One month ago I started my pastoral ministry practicum at the correctional facility where I have worked part-time for almost three years. I meet individually with inmates for “spiritual care” sessions and co-facilitate two groups: an anger management group with the men and a grief group with the women. I am very excited about this opportunity! A lot of life happens before and beyond the iron gates, electronic doors, and concrete walls. There is also much suffering.
The details of our personal stories may be different but we are more alike than not. I identify with their feelings of loss, grief, remorse, and anger toward injustices that occur in the world in which we live, including the criminal justice system. The inmates help me become more honest, compassionate, and present in the moment. We also find occasion to laugh and work together to put dreams in action toward a brighter tomorrow.
Five days a week I encounter God beyond steel bars and concrete. Will you help me pray for all of those involved in the criminal justice system (including their families), inside and outside of our jails and prisons? Will you join me in prayer for healing from suffering for victims and offenders?
Sr. Tanya Williams, OP