|Rosary Made by Prisoners in the Confraternity of Penitents Alessandro Ministry. $1.59 Available from CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop on this link.|
Recently the Holy Spirit fell on the Catholic prisoners here at the Federal Medical Center in a most delightful way. As I've shared with you in the past this is a federal prison for prisoners in need of medical attention. Factually a lot of the men who come here are without hope of life to last. In some ways it is a dark somber atmosphere for most prisoners to live through for most men die alone and with no-one to care for them.
I find myself trying to keep the "light of Christ" burning in my life but honestly it gets to be a bit of a trial for me and others as we try to cope. However, a little time ago another prisoner came to my hospital room and asked me an unusual request. The man knew I was a Franciscan and that, among other things, I have a deep love and devotion to Our Lady. (My room is adorned with a very large picture of Our Lady of the Rosary.) So he asked me would I lead a Rosary group of sick Catholic prisoners in the recitation of a daily Rosary.
Now before one thinks elated thoughts you have to remember that praying the Rosary in a group outside the Chapel is frowned upon and usually stopped by the authorities. I went to a Protestant Chaplain and told him of my problem. The Chaplain told me to go ahead and if caught "just ask for forgiveness."
So I figured one or two men would show up. You can imagine my surprise when six (6) men showed up! I want you to use your imagination--try to visualize these six men. All of them are hardened criminals and they are the most motley looking bunch of desperados imaginable. All of the men are well over 200 pounds and two of them are over 300 pounds and with their array of tattoos and body scars present a look reminiscent of "Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch." I mean the average citizen would cross the street if one of these men came walking their way! But, of yes, but, if you heard them reciting the Rosary with vigor and concentration and closed your eyes you would assume you were hearing friars or monks praying.
I know that these men cause the Father and Holy Spirit to shine in God's glory and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary have joy and heart felt love for these men. Not only that but you should see the looks of consternation and confusion on the other non-participating prisoners faces!
The Rosary refers to a "rose garden" and the many Aves are symbolic of roses being offered to Our Lady in the form of a "crown" or "chaplet" that is placed spiritually on Our Lady's head with the completion of each Rosary. So my dear little sparrows she receives six crowns a day from her prisoner sons and that is most beautiful gift from their hearts.
pax et bonum
bro. sparrow (Robert Hall, CFP Affiliate)