The first Mission Awareness Program (MAP) experience with Prison Ministry took place in St. Louis, Missouri October 14-17, 2018. Sister Rose Rita Huelsmann, SSND, organized and led the process. The participants included Sisters Lucy Nigh and Pat Ferrick from Douglas, Arizona; Associate Rosalie Durante from Milwaukee; Anna Muckerman (for one day), employee of Criminal Justice Ministry (CJM); and Sisters Sharon Rose Terbrock, Mildred Loddeke, Joyce Engle, and Geraldine Neier from St. Louis, who are connected with CJM.
Each person in the group had some experience of prison ministry, which enriched the discussions and reflective sharing each day. There were significant differences in the experiences of each person; however, all could address the challenges met while working daily in a system that is far beyond their control.
The Maximum-Security Prison in Potosi, Missouri (about 1 & 1/2 hours from St. Louis); St. Louis County Jail in Clayton, Missouri; and CJM and the Center for Women in Transition (CWIT), both in South St. Louis, were the four sights visited.
Each place had its special message. While inside a facility, the participants were constantly reminded that the thousands of inmates had little or no freedom. The dehumanizing effect could not be missed. The men at CJM and the women at CWIT had years to make up and many stigmas to overcome in their transition back to normal living.
For more about this prison ministry experience, read reflections from Sister Rose Rita and Sister Geraldine on the ssnd.org website.