by Mary Shields, CCWF
My name is Mary Shields. I have been incarcerated for almost 20 years. I grew up in the Church, so I knew God from the beginning of my life. Like all young people, I could not wait to become of age so I could do what I wanted. My mother and grandparents were not having any of that. When the time came, I left on my own. I had no idea my life would end up like this.
I was sentenced to life in prison. Then I remembered everything my mother and grandparents told me. That at some point God was going to be the only one that was going to be there for me. That became so real.
I came to CCWF alone, hurt, angry and missing my 4 children and the rest of my family. I knew I needed to change to make it out of this place. I needed a power that I myself did not have. I started to read my Bible and go to church. Then one day I had a breakthrough. In the stillness He said to me, ?Mary, it?s all about a new awareness in you.? That night my life changed and a new personal history started for me.
Many bad things have happened to me since that night: I was diagnosed with cancer, my grandchild died, many of my family and friends have passed away, just 4 months ago I had major surgery. But through it all God has kept me and has made my spiritual walk stronger.
He has put a very special group of women in my life. These women are from CCWP. I call them my special angels. These women have so much love in their hearts for women in prison. When they come to visit me, it is as if my actual family are here with me. They listen to me, they don?t judge me, they just love me. Diana, Mary, Christie, Urszula and many more of these wonderful ladies that have been here for so many of us.
June 10, 2008