March 8, 2011

The Prison Angel, by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan

This draft was almost two weeks old. Oops. The longer I wait to write about a book, the less I remember its impact on me. But this book certainly had an impact. I heard about Mother Antonia on a CBC podcast, and I was intrigued enough to request this book about her from the library. Mother Antonia is a twice-divorced mother of seven from Beverly Hills, where she lived an upper-class life. There was nothing stopping her from continuing like that, but in middle age she decided to make herself a nun (since the Catholic church wasn't interested in an older divorcee) and move to Tijuana, where she took up residence in a violent, overcrowded jail. She still lives now in that jail cell, well into her 80s. Long accepted by the church for her good deeds, she has met with Mother Teresa and the previous pope.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, this is no sappy morality tale. You don't need to be religious to take anything away from this book. It's her lesson of absolute love and forgiveness that really resonates in the heart. I loved it, and I daresay I love Mother Antonia.

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