Dear St. Dismas Guild, Thank you for all you do for us inmates. May Jesus Christ continue to bless you and everyone who helps in encouraging us through these tough times of incarceration. Yes, they are tough but through the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, He makes it easier for me. A few years ago I was in a fatal accident that killed two people and seriously injured two others (me included). I woke up three days later handcuffed to a hospital bed. The chaplain came and told me the circumstances that brought me to the hospital. I cried because I took the lives of two guys and because I knew deep down I would never see the light of day. After spending a week in the hospital I was taken to jail. The world I knew was taken from me. One evening my head was pounding, my tooth was hurting, and my ear started to hurt. With each second the pain intensified. I called upon JESUS CHRIST: “Lord, I know you are my Lord and Savior, I am a Christian, I was brought up Catholic…please help me as I dedicate my life to you. If you want me to stay Catholic, please teach me my faith and why we practice certain beliefs.” And as I apologized and cried to HIM with all my heart…I said “AMEN.” And BOOM, all the pain went away! PRAISE GOD!
I knew nothing about reading the Bible and I only had a New Testament Bible. That weekend a deacon came to give a Liturgy of The Word and I told him I knew nothing! Who or what is Lamb of God, who is/was David, Soloman, Jonah, and other characters of the Bible? He told me he would send me a Bible and that week I received a Jerusalem Bible and I was scared because it is huge. So I prayed to JESUS to lead me, where do I begin? When I did open the Bible to read I randomly opened it and it was LUKE 6:46-49. Still, it didn’t make sense to me. I requested to see a Catholic volunteer chaplain so we might speak and we became close as a fellow Christian sisters. She would help me and explain to me and I was fortunate because she was retired and she spent many days at the jail helping the women as well.
The enemy wants us to think that we are by ourselves. I have been transferred to a new facility and this place has a strong Catholic community. During the previous years we never had a Mass because of no priests. At this location we have a great priest who leads us and considers us a parish. When he isn’t able to come, he has other priests come. Recently we had a confirmation Mass with our Bishop. We also had a Kolbe Prison Retreat recently. And, we have an outstanding CCD class and volunteers. There was a time when I would go to a church service and I was the only one attending, or other times the gangs took over the service and tried to use it as a meeting place. I thank Jesus for the grace to be patient and to have perseverance because He brought me to this unit. I pray that I may bloom where HE has planted me. Thank you and God bless you. JMM
It must have been devastating for you to wake up and find out you killed two people. Being seriously injured yourself and going through the pain of body, mind, and soul at that time and how God led you to His word changed your whole perspective of life. Having the world you knew taken from you was at the time devastating to you but it was your saving grace. I know someone who had to leave the state he lived in and get away from his so called friends in order to save his life just as you, too, had to be taken out of the environment you were at in order for you to be saved. Now you are learning through God’s Word how to live by it. Jesus tells us that any man who desires to come to Him will hear His words and put them into practice (Luke 6 47). Continue to persevere and be patient. In time you will learn that to love God with all your heart is to be obedient to His Word and to love your neighbor is to die to your needs and wants for the good of another. That’s what Jesus did on the cross; He gave His life so you and I could live forever with Him in paradise. Praise God! Satan will continue to try to get you to look back at your old life but persevering with your community of believers and keeping your eyes on Jesus will help you through.
Dear St. Dismas Guild, Hi, How are you dong? As always I hope and pray this letter finds everyone at St. Dismas Guild in very good health in Jesus’ name. As for me, I’m doing just fine, thanks to God. I’m just writing to thank you for sending me the newsletter. As always, the testimonies were wonderful to read. In the article Family Ministry it talks about praying as a family. When I was out in the world my family always prayed together. When I came to prison, I didn’t think I would find anything like that. God proved me wrong. God led me to a prayer group. Since joining them we pray for each other and each other’s families. They have become my family now. In the article, Pro-Life, the topic is Abortion and The Year of Mercy. I believe abortion is a sin. I would also like to thank you for sending me The Bread of Life Catholic Bible Study. I have completed the study. Could you please send me another? The other book that was sent has been helpful too. I would like to receive more of the Word of God books. Thank you much for all you have done. May God bless everyone at St. Dismas Guild. Keep up the good work you are doing in Jesus’ name. I hope to receive the next bible study soon. Sincerely. AG
You were truly blessed to have a family that prayed together. I am sure it brings back memories of those times together now that you are in prison. Your hunger for your family and finding a new family that you pray with will be fulfilled no matter what is going on around you. God loves you so much and will continue to not let you be tested beyond your strength but give you a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Yes, abortion is murder. We need to pray for God’s intervention to stop this insanity and educate people to live God’s way and not the world’s way. Continue to study the word and thank you for sharing.
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Dear St. Dismas Guild, I want to thank you for your last two newsletters. They encourage me to continue to stay vigilant and faithful despite whatever obstacles are presented on a daily basis. A lot of good comes from hearing those testimonies. They inspire me to continue pursuing my faith despite what others may say about me and the church. I am becoming more dedicated each day. This year I have been learning the true meaning of mercy. “Matthew 5:7, Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.” That verse helps me reflect on the mercy I have shown others and the mercy I have received in return these 31 years of my life. Thanks to the closeness to the Virgin Mary and her intercessions I have learned as the book of John says in John 2:5. “His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Through this verse I am learning to follow Jesus’ beautiful life, death and resurrection. Once again thank you for your support because you guys truly make me feel loved. God Bless you, with brotherly love. JS
“You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground.” Eph. 6:17 It is good you are resisting Satan who works through the disobedient. Any time someone is putting you or the church down you know it is coming from Satan, the author of lies. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” Our mother Mary always leads us to her Son and is always telling us to do whatever He says.
Living the Gospel. This month Pope Francis asks us to live the gospel and give witness by loving our neighbors.
Last month I attended the ordination to the priesthood of a very dear friend. My husband and I were so very excited for him. Not all of us are called to a religious vocation, but we are all called as the Pope asks, to love our neighbors. How often we forget to love our own family members. There was a time when I was struggling, struggling to accept the life God had planned for me. I stopped talking to my folks as I felt they couldn’t possibly understand. I put limits on God. It was only through prayer that I came to realize that God had a plan for me, a plan that was ‘perfect’, but I needed to be open to His plan. “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
It was also through prayer that I realized my parents didn’t need to understand what I was going through. They were my parents and chose life for me. I needed to let go of my feelings and just love them as Jesus loves me.
Jesus’s love was shown to me at my friend’s ordination through the eyes of my three year old. The ordination was held at an amazing church with a beautiful, enormous crucifix hanging high just behind the altar. Looking up at the crucifix, Jesus appeared tired with his head tilted down. I saw His pain and suffering. My three year old daughter turned to me during the ordination and she said, “Mom, do you see Jesus, do you know what He is doing…He is looking down at us saying, ‘Hi, how are you’.” What insight, she was right! All this time all I could see was His pain on the cross, yet this three year old saw His love. No shame, no suffering, no sin is greater than His mercy and love. His love is bigger than our biggest sin. We all have things we need to let go of and let God shower us with His mercy and love. Then, we will be able to love one another.
“Gods Plan for our Life”
This is Julian, born at 26 weeks gestation, and only weighed 1 pound and 7 ounces. Julian’s parents were married 10 years and did not have children, so they sought an Infertility Specialist. Mom was given medication to promote ovulation and became pregnant about three months later. When mom was 26 weeks into the pregnancy, she developed preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine.) The baby was delivered by emergency C-Section at 4:53 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2016. Thanks be to God, he is now 6 months old and weighs 11 pounds and will be baptized in August. Please join us in prayers of thanksgiving for this baby LIFE and for his parents who Chose LIFE and embraced Gods Plan for this LIFE.
This image shows the dads wedding ring placed on Julian’s wrist one month after he was born.
Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
God obviously had a plan for my life as well. I was the 2nd unwanted child in my mother’s womb, having 3 children before she was 18. Thankfully she chose LIFE and did the very best that she could even though she agreed to my 1st abortion at age 17, probably because of her past. Even though I was very ignorant of God’s ways and naive to His plan for my LIFE, He Never gave up on me. Through many hours of art history classes in college Mother Mary was calling me to her son Jesus through the most beautiful images I had ever seen. Images of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus and most especially the images of the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she would be the Mother of God. She became my mother as well and I thank her and God “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” God has a plan for your LIFE! Never give up on it, because He will Never give up on you.
In Jesus’ love,
St. Dismas Staff