Left Justified: ‘Nuns in Jail’ respond!

Left Justified: ‘Nuns in Jail’ respond!

By Stanley Campbell

Last week I wrote about “Nuns in Jail”, and this week I got a letter from my friend, the nun, Sister Kathleen Desautels. She is serving time in the federal prison in Greenville, Illinois. Sister Kathleen was arrested while protesting a Latin American soldiers’ training school called the School of the Americas (SOA).

Here’s what her letter said:

October, 2002

Dear Friends and SOAWatch Supporters,

Thank you for your supportive notes/letters. How grateful I am—my “cup overflows” with gratitude for your words of encouragement and good wishes. It is encouraging to know of the wide network of the peace movement and our efforts to abolish the SOA/WHISC.

Prison life here in Greenville, Ill. is made bearable because of the many good women who share their concern, kindnesses, and share from their “widow’s mite” with newcomers. There are some 220+ women here, most of whom are convicted of nonviolent crimes, yet languish for many years, thanks to the government’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Many are first-time offenders and are imprisoned for 5, 10, 15 years with little to do—few educational, occupational programs to benefit them.

So as they idle their days, their children are left behind with grandparents or in foster care. It would break your heart to listen daily to the stories of so many good women who long to be with them. I ask that you keep them in your prayers and do what you can to raise up this issue with your Congresspersons, as well as all the work you are already doing to close the SOA and to stop the drum beat of war against the Iraqi people.

If you haven’t already done so, you might want to check out the web sites—www.peacepledge.org or www.endthewar.org. Surely, there are many more, but these give you a way to participate in the national movement to resist the government’s march to war. Information about closing the SOA may be found at www.soaw.org, but I imagine this may not be news to many of you that have sent loving notes of encouragement.

Mahatma Gandhi once said—“In the midst of death, LIFE persists. In the midst of untruth, TRUTH persists. In the midst of darkness, LIGHT exists.” Your notes of support have been a LIGHT for me these weeks. Please know of my gratitude and promise of prayers for each of you. May we each find comfort in being LIGHT, LIFE and TRUTH in the days ahead as we continue our efforts to bring peace with justice to this world and beyond.

In Solidarity and Providence,

(She includes a personal handwritten note here.)

Stanley, thanks so much for your notes of support. I look forward to coming to Rockford when the prison time is behind me. Please give my regards and thanks to your Rockford community for me, and let us continue to maintain peace with one another as we work to ensure justice for our planet.

Love, Kathleen Desautels


Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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