THE UNFORTUNATE INMATES OF PRISONS HAVE A RIGHTFUL CLAIM ON US

Eugene’s memo to himself as he meditates on the Oblate Rule:

Yet again: We are never to forget that one of the principal ends of our Institute is to help the most neglected souls. For this reason, the unfortunate inmates of prisons have a rightful claim upon the charity of the Society. (Art. 1, Regarding prison ministry).

Retreat notes, October 1831, EO XV n. 163

From the earliest days the Oblates have been involved in prison ministry, and this continues until the present. As I write this I rejoiced to hear the news that in Zambia the overall prison ministry has been entrusted to the care of the Oblates: pastoral care for the prisoners themselves, their families, and for the prisoners when they are returned to society. An enormous responsibility fortified by the intercession of St Eugene and all the Oblates in heaven who performed this ministry during their lifetime.

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One Response to THE UNFORTUNATE INMATES OF PRISONS HAVE A RIGHTFUL CLAIM ON US

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I think this morning of a couple of Oblate Associates that I know who are a part of prison ministry where they live. They are faithful to it, faithful to those in prison and I have often noted that when they speak about their ministry they speak with love and joy and gratitude for those that they walk with, stand with and pray with. They are a most real presence of our condemned and crucified Saviour.

    I look at the picture that Frank has presented to us of those prisoners and their families in Zambia – such a full picture. The Oblates walking with those prisoners and their families from beginning to end. There is no judgement here, just as there is no judgement within those Oblate Associates who have responded to Eugene’s invitation to join him walking with prisoners, being present to them in a very specific way.

    I ponder Eugene’s statement above; read it as “…the unfortunate inmates of prisons have a rightful claim upon the ‘love’ of the society.” This is not a ‘feel good’ exercise, not a ‘do-gooder’ thing – it is real love. In Zambia it does not just start and end with the prisoners when they are incarcerated but continues on outside the walls of the prison with the families and with re-integration. Not just a small corner of the life of prisoners but rather the whole thing. Real ‘walking with’. Real love.

    Truly an enormous responsibility – not one to be measured or compared – simply one to pray for all who take part in it, known or unknown.

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