|“I was in prison and you came to me”
In honor of Prison Awareness Week here in the Philippines, thought I’d share some more finds!
Because I visit the jail here, I think it is equally important that I read other important articles and examine other perspectives, and ask myself, what are my thoughts? Where do I fit in with this ministry? How can I better myself as I strive to serve others, especially those who are in jail? I found this article on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and thought it really brought to life the people that I certainly come into contact with also. The stories vary, but the emotions, ministry, and humanity behind our brothers and sisters are all pretty similar:
People sometimes tell me that a person who has committed murder has lost not only his civil rights, but his rights as a child of God and no longer deserves to be treated with respect. When did God say that? Have people who think that way received a special revelation?
I’ve known more than 200 convicted murderers and visited hundreds of others accused of murder. I’ve prayed with these people and listened as they’ve expressed their feelings—guilt and remorse, frustration and anger. I’ve heard their life stories, including stories of conversion and faith. This is what prison ministry is all about.
Sometimes a volunteer or two will accompany Sister to the jail, but for the last several years it’s been difficult to recruit any help. Some worry about the neighborhood, others the inmates. Some wonder why she goes at all. This day she’s hampered by sore knees and a lower back weakened by the onset of osteoporosis, but Sister Josephine still marches purposefully toward the building’s menacing black-iron front gate. – And I Loved Them…Voices of a Prison Ministry by Sr. Josephine Migliore