Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tattoos on the Heart

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion [Book]
Gregory Boyle was the keynote speaker at the St. Louis Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry that my daughter and I attended May 14 - 18. Father Boyle is a Jesuit priest who has worked with Gangs in the Los Angeles area for over twenty years. During that time, he founded Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program aimed at helping young men and women find employment and learn to work alongside their peers. Fr. Boyle's motto is "Nothing stops a bullet like a job."

"Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion" is a series of his rich, and often humorous stories describing his experience working in the ghetto. All proceeds from the book are donated to Homeboy Industries.

Father Boyle's presentation had a profound impact on his audience. We were there because we minister to the imprisoned and hope to bring about change in both their personal circumstances and the legislation that affects them. He spoke about how we were to align ourselves with the poor and disadvantaged. The focus of his message:

 "Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a covenant between equals."

In his book, Fr. Boyle says,"The strategy of Jesus is not centered in taking the right stand on issues, but rather in standing in the right place - with the outcast and those relegated to the margins" (Tatoos on the Heart, pg 72)

Gregory Boyle lives this message. I highly recommend the book "Tattoos On The Heart." It will forever alter your view of the disadvantaged. It will open your heart to young gang members. It will change your life.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011


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"On any given day, there are an estimated 2 million children in America with at least one parent in prison or jail." (National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated).

When we look at the needs of men and women who are incarcerated, we often overlook those left behind. The family Care Network is an online resource dedicated to helping children of prisoners and their caregivers. It is an organization focused on children and families of the incarcerated and programs that serve them.

For those of you who are considering a ministry connected to the needs of inmates, consider mentoring in this area. Children of the incarcerated have a much higher rate of incarceration (6%) as compared to other children. They are also more aggressive and rebellious, but research has shown that caring adults make a difference in the lives of these children.

The Family Caregiver Network has many opportunities to learm more about the needs of inmate children including links to helpful sites in your area and a library of free resources. Here is a list from Children of Prisoners Library.
What do Children of Prisoners and their Caregivers Need?
  • Consistent caring adults who understand that, in general, children love their parents, even when they have committed a crime.
  • People who will not condemn the incarcerated parents as worthless.
  • People who will understand that children of prisoners feel angry, sad, confused, and worried.
  • A chance to express these feelings and learn to cope with them.
  • A chance to learn and practice skills and keep busy with activities.
  • Faith or affiliation with a community that can provide meaning for the child beyond their own crisis.
  • People who can help them to maintain contact with their incarcerated parent or parents or explain to them why they cannot maintain contact.
Do any of you work with or know of children of incarcerated parents? I'd love to hear from you.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back From St. Louis Convention

View from our hotel
In the comming weeks, I will highlight some of the organizations we learned about this past week at the National Convocation of Jail & Prison Ministry in St. Louis.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Laura and Mom
  I'm so excited! I have been invited to present my book, The Women of Block 12, at the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry to be held May 14th - 18th in St. Louis.

My daughter Laura, who is also a member of the St. Dismas Jail Ministry is going with me. We plan to spend three relaxing days learning more about ministry, lounging in the hot tub, and taking a trolley tour of St. Louis.

We look forward to hearing speakers like Fr. Gregory Boyle, author of "Tatoos on the Heart" and Randy Steidl who spent 17 years on death row until he was exonerated with the help of the Innocence Project.

We'll keep you posted on the events!
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

St. Louis here we come. . . .
I have been invited to the National Convocation of Jail and Prison Minisstry, May 15th - 18th in St. Louis. My daughter, Laura, is going with me - actually she'll do most of the driving because she LOVES to travel. I love to travel too - won't tell you how many years it's been since I left Wisconsin - but this is my turn to go!

We'll be staying at the Pear Tree in, lounging in the hot tub, and taking a trolley tour of the city. But, there's also an impressive line-up of speakers:
  • Fr. Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles and author of Tatoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.
  • Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr. - Missouri Supreme Court, Chairman of the Missouri Drug Court Commission and Chairman of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
  • Randy Steidl - From Death Row to Legislative Halls.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


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1039 Summit Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI
Saturday, May14th from
1:00-3:00 pm.

Hope to see you there!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011


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Think you're seeing double?
You are.

"The Women of Block 12 is now available  on
Kindle and Nook  for $1.99.

I just bought my first Kindle. The latest model is selling for $114 at Amazon, Target, Best Buy, just about everywhere. It's awesome and so easy to use for computer illiterate Baby Boomers like myself. Great Mother's Day gift from someone special or from yourself.

And when you have finished reading "The Women of Block 12," please take time to write a review. Thanks.