Thursday, February 23, 2012



My name is Romaine and I'm training at St. Bartholomew's for the COMMUNITY OF HOPE as a lay chaplain. I mentioned to one of the members that I've always had a deep longing to get involved with "Prison Ministry" because that is where I turned my life around. Yesterday before class, he gave me your book to read and I put it in my bag to read sometime when I had time.

     Needless to say, it was burning a hole in my backpack when I got home and I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to read the preface. That was all she wrote! It took me back 23 years ago to when I was incarcerated in Coldwater Women's Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. I read every woman's story and kept nodding my head, remembering the women I had shared time with and the struggles we went through, learning how to live, how to adjust to a "racial" culture, how to give up your total identity until you feel that you have nothing left to give.....
And the strip searches..... I will remember those until the day I die, TAKE ALL OF YOUR CLOTHING OFF, BE PATTED DOWN OVER YOUR BODY -- AND THEN TOLD TO BEND DOWN, TOUCH YOUR KNEES, AND DEEP COUGH.....
     I only had a few visits during those 5 years but that was fine with me because I felt so degraded every time I had to "submit to the search" before I was allowed to return to my housing unit.
     It was as if a well opened inside of me and I kept saying this is what I need to do. I'm not some "fire and brimstone" kind of person. This isn't something I want to do because I have a "whim" for it. This is something I want to do with all of my being because I know I would have never become the person I am today if a volunteer wouldn't have stepped in to ask me to join a Bible Study group-- or a chaplain at the facility wouldn't have taken the time to help me-- or a teacher wouldn't have taken the time to teach me that I was still a human being--or the psychologist who helped me find out who I was and where I was going....
     I'm sorry if I sound like I'm on a soapbox but your book moved me in ways that I haven't felt in years. The thought of those lost souls housed in over-crowded gymnasiums where no one was looking for them but a few good people like the ones I met who helped me along the way.  Thank you for telling your story and the stories of all of the women of Block 12.

Thank you, Romaine!
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For more about "The Women of Block 12" visit"

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


WISDOM’s new 11x15 Campaign was announced yesterday at a Press Conference in Milwaukee.  SOPHIA was well-represented at the event. 

11x15 is a WISDOM–wide campaign to decrease, by half, the number of incarcerated people in Wisconsin by 2015 and promote alternatives to incarceration in order to make our communities safer and healthier.

Other kick-off events were held around the state: MICAH (Milwaukee), RIC (Racine) and CUSH (Kenosha) .
 For more information see: for details of the campaign, press coverage, photos, etc.


Sunday, February 12, 2012


Kay & Pat add the toppings

Make Pizza Like a Pro
was the topic for Friday, February 10th.

Using a crust recipe that Linda got from her sister, who got it from her best friend, who got it from her father, who owned a pizzaria in Milwauke 40 years ago, we made the best pizza ever!
Bea, Ann, & Joy cutting onions

We learned how to properly proof yeast, knead the dough, and roll it out. No one tried tossing it in the air, however. Too risky - we might have had to start over!

We had a delicious dinner of pizza, salad, popcorn, & soda.
Everyone took their pizza creation home to bake.
Rosemary shows off her creation
A gift from Karolyn. Everyone got these beautiful handmade mittens.