by Larry Peterson
We Catholics talk to, request help from, ask of, beseech, and sometimes even plead with our honored dead for their help in certain situations. This is also known as praying. We believe that praying to the saints and asking for their help with a problem is perfectly okay. We pray to them to help the sick, to assist those out of work in finding a job, for the poor, our friends and family, help with finances, and for all sorts of things over which we feel we have no control. We believe that since they are in heaven and have God's ear, they can put in a "good word" for us. It is like we are having our request hand-delivered to God Himself by one of His special people. The saints are our friends in heaven and they are always ready to help us out. WE just have to ask. Trust me, it works, it really does. If you are non-catholic and think we are a bit whacky, so be it. This is a FAITH thing and you can take a look here for more information about our saints.
Anyway, I am sending out this plea that everyone might pray (Catholic and non-Catholics too) to Mother Antonia Brenner (click on her name), a lady who is known as the "Prison Angel". The prayers are for the well-being and quick release of Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, the American Marine held prisoner in Mexico since March 31 of this year. His crime: he made a wrong turn and crossed the Mexican border. (Click his name to see his story).
The United States government has made little, if any, effort, to secure the young man's release. Sergeant Tahmooressi has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, has been wounded in action and suffers from PTSD. Fox News' Greta Van Susteren has been waging a ongoing battle reporting about this over and over, seemingly to no avail. She has even made trips to the border crossing, driven it herself and shown how easy it is to wind up in Mexico purely by mistake. Over 150,00 people have signed petitions to gain his release yet the Mexican government refuses to so much as acknowledge we Americans. This is a disgrace. So I thought---we all need to pray to Mother Antonia. Time for us to call on the "Prison Angel".
Mother Antonia Brenner was born in Beverly Hills, California in 1926. Her name was Mary Clarke. She was married and divorced twice and raised seven children while living in Beverly Hills. She said that in 1969 she had a dream that she was at Calvary about to be executed when Jesus appeared to her. He told her He was going to take her place. She touched Him on the cheek and told Him she would never leave Him no matter what might happen to her. It was this dream that set her on a journey devoting her life to Christ and His Church.
Mary Clarke began her ministry by delivering medicine, clothing, blankets and food to La Mesa Prison in Tijuana, one of the worst prisons in Mexico. In 1977, after her kids were grown, she received permission and moved into La Mesa (the same prison Sgt. Tahmooressi was sent to). As an older, divorced woman she was unable to join any religious order. So she made her own makeshift habit and began working on her own. This led to her founding the Eudist Servants of the Eleventh Hour, an order for older women who had a calling to a vocation later in life. Eventually approval for her order was given by the Church. Mother Antonia lived in La Mesa, in a cell, just like the prisoners, and she lived there for over thirty five years.
Through the years Mother Antonia, who became known as "La Mama" and "The Prison Angel", ministered to thousands of inmates holding the faces of many of the dying in her hands just as she had promised Jesus in her dream. She stopped riots, worked with the sick and dying and lived her life in poverty, a far cry from the life of the well-to-do Beverly Hills socialite she had been. Mother Antonia passed away on October 17, 2013. She was 86. I believe that one day she will be canonized a saint. In my heart of hearts I know she has attained her heavenly reward and that now, Jesus, holds her face in His hands.
Anyway, that is the reason I thought that maybe we should ask Mother Antonia to help get Sgt. Tahmooressi released. He is imprisoned in the world she devoted her life to. She understands what he is going through. So I ask that you choose your own way of praying and ask Mother to ask God to keep Andrew safe and healthy and that he experience the love of God in his life and FEEL the prayers of so many of his fellow Americans wanting him to be set free. Prayer is the most powerful weapon to secure kindness and justice that we possess. Time to use as much of that weapon as we can. Mother Antonia, we all ask you to help Andrew in his struggle to be free. Please pray for him. He needs all the help he can get. Amen.