The Gift of Order of Malta Bibles and Prayer Books in New Jersey
“You never know how the Holy Spirit will use you.” Those are the words of Sr. Francis Mary of the Apostolic Sisters of Saint John. Right now, the Holy Spirit appears to be guiding Sister in the area of Prison Ministry as she helps bring Order of Malta Bibles and Prayer Books to the Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey.
Born near Lyon, France, Sr. Francis Mary entered the Apostolic Sisters of Saint John in 1993. She arrived in the United States eight years ago and is assigned to St. Joseph Parish in East Orange, New Jersey. She became involved in Prison Ministry seven years ago. At Essex County she works mostly with the male population.
Throughout the year, Sr. Francis Mary receives Bibles and Prayer Books in both English and Spanish and distributes them to the prisoners. Of course, since Covid, she isn’t able to visit the prison. However, in addition to seeing that the Bibles and Prayer Books are delivered, she writes a weekly meditation on the Sunday readings and emails them to the prison where they are given to the inmates.
Talking about the prisoners’ reaction to the Bibles and Prayer Books, Sister said, “It’s just like a big gift and a relief in their hearts because they are able to read the Word of God.” She said once someone is incarcerated, there is such a feeling of emptiness. “They are lost because it is a crazy world in there, and because they are far from their loved ones. They turn to God, and they need his words.”
She is pleased to be of service, to be able to provide these resources. “I think the Holy Spirit is using us beyond what we can see or feel, working through our poverty and our limits.”