looking forward to my visit this afternoon. 🙂
one thing is for certain…after visiting earlier this week, i will never visit the prison again during official visiting hours, unless it is absolutely necessary. it’s pure chaos, and i would rather the inmates use that time to visit with their familes/friends that come, since that is their official slot. not to mention, it was pretty much alll of the inmates in the courtyard at one time. too much for this missioner. my heart said, that was nice. but, when you want to visit, go during unofficial visiting hours. it is a blessing to be treated like clergy and to have the opportunity to visit the inmates when i want. i think i will definitely need to take advantage of that – NOT during visiting hours. 🙂